Typical grocery shopping wastes so much of our time - especially if you have kids. It can be unenjoyable at the best of times, but with a few kids in tow it becomes unbearable. We didn’t like shopping in store for a few reasons:
- Driving there and back and getting a carpark can take so much time, and makes us frazzled before we even set foot in the store.
- It’s so hard to find something you need - especially if it’s for the first time.
- Not having something in stock and having to go to another shop!
- Typically we’d go on a Sunday (when EVERYONE else went) which made walking down the aisles very congested.
- It’s great when kids want to be involved! But when you’re an hour in, trolley full, people everywhere, and your toddler just wants to grab everything to show you? Ugh!
So what did we end up doing? Shopping online, of course! There’s a few different options, you’ve obviously got both Woolworths and Coles and then you have a bunch of smaller setups like Your Grocer. We chose Woolies, because it’s where we’ve been shopping for years, we already had their reward card (Woolworths Rewards/Everyday Rewards) and we’re used to their inventory of products.
Saving money with online shopping
As our family grew, so did our weekly spend on groceries. It’s so easy to just pick a few things up off the shelf, a few more things and then before you know it, you’ve bought twice as much as you need - because you were hungry at the shops! Here’s a few tips and tricks which will help you watch what you spend, and could really cut the cost of your grocery bill:
Do it on your own time
Imagine shopping without the kids, what a dream come true! That’s why we generally do our online order after dinner. The house is quiet and it allows us to focus on what we actually need. The best part here is there’s no thinking ‘hmmm, do we have this in the fridge?’ because you can just pop into the kitchen and have a look.
My wife and I really like the add now, check later approach. We’ll add everything we think we need to the cart and just before we place the order, one of us is at the fridge/pantry and the other rattling off things to check.
Shopping for a family?
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Do it early, do it many times
Probably one of, if not the best benefits of online shopping is being able to come back to your cart. It means you can do your shopping in 15 minute bursts and really give it the attention it needs. For those of you who find any form of shopping a drain, this is a great technique so you don’t become overwhelmed or upset. Less than ten minutes a night gives you over an hour spent shopping each week!
Generally we do the majority of our order on a Thursday, double check it on a Friday night and again on Saturday when we submit it (in time for Sunday delivery!). This means we’re looking at it a lot and making more conscious decisions. It also minimises impulse buying, because if you add something to the cart and then see it the next day, it gives you a moment to actually think about what you’re ordering!
Don’t shop when you’re hungry
When you’re shopping online, it’s much easier to choose a time that suits you. We often look for what to buy after we’ve had dinner. This means we’re not hungry and thinking about food - especially snack type food. This is a great way to save on your Woolworths orders!
Grab a bargain
We’ve noticed the bargain section at our local Woolworths has moved probably 4 or 5 times in the last year. When you’re in store, you really need to be disciplined to find the items that have reduced prices. So what about online - is there a reduced section on Woolworths online?
There’s not, as some orders won’t come from your local shop, rather a dispatch centre (especially if you’re doing delivery). However, online shops like Coles and Woolworths make it incredibly easy to find and filter through Specials. You can find look at specials per section, like the Bakery, Pantry or Freezer, but what’s even better is you can look at all their half priced items in one spot!
Keep the kids happy with a full lunchbox
One of the biggest chores for us every week is finding snack foods for the kids. It seems like kids always change their mind and never want the same thing each week. They thrive on variation, but my mind doesn’t! Woolworths makes this easy with their Lunch Box section, dedicated to food from sandwiches to snacks! It’s the perfect way to fill out that order.
Look for a discount code
Discount codes, often called coupons or coupon codes, can be found online to use with Coles, Woolworths and many other online grocery providers. They often expire within a month and either your account will have to meet certain criteria (these are referred to as “target coupons”) or the discount will be something that’s specific, for example: $5 off pet items, or 5% off for health care card holders. However, you can definitely find more generic coupons, like 10% off your Woolworths delivery. There’s a few different blogs and websites posting coupon codes - there are even some that work with Woolworths directly. However, we like the discount page on OzBargain as it’s an aggregate of all the discounts across the web - it does the work for you! You could also use the service Honey which aims to put coupon codes in automatically when you go to pay for your order. We’ve had limited success with it - I think out of the 10 or so times we tried to use it, only once did it give us a valid coupon.
Optimise your shopping lists automatically
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Get free delivery
Woolworths offer free delivery when you spend over $300, and Coles offer it for orders over $200. When you’re shopping online, the delivery fee gets less with the more you buy. We make sure to pay attention to how much we’re spending - there’s been a few times where we’d be charged a $16 delivery fee, or we could spend $2 more and get charged an $8 delivery fee, essentially making that $2 purchase into a $6 saving! The best way to do this is keeping an eye out for when your more expensive purchases are on sale, and buying them in bulk to pad your order out more for delivery. Great things to keep in mind are nappies, laundry detergent, meat and frozen goods.
Don’t double up on your items
When we first started out, we were ordering two of something instead of one. An example would be ordering two packets of chicken breast at 400g, because we needed a kilo. A cheaper way to buy a kilo of chicken would be through the deli, or in a 1.2kg packet. We’ve worked very hard at Noshh to make sure we optimise your shopping list so if multiple meals use the same kind of ingredients, we add them up in the cheapest way. When we automatically add your shopping list to your Woolworths cart, we add the minimum and cheapest ingredients which match the recipes.
Keep a list
Shopping lists seem like they’re as old as time. From paper and pen through to a to-do-list app on your phone, there’s many ways to keep track of what you need. We prefer to use a whiteboard in the kitchen, and when we run out of something (or it comes to mind) we quickly scribble it down. It won’t get lost or dirty like a piece of paper, and it’s a lot less friction to use than a phone app. You might be in the middle of cooking, not know where your phone is, or even worse, on a call!
Pickup vs delivery
Online retailers offer to primary ways to get your groceries, pickup (also known as ‘click and collect’) and delivery. We use both, depending on circumstances - but what’s best for you?
Pickup means you still have to go to you local supermarket to get your groceries. You’ll need to go at a specific time too, as they’ll have them ready for you when you arrive. When you get to Woolworths, head to the Customer Service area and show them your confirmation email. They’ll then send for your trolley full of groceries, and when you sign to say you’ve collected them, you’ll be free to take your shopping! The windows for pick up - the time slots when you choose to pick up your groceries - are often available later than delivery. For example, we can regularly book pickup for Sunday on a late Saturday afternoon. So we use it when we’re running behind, or when we’ll be out and about anyway. It’s also great if you’re getting something sensitive - like ice cream, so it won’t melt sitting on your verandah if you weren’t home for delivery!
Delivery is the easier and quicker option. Just choose a day and time (often a window, like 12pm - 4pm) and they’ll show up on your doorstep, like magic! Delivery fees depend on how expensive your grocery bill is, but usually our fees are between $5 and $10 - really a decent price to pay for the convenience. We generally choose a window when we’ll be home for the delivery, but if not, they’re left in a safe spot on our porch out of sunlight and rain.