How to get the most out of your online grocery shopping

I have not had a car for the last six weeks and living in a small village, with no shops within walking distance, I have had to shop online for my food and groceries. Since then I have discovered a few great ways to save money on the food bills, and how to get the most out of online grocery shopping. Naturally I thought I’d share my tips with our readers on Shoppersbase. Here is my advice:


1. Pick your deliver slot carefully

I have noticed that most online supermarkets have peak time delivery slots and ones that are less expensive. The most sought after time slots are on certain days and times. So for instance, peak days, which will cost your more money, are Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. In particular the weekends are definitely the most wanted days, as unsurprisingly, most people are