Sunday, August 10, 2008

Grocery delivery services

It's a long way from "bringing food from afar"...

...to having our food delivered!

Truth is, I love stretching my dollars at the grocery store. Yet I've been envying the ease of my neighbor's weekly delivery.

I may experiment with a Plumgood order of milk, eggs, and produce and see what happens.
  • Will it be a lifesaver as the baby arrives?
  • Will my grocery bill skyrocket--or even go down, as I avoid impulse buys?
If anyone has used a national company like Peapod or locally owned Plumgood Food, I'd love to hear your insight.

44 comments:

VanderbiltWife said...

I've considered doing PlumGood to get the organic meats, and because I sometimes think I would spend less money if I didn't go to the store and "get inspired" to buy junk while I am there. You'll have to let me know how it goes if you decide to do it.

Cat said...

No insight here, since I live nowhere near you, but I'm feeling a little envious too after looking at their site! The prices for locally-grown produce and dairy are very good...wish I could order too! I say go for it, especially being very pregnant right now.

Cat

Meredith said...

Vanderbilt Wife, though the all-natural meats are still pricey, Plumgood now seems to offer very fair prices on produce, too.

Local (conventional) cucumbers 39-cents/each
Purity & Hatcher Farms milk for the same price as grocery
Eggs $1.39/dozen

I regularly spend $50/week at the grocery, but I'm still not sure if Plumgood would offer us enough food for that to make it through the week.

Perhaps if I start stockpiling more pantry goods now, the fresh foods would be enough to carry me through the baby time.

My last 2 babies were born at great times, with my husband (and mother) off for spring break and summer vacation, respectively.

This time I will be on my own almost immediately with much greater daily responsibility than ever before. So it's definitely worth a look!

Robyn said...

I don't have experience with that company, but with the free shipping they advertise, I'd do it in a heart beat just to avoid going to the store, especially with 2 little ones and a new baby like you will have. That would be my dream, to have groceries delivered to my door. :-)

VanderbiltWife said...

Meredith--I know we don't really "know" each other, but I will be by myself a lot of the time since DH is finishing his dissertation and all our parents live in Philly. Maybe we can get the babies together. :) Or swap dinners!

Anonymous said...

I haven't used this service, but we have something called Peapod. I have found that the meats and produce are both dramatically fresher than what I found in stores. Using it has also forced me to plan meals and avoid running out for a thing here or there. It also saves so much time - shop online in a half hour or so, rather than driving to the store, shopping, and coming back to unpack (all of which is so hard with little kids!).

Club Amaro said...

All I can say is: YIKES - $4.99 for a gallon of milk.....?? Maybe if the delivery man comes inside and cleans my house too...

kristin
Adventures of Club Amaro

Meredith said...

Well, the same local milk sells for $5.49 at my local Kroger--so it's actually a savings if you buy that brand.

PleaseRecycle said...

Sounds great! I really dread going to the store with 2 little kids, let alone 3. My prediction is that it will work out. I always save money when I plan out my meals and know that I can't just run out to the store. If I don't have a particular ingredient, I substitute or go without- saves gas, saves money, saves time. I wish I had such a service near me!

Anonymous said...

You probably need to factor in a tip for the delivery person.

Jora

Anonymous said...

Meredith, remember when you did that series from the old (1950's I think) cookbook, & you shared your impressions with us? It seemed you liked following the plan that book provided, & perhaps having your groceries delivered, according to whatever mealplan you draw up for the week, would be cheaper in the long run. The store I do most of my food shopping at has a delivery service, though there is a delivery fee (I fall in the $5.00 delivery fee area @ 6 miles from the store). The only thing that has kept me from doing this that I would not be able to check what I call the "cheap carts"...those bins or carts filled with produce, meat, & bread that are reduced for quick sale. When I happen upon a really good deal, I will sometimes change my designated meal for a given night, & allow the reduced item to dictate what we eat. this kind of thing would not be offered online. I say, try this if you feel really pushed by other areas of your life right now. One week's worth of groceries will give you a taste of whether or not something like this is a good idea for your family. Good luck!

Brenda

Shauna R. said...

We don't order from Plumgood very often, but we're always pleased when we do. The thing that worried me the most prior to my first order was produce -- I like to get my hands on it and choose it myself! But everything they send is always beautiful. Their meat is pricey, but we haven't found a better steak anywhere in town. We can't buy Hatcher milk at our regular grocery store, so that's a bonus.

