Every week, right around Tuesday, the food in my house becomes scarce – we have no groceries in sight. My husband will go through the ritual of going to the fridge and opening it, only to sigh and sit back down.
My son will cry that I no longer have his favorite treat or his preferred flavor of juice, and I will miss my evening ritual of sitting down with a glass of wine and an Oreo because we are out of Oreos (I never let us run out of wine though).
To replenish our supplies, someone will have to play the game of chicken and lose—the victor can remain pants-less and the loser must emerge from the comfort of home and commit to an hour of wandering the aisles of our local grocery store.
I’ve gotten meal planning down to a science, so this venture only has to happen once a week, but getting groceries is one of my least favorite activities on the planet (next to laundry of course).
You see, this is the plight of a family where the grownups all work full time jobs. We all still need to eat (apparently every day), and therefore someone has to go to the grocery store. But that task is so darn tedious!
On a typical work day, we all arrive home by 6 p.m., and then we have a mad flurry of activity until 8 p.m. when bedtime happens.
Then it’s *maybe* an hour of blessed TV (and wine and Oreos) before it’s bedtime for the grownups and then a new day starts.
So grocery shopping means that those two hours for evening activities are then compressed into less than one which creates chaos. And sure, we could try shopping on the weekend, but that’s family time which is pretty sacred when your week looks like ours.
So the act of procuring food to feed our family is a losing battle against the clock.
That is until a friend suggested to outsource it.
I had NO idea that there were people that would do this for you! I tried it out two months ago and I never looked back. I will now review two popular services that you might want to think about implementing in your life because who doesn’t love a free hour?
Instacart is essentially a service that allows you to digitally shop from your favorite store [e.g. Ralph’s, Stater Bros, Whole Foods, BevMo (What, booze?! Yes!), and even Costco]. They then have a friendly personal shopper go and fulfill your order and they deliver it to your door during a pre-selected hour window on the day of your choosing. For a $99 annual fee, delivery charges are waived and you get more options for delivery times (as in closer in time to when your order was placed as opposed to late in the day or the next day).
- This service is pretty awesome because it allows me to buy absolutely everything that I need and it uses the same places I’d normally shop which means I have to think less about substitutions or brand recognition.
- The personal shopper is very thorough, and if they have a question, they will text you or call you to verify if they need to swap out an item (if the store is out of the one you selected) or if they have questions about quantities (like on meats and produce). This makes it so that your order is pretty close to what you selected online.
- And if there is a discrepancy or a mistake, they will immediately refund your money for that item as a credit for your next trip. They are very much into customer satisfaction which I like.
- They can be pricey. For some stores, the prices through Instacart are more than what they would be if you went to the store yourself (looking at you Ralph’s…). They tell you this upfront when you select your store, but I was annoyed by this. For reference, Stater Bros is the same price, as is Whole Foods.
- Also, the delivery fee is normally like $5.99 unless you pay the annual fee of $99 to be a preferred shopper. I did this because I was using them weekly and it would be cheaper in the long run. However, the real stickler is that they charge a 10% service fee on your order to pay the shopper. I normally buy at least $200 worth of groceries and household items a week which means that I’m always paying someone at least $20 a pop to shop for me. I can’t decide if that bothers me yet, but it would definitely bother a few of my friends who would not feel that this is worth it.
- And lastly, the shopper wants you to be satisfied so they will text you if they have a question. For some shoppers, this happens maybe 0-3 times. For others, it can be as many as 10 times. I think more veteran shoppers are more confident, but it is really annoying to have to answer 10 basic and seemingly obvious questions about whether or not it’s ok to get a non-organic onion because the organic one I selected is gone. The answer is yes, now leave me alone. I’m drinking wine and eating Oreos.
This was a new service for me because when I lived in my previous zip code, I was just outside their delivery area which is hard to find out unless you try to place an order. After I moved, I was in the delivery sweet spot so I decided to give them a try. There are currently several promo codes floating around from local radio stations (keyword Kiss and Woody) that allow you to get 20% off your first order which is a nice perk.
Also, their delivery area is expanding farther and farther into Orange County so keep checking if you aren’t currently covered because that will likely change soon. Milk and Eggs is a way to get farm-fresh grocery delivery to your door for prices that are typically less than those at the local supermarket. It is a lot like Farm Fresh to You which gives you weekly boxes of produce, but they are much more inclusive and include pastas, meats, breads, pastries, etc.
- The food is very fresh and is locally sourced, so it’s like going to a farmer’s market without actually having to wake up early on a Saturday. And it is great if you are a locavore (someone who likes eating sustainably by consuming locally grown food). I don’t particularly care about those things, I just like high-quality food, and I found that to be the case with Milk and Eggs.
- Their meat and produce are very nice and it is priced well for what you get. I also found them to be less expensive than the grocery store for the quality, but then again, I was only able to buy food, not household goods, so I suppose the prices probably even out. I placed my order on a Tuesday, and I was able to get it delivered on a Thursday morning. They take at least a day to process and prepare the order, but it came exactly when they said it would between 5-7 a.m.
- You do have to wait for your order as described because to get it fresh, it comes directly from the farm and that takes time. This is kind of a pro/con combo though, but unlike Instacart, you won’t be getting groceries the day you order them which may cause problems if you planned to use something in your order to make that night’s meal.
- Also, they have limited items for non-meat/produce items. They only have a few dairy brands that they contract with, and they also only have so many accompanying items like pastas and breads to choose from. Therefore, you can make well-rounded meals if you’re creative, but I had to supplement elsewhere for things like carbs or beverages. And there’s no wine which is a bummer.
- As much as I like the cost and quality of Milk and Eggs, it is less practical for every week use, at least for our family. If it was just myself and my husband, I could easily make it work and we would be fine. But I have two small kids who have eclectic and specific tastes for things like pop tarts and goldfish crackers, and this means that I have to go somewhere regularly to restock these items.
- Therefore, I typically go to Instacart to get my regular groceries, and on weeks that I’m all stocked up on kid foods, I switch over to Milk and Eggs to feel more in touch with my diet and more connected to my local farmers. That’s the strategy I’ve adopted, and it works really well for us. And I LOVE the fact that I don’t have to dread going to the grocery store, nor do I have to give up a precious hour of free time each week. For me, the convenience is worth the service charge, and that’s why I think I will continue to outsource groceries from now on.