Posted in Blog

Is Grocery Delivery Worth It?

My time is valuable. I prefer not to waste it doing tasks I don’t particularly enjoy, like filling a cart full of groceries in a crowded store with two young kids buzzing around me like bees. How lucky we are to live in a time where I can outsource this task and get back more quality family or personal time!

Our preferred grocery store chain (shout out to Wegmans!) recently started providing curbside pickup and delivery options near us, so I researched the costs.

I started by creating a list of 12 items:

  • Store-brand loaf of bread
  • Family pack of ground beef
  • Large pack of strawberries
  • Bunch of bananas
  • A dozen eggs
  • Family pack of store-brand pasta sauce
  • Gallon of 2% store-brand milk
  • Store-brand almond milk
  • Family pack of Cheerios
  • Large container of coffee creamer
  • Half pound of bologna
  • Package of pasta

If I picked up these items in the store, it would cost me $60.41 and at least an hour of my time to drive to the store, pick up everything, and then come home.

If I wanted curbside pickup, meaning someone else shopped for me then met me outside the store to help me load my car, then the price jumped to $69.59 (a 15% increase). However, I’d definitely be adding a tip on top of that of at least $5. So, the total comes to $74.59 (a 23% increase) and 30 minutes of my time to drive to and from the store.

If I wanted these groceries delivered, it would cost me $72.98 (a 21% increase) plus tip. I’d tip at least $10 for this service, so that’s $82.98 total (a 37% increase). Having someone else shop and deliver my groceries would save me an hour of my time.

So let’s compare the options. Shopping for myself is the baseline, and it costs $60.41 and one hour of my time. In this scenario, how much more money does it cost and how much time is saved by these choices?

  • Curbside pickup costs $14.18 more than shopping myself, but I save 30 minutes of time.
  • Delivery costs $22.57 more than shopping myself, but I save an hour of my time.

In this case, to save myself an hour of time, I’d pay $22.57. I could use that time to play games with my kids, read a book, or work an extra hour. (I’d pretty much like to do anything other than grocery shop.)

But, deciding if the price is worth it may depend on the quantity of items purchased. There’s certainly some economies of scale at play here. If you order just a few groceries, many services will add a flat fee to your price, making the markup greater than my example above.

I recognize the privilege I have to be able to say that an hour of my time is worth more than the cost of having groceries delivered. If I enjoyed the task, I may do it anyway. I wouldn’t pay someone $20 to fold laundry. I kind of like that task. (Yes, I realize I’m strange. Just roll with it.)

So, there you have it! I’m sure each store and grocery-delivery option is somewhat different, but here’s an exploration of one option for your consideration.

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