I've never been able to order from Plumgood instead of going grocery shopping, though -- it's always a supplement.

Lolly said...

Hi Meredith! I enjoy your blog ever so much and have been "lurking"... I hate that word, but I guess that's what you call it. I am slowly reading your past posts. Blogs are my nightly tv :).

I live in GA so I can't personally comment on the service but it seems like it would be worth a shot, especially during the first month. If you are able to stock your pantry with canned and dry goods, it would be even better. I am "cheerfully frugal" gal myself and you may end up better off to avoid the lure of the grocery while in the extreme sleep deprivation even if the delivery service is a bit higher than your normal market. You may find yourself adding items to the cart if your other children get fussy or perhaps things that just look good at the moment. Your time, sleep, and sanity will be at a premium. Another idea might be purchasing on the cheap or borrowing an unused freezer and making double batches of meals that will freeze well.

Wouldn't this be great blog fodder for a two week or month long experiment!!

Lolly said...

I meant to add I would check the company's policy on returns/exchanges if you are not satisfied with an item and if they offer a free recipe service that includes weekly sale items.

Sarcastic Mom said...

I actually used Plumgood when I was pregnant b/c there were days at the end when John was gone and I could not stand to go ANYWHERE b/c I was so swollen. And that's when they still charged for delivery!

I found their selection WONDERFUL. Sometimes I spent a little more, sometimes a little less, so it really seemed to even out. And no gas! And no walking! No annoyance! And the food was all really excellent quality.

Totally worth it, hon. They even have some stuff premade, and THAT will be heaven after the baby. :-)

Tubo Family said...

Hopefully a lot of people in your real life speak casserole even half as fluently as you! I used safeway.com a couple times after 1st son was born and the quality was excellent though selection only decent (this was 4 years ago). Second time around I didn't need it as so many people cooked for us--because if people asked for gift ideas I said "food please." If they didn't know how to accomodate my son's food allergy or my husband's pickiness, I gave them their stand-by's and enjoyed the variety myself.

Tubo Family said...

Oh, and a thought on cost. I get a box of produce every two weeks from here, www.farmfreshtoyou.com. At $29/box, I had to justify the cost and this is what I found: if I shopped sales at 3 different stores I could get the cost down to $23, not including gas. But the freshness and quality is so much better by not spending weeks in the produce aisle so everything lasts until I can use it up and having the food on-hand inspires (ok,sometimes forces) me to cook.

Michele said...

We used to order quite a bit from Safeway.com but they are kind of high priced. Now I only order from them when in a time crunch.

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stephanie said...

This looks very interesting - you'll have to report back. I'm tempted by some great produce prices that I see!

Anonymous said...

I think if you can afford it and it will make your life easier with 3 little ones, then go for it. However, I don't see how you could possibly feed your family for $50/week by ordering your groceries here. In fact, I don't know how you manage that shopping anywhere. I live alone and spend more than that, although I do try to eat organic foods when at all possible. I think the cost is justified if I can possibly figure fit it into my budget.

Stephanie said...

Publix used to deliver a few years ago in my area. I wasn't overly concerned about cost to be honest because I had a newborn, a 1 year old and a 3 year old - it was strictly for convenience because I felt sure I might go insane if I went to the grocery with all 3 of them.

Of course they shut down that service very quickly after I discovered it, but overall I was very pleased. The produce (which I was concerned might not be the best) was great. And I did avoid impulse buys so cost really was not bad - I think I spent the same, including the delivery charge, that I was prior to that time.

I'm not super organized so it was hard for me to write down the week's menu, look to see what I needed and then find the time to go online to make my order - invariably there was something I'd miss. Then hubby would have to be pulled into service.

But overall it was AMAZING to have that available with a newborn in the house. Do it. :)

mama k said...

I do think that would be a lifesaver when you have a new baby. Isn't it ironic that the more children you have, the less help you have when a new one is born. I'm sure you will need all the help you can get in those early weeks.

Anonymous said...

kristi in texas

Anonymous said...

No experience with Plumgood.

We used Acme's local delivery service after my second was born. IT was wonderful. DH is a budget buster in the grocery store. So this was WAYYY cheaper than sending him, he just grabs the first thing on the list and doesn't stick to the list. I had it delivered on one of their off days when they reduce the price in order to fill the truck. I think most people get Monday or Friday deliveries around here. By getting it on Wednesday I got 10 percent off the price of the order and reduce charge of $5.

Also, they would box it and I could send DH for in-store pickup for an even lesser charge.

Fresh produce and meat was fine and no mistakes as they would have to come back out if their was a problem with the order.

The online interface was great as I could save lists and menus.

Only drawbacks were no coupons at that time. I use very few so it wasn't a huge deal. Although I did store plan using the online weekly flier.

There are several stores that now offer home delivery.

Heather W. said...

I've used PlumGood before and was very satisfied. The one caveat was that they have a $50 minimum order requirement, which is difficult for my husband and I to come up with. But otherwise it would be great if you were needing $50 worth of groceries at one time!

~Heather W.

Anonymous said...

Melinda

Domestic Accident said...

Oooh, I'm jealous. I think it would save money since you would have to stick to the list.

Indie said...

I know two people who have tried it and been very happy with the produce. You're making me feel tempted to try it too. Our grocery shopping has gone to hell in a hand basket since the third child was born.

LynnMarie said...

Good Morning,
If they were anywhere near me I would use them in a heart beat. Especially in the winter! I hate driving in winter up here. Too bad there is no store up here that delivers (guess they hate to drive in the winter in NH too!). Go for it and please, let us all know how you did. Lynn Marie

Yon Saucy Wench said...

I tried a local delivery grocery service (Simon's Delivery, now out of business) when my girls were smaller and I was working full-time. Like everything, there were pros and cons to it.

Pros: not having to bring squirmy twins grocery shopping with me; convenience; shopping-control (it was really easy to stick to my list and not make impulse purchases). And it was absolutely delightful to get home from work and picking up the girls from daycare to find my groceries sitting in the back porch, ready to unpack!

Cons: the prices were a little higher than my usual grocery store (but that was probably offset by not making impulse purchases). There was a delivery fee -- only $5 at that time, but I minded paying it. The meat and produce quality wasn't as good (or maybe it's that I'm that picky). My choices seemed more limited than if I'd gone to the store myself. And there were a few times when they missed items on my list. They were very nice about it and always offered to bring the item(s) to me or credit my account, but that could be annoying.

Ultimately, I went back to doing my own grocery shopping most of the time, and using the delivery service when we were in a severe time crunch. I'm glad I tried it, though, and I was sorry to see the company go out of business.

Karen said...

I use my local grocer's delivery service and I noticed my bill dropped considerably when I started using it because there was left impulse shopping. I still use coupons and get all the deals. I just don't hear the "call" of the Oreos when I walk by....

Michelle Smiles said...

I've thought about trying it...but haven't done it yet. It requires a level of organization that I feel incapable of at the moment. But if I do try it, I'll let you know how it goes. If you try it first, I would be curious about your experience.

Michelle said...

I don't have a Plumgood but one of our larger grocery stores delivers. My neighbor utilized this service after the birth of her 3rd baby and loved it. She also got coupons for FREE deliveries for future orders. Maybe yours will offer free deliveries, too?!

Natalie from Nashville said...

Meredith, I used Plumgood when my son was a toddler and life was more hectic. My family eats semi-organically and hate to admit...we have gourmet tastebuds...but you know, Plumgood saved time, money, and my sanity. For example, Provence's pizza dough makes for healthy, quick homemade pizza for a few dollars! At the time (this was 2-3 years ago), Plumgood had an exquisite selection of products not available in local grocery stores, and I set aside $5 a week to try something new. Plumgood never disappointed. My passion is cooking and shopping (at farmers markets, etc.), so I don't much see the need for home delivery now that I have more time. Their meats are expensive but are of excellent quality. My advice to you: try them out at least once!!!

Pamela said...

I think we need to balance frugality with sanity whenever possible. If you are going to be alone early on with three small children and you don't consider grocery shopping with three little ones fun (if you do consider it fun, your sanity is already shot!) then using this service for awhile is worth every penny, even if your grocery budget ends up being a little higher. Hang in there Mama, you are doing a great job!

We are THAT Family said...

I'm looking forward to haring about your experience with this. I've been tempted too, but the frugal side of me wonders....Let us know, k?

Anonymous said...

I think avoiding impulse buys and treats for the kids would be well worth it.
I too order from Farm Fresh to You and I love it. We get one box of mostly fruit and it is amazing. When tomatoes were pulled from the stores we still got organic locally grown tomatoes.
I think I could save money if I only got produce on sale at the grocery store..but I could never get organic produce for 29 a week. No way. So I split the difference. I think the lesson for my kids is a good one too. Good food and their health is worth investing in. You can save on other things, like cloth diapers and used clothes.
If you can get it at the library you would love "Simple Food" by Alice Waters. The recipes are based on mostly beans, rice and local produce with some meat. It's a life saver because it doesn't require any processed ingredents and yet my kids love it.
Also it shows you how to eat really high quality food, but it's simple food so it's very inexpensive (except for the organic meat) but we don't eat meat often at all. Mostly because I am terrible at cooking it.

20dollarsaday said...

This seems like a great service. When my second child was born I preferred to shop in the evenings right after dinner--precious alone time! Of course, I could only go for an hour at a time but still. . . I savored being by myself at the grocery store.

Joy of Frugal Living said...

I've been thinking about trying this when I get pregnant again (I'm working on it again after three miscarriages, so I'm too expert at the first trimester). I usually have a hard time even walking into the store. Cooking tends not to work to well either, but if I could have some simple stuff around without needing to shop, my husband could put it together. I try not to use up too much of his time on that stuff, and this would help.

So I'll be curious how you like it if you try it!

Jennifer

Meangoose said...

I've used both Simon Delivers and the delivery service offered by Byerly's (a chain here in MN). For the most part, my groceries were high quality and fresh, including produce/meat. In general, the prices are higher than going to the grocery store. If you're willing to be flexible, you can catch some excellent clearance offers though. I am not so flexible, and so I rarely use the services anymore. However, I do plan on using the Byerly's service after kiddo #2 comes (I'm about as far along as you) for perhaps the first month or so. I figure if I have time to grocery shop, I have time to nap.....and I'll want the nap more. I also use the services when I want to stock up on heavy, bulky items like water softener salt, etc.

Crystal said...

I have to say is YES YES YES!!
I used Amazon Fresh when my baby was recently born and I love it! We don't have the services you mentioned but I love Amazon's grocery service (only available in Seattle area right now). I hope they go nationwide because I know lots of people would love it.

Marsha said...

I've been using Genuardi's delivery service for about six weeks now, taking a delivery every 10 days to two weeks. So far...it's not perfect but it has proven to save both money and sanity in my house.

Like you, we've been "overtaken by events" (as they say in the military) and have been spending way too much time and money trying to compensate and catch up. With the delivery, our grocery expenditures have been on-target (about $60 a week for us, plus another $30 at the farm market for things to can) and my own evenkeeledness has been nicely preserved. Whether this is because I'm not throwing things in the cart willy-nilly or because I'm buying closely to a meal plan, I don't know.

It's not perfect. In the order that arrived last night there were three of the sale circular items that were "out of stock" (out of stock on red potatoes? really?) and we simply didn't receive another three (one of which - cheddar cheese - is needed in two of our dinners this week) so I'm making a phone call today to straighten it out. I don't love that, but it's still easier to make a call from my desk rather than run off to a market for last-minute replacements and purchases.

The one thing I find it's not good for is pantry-filling. For that I am still planning to hit our local deep discount place maybe once every two months and will likely succumb to a great loss leader if one presents itself at a regular supermarket.

All in all, I'm glad we're doing it. I haven't paid for delivery yet (been using codes) and but I do think that I may well be inclined to pay if it comes to that.

Marsha said...

I've been using Genuardi's delivery service for about six weeks now, taking a delivery every 10 days to two weeks. So far...it's not perfect but it has proven to save both money and sanity in my house.

Like you, we've been "overtaken by events" (as they say in the military) and have been spending way too much time and money trying to compensate and catch up. With the delivery, our grocery expenditures have been on-target (about $60 a week for us, plus another $30 at the farm market for things to can) and my own evenkeeledness has been nicely preserved. Whether this is because I'm not throwing things in the cart willy-nilly or because I'm buying closely to a meal plan, I don't know.

It's not perfect. In the order that arrived last night there were three of the sale circular items that were "out of stock" (out of stock on red potatoes? really?) and we simply didn't receive another three (one of which - cheddar cheese - is needed in two of our dinners this week) so I'm making a phone call today to straighten it out. I don't love that, but it's still easier to make a call from my desk rather than run off to a market for last-minute replacements and purchases.

The one thing I find it's not good for is pantry-filling. For that I am still planning to hit our local deep discount place maybe once every two months and will likely succumb to a great loss leader if one presents itself at a regular supermarket.

All in all, I'm glad we're doing it. I haven't paid for delivery yet (been using codes) and but I do think that I may well be inclined to pay if it comes to that.