This week, I decided to try out Peapod, a grocery delivery service. I received a coupon in the mail offering me $20 off the service if I placed an order of $50 or more. Even with the delivery fee, that was still a pretty decent coupon, so I thought I’d try it out.
Using the website to search for products was fairly quick and easy. Here, Peapod is linked with Giant, where I do most of my grocery shopping, so I could just input my Frequent Shopper number and the website pulled up a list of my previous purchases, if I wanted to choose from those items. I instead decided to start fresh.
I started with the sale section. Each week, I go through the sale flyer to decide if anything I use on a regular basis is on sale, and this was no different. It’s a good way to quickly review the sale items and put them in your cart before buying anything else. After that, I had multiple options on how to shop. I could individually search for items, or I could browse the “aisles,” going through produce and dairy, etc., to see what to buy.
One thing I really like about this service is that you can click on the item for product information, which includes size, ingredients, and nutritional information. For someone who always tries to read labels, this is a great feature. It makes it much easier to choose healthy products.
Peapod allows you to choose whether or not to allow substitutions for your items. If you place blueberry yogurt in your cart, but they only have strawberry, do you want them to substitute? You get the lower price, of course, and maybe in some instances, you don’t care, but in others, you do. You can select those options and allow them to substitute for certain items but not for others. I personally selected for them to substitute anything, but received exactly what I ordered.
This was a great way to keep my costs controlled. I have to admit, there were absolutely no impulse purchases. I initially put something in my cart I wouldn’t normally buy because it was on sale, but ended up taking it out, realizing that I really didn’t need it. You can see how much you’ve spent based on what’s in your cart, and change your mind on certain things if you find you’re spending too much. Of course, the final cost is just an estimate if you’re buying things like produce, because that is sold by weight, but it’s a decent estimate.
I was a bit concerned about the produce, even though Peapod talks about how their produce pickers are proud to choose the best produce for their customers. So I ordered a few apples, just to see. They were beautiful, so no complaints. I still might want to pick my own produce though.
Another great thing? Buyer’s remorse! I placed my order around noon on Saturday, for Sunday delivery. That afternoon, I was cleaning out my cupboards and realized that wait, I already had spaghetti and really didn’t need to buy anymore. No worries – I had until 6:00 pm to make changes to my order. I took the pasta back off the list without any problems. I could also add items if I wanted.
In terms of coupons, I didn’t have any I wanted to use, but apparently, if I did, I could just give those to the driver when he brought my groceries to my door.
Because I was requesting delivery the next day, the only time available to me was a 9am-3pm window, rather than one of the shorter 2 hour windows. But Peapod has what they call ETA service, which means that after midnight on your day of delivery, you can log in and get the 2 hour window when your delivery will appear. So even though I selected 9-3, I knew that my delivery would come between 1-3.
Delivery isn’t exactly cheap. The minimum order is $50, and for orders under $75, delivery is $9.95, for orders between $75 and $100, delivery is $7.95, and for orders over $100, delivery is $6.95. So if you’re going to order, do it when you’ve got a ton of things on your list. I have to admit, I did stock up on heavy things that I hate carrying – like cat litter and a few extra gallons of drinking water (all this talk of pandemic made me take another look at my emergency supplies).
Will I be using Peapod again? Well, as part of my new member “welcome,” I get free shipping on orders over $100 for the next 60 days. I’m probably going to check out the Farmer’s Market this weekend, and if I can get my fresh stuff there and hold off on a grocery trip, I’m sure I can make one or two more $100 orders over the next 60 days if I stock up. But I also live ridiculously close to the grocery store. It’s not tough to get there, and I don’t have kids to drag along with me. I can see where this is a great service for families or for people who hate spending time at the crowded grocery store (I do, but I tend to go at around 9am on weekend mornings when it’s still quiet).
But one thing I am going to do is use Peapod to make my grocery list. As you put items in your cart, Peapod sorts the list by aisle, which would make going to the store and picking things up very easy. It’s also a great way to figure out what I’m spending before I go and help keep my list on track. I love that I can see the nutritional info and choose between products before I even get there. Definitley a time saver.
Does anyone else have experience with grocery delivery services?
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.