Years ago, I knew someone who went out every Sunday morning and bought a Sunday paper. Not for the articles or the weather updates, but for the coupons and adds. He would then spend the better part of the morning pouring over those adds and clipping coupons while at the same time making a grocery list for that week.
The list usually had 3-5 stores listed, with that stores sales items and coupons grouped by store to make sure they were used at the right places on the right items. The weeks meals were then planned based primarily on what was on sale or had a coupon.
The shopping would happen on Monday. It would take about 5 hours with each store being mapped so there would be no backtracking and the required cooler in the back to ensure nothing got too warm during the outing.
Don’t get me wrong. I think this is probably an extreme, albeit real, example. I think truth be told most people plan a weekly or bi-weekly trip to the grocery store, buy what looks good and sadly according to CBS news, wastes an average of 30% of what they buy. Groceries account for 71% of all impulse buys.
About a year ago MP and I signed up for Instacart. It’s a grocery delivery program, that lets you choose from the stores nearest you for grocery delivery to your home. The cost is about $100 per year. I won’t go into all the details of the program, but I will say it has cut our grocery bill and allows us to stay out of stores that not only take time but encourage spontaneous and often unhealthy buying.
We no longer get up on Saturday morning and make the run to Winco. We don’t battle crowds to get the crackers we love and we don’t spend time debating new products that are strategically located in the center isles. Instead, I make a menu most weeks, figure out what we need to have for those meals and order just what we need.
No more weird snacks that looked good in the store going to waste on my shelf. No ice cream in the freezer that I don’t want to have to decide every night not to eat. No throwing away veggies found in the bottom of a crisper having gone bad. Instead, we have healthy dinners with lunches made each night and while we do still get a treat now and again, we mostly have healthy options to choose from when a late evening craving wins out.
Lastly, because a personal shopper does all the shopping, I no longer need to keep up my Costco membership just for groceries. Instacart makes sure the shopper has the membership and I can still get the deals and products I’m used to.
Instacart has been a fabulous option for us. We save time, money and energy to use on the things that matter most to us. And for those of you wondering, I do still go to the store for special occasions to buy something specific. Instacart may not be for every day, but it can be for most days.
Minimalism. Its about trading the things that fill our time and space and take our focus off the things that matter for what’s really important. For me, right now, one of my top priorities is time. Time to do the things I love. Time to be with those I love. And I don’t know about you, but grocery shopping doesn’t fall on either list.
Let me know if you’ve used this or another service and how it helped you realize a more stress free or minimalist life.