Being an avid frugal person, I used to avoid online grocery shopping, thinking the produce will not be as good as the produce I hand pick , the prices will be considerably higher, and I will not get that “vibe” you get when strolling along the supermarket aisles -that “vibe” that sends you to the kitchen raving with new ideas and recipes.
Well- turns out I was wrong- I mean totally wrong- on all 3 counts.
#1: turns out my online supermarket declared that they handpick the best products for their online customers, and that turned out to be true. on the rare occasions that I discovered a few overripe bananas or something like that- Immediately wrote to the customer service online- and they reimbursed me that instant.
#2: The online prices are a bit higher than shopping at the cheapest supermarket, but: at the end of the day- the cost is lower. let me explain:
A.Let’s all admit– when we go to the store- specially a supermarket- we tend to buy more than we planned. the carefully made list turns after a few minutes to a mere guideline- at best. I know for a fact that there wasn’t even once that I managed walking down the vegetable and fruit aisles without suddenly remembering “I had to get strawberries or a specific brand of these lovely mushrooms”. this does still happen to me while shopping online- but not as frequently as it did while going to the store.
B. “oops- I forgot (this or that)!“…this happened to me soooooo many times…it is embarrassing to even admit that there were times I went to the store to get something and left with a huge grocery bag- that had nothing to do with the original things I needed to buy….this kind of thing doesn’t happen to me anymore: I start making my online list when I see I need something, and keep adding and changing throughout the 3 weeks between each delivery.
C. Items on sale and wise shopping: stores have their ways to get rid of certain items by presenting them as a “great deal!!” when actually- if you were to browse through the other companies selling the same product- or even the same brand selling this product in a bigger bag -you would have realized the deal provided wasn’t such a big deal. i found out that I was much more frugal when shopping online- looking- and finding items I actually needed to buy- and were on actual sale- than my go-to-the-store days.
D. When I shop online I am not tired or hungry – I have the time to ask myself if really need that product- or am I deluding myself about that 3 layer meringue “I am definitely going to make”. I also have the time to actually go to the pantry and check if I have the product at home or not.
E. What about that cost of fuel?
#3: The “vibe” issue- that is true- my Ipad /phone can’t transfer the smell of fresh organic produce. but luckily I learned to use my imagination and get thinking about recipes while assembling my online shopping list- mind you the gap between each online order at our house is between 3 to 4 weeks.
Of course, there are downsides. but the upsides in my opinion- outweigh them considerably.
I can’t avoid the fact that after 2 weeks- most of the fresh produce isn’t fresh anymore.
although I have great tips for keeping my fruit and veggies fresh, I am not superman- and cannot turn time backward.
So- I look at this as an opportunity to be creative: I am out of tomatoes and cucumbers? no big deal- I will sprout a fresh batch of sprouts and add walnuts and quinoa instead! I am out of tofu? I will soak beans instead.
I look at every situation of food items shortage as an opportunity to go through my pantry and find forgotten treasures-or be innovative with what I have left. this is also a great opportunity to make sure groceries aren’t piling up and expiring.
for example- make a bean stew: (with lots of garlic!!super healthy!)
Quick fix no fresh produce situation bean stew:
1/2 bag- about a cup before soaking- dried beans -soaked at least overnight then cook until tender (but not mushy). I usually have cooked beans waiting in my freezer. saves time.
1 can -of canned tomatoes
1 garlic head -at least! peeled
2 large onions-diced
4-5 potatoes- regular or- even better– sweet potatoes.
frozen turmeric (I peel and dice fresh Tumeric and freeze it in ice cubes on the very day my groceries arrive. this ensures I have fresh Tumeric for at least a month.
My frozen vegetable stock- I batch cook and freeze ahead
condiments- salt&pepper, paprika, and friends- to taste.
Start by pan-frying onions in some vegetable oil, add the potatoes, then the garlic, let simmer for a few minutes then add boiling water to cover, add the canned tomatoes, let simmer a few minutes, add the pre-cooked beans and condiments +tumeric, and let simmer until you taste and fall over with delight.
*Last tip- add a little bit of brown sugar -I mean a tiny bit- like 1/8 of tsp -the canned tomatoes are a little acidic and the tiny amount of sugar helps balance the overall taste.
I believe I cut up to 30% on my grocery bills since shopping only online, not to mention tons of time.
Try it-maybe it will work for you as well. the cooliflower.