My wife is looking for some ways to “switch things up” with our grocery bill (which is fairly hefty), so this past weekend she tried out the “Click and Collect” Loblaws on-line ordering and on-line grocery (and other thing) shopping system to see how it works, and she now has a theory that these kind of on-line ordering systems might be a useful budgetary tool for families (other stores offer the same kind of services (Wal-Mart also offers it in our area).
The whole experience went fine (although for some odd reason they did not have lactose free milk in stock on a Saturday at noon (when Mrs. C8j picked up the order)), so I suspect we will be using it again, but can it control impulse spending?
The ability to choose specific brand, was quite good, however, the weekly flyer sale items were not obvious on the site (but she has since figured out how to find them). There is an ability to search by many different criteria (food type, brand, specific food (e.g. banana)).
Advantages and Drawbacks
How would this be a useful budgeting tool? Mrs. C8j had a few good points
- There is a running total that shows when you start putting things in your basket, so you will know how much you are spending (a minimum order of $30 at Loblaws).
- You are shopping from home so you are less likely to buy things you already have (OK, we didn’t quite get that right this time, we seem to have overloaded on yogurt, but next time we won’t).
- If you think of it there is a chance to do less “impulse buying” (e.g. buying magazines at the check out, etc.,), however, given most things are available, you can still buy crap you don’t need, easily.
- You do save “time” which some have said is worth something.
A few downsides:
- The $5 service charge means you really shouldn’t be using this for small orders, maybe just for your “large weekly orders”.
- The following is from the FAQ for the Loblaws service, “When your order is prepared, the selected payment method will be authorized for up to 125% of the order total to accommodate updates to your order. If you choose another method of payment when you pick up your order, the authorization will remain on your card until it is expired by your bank (typically 3 – 7 days).“. That really sucks, so don’t change payment methods
Has anybody else tried this out? What are your opinions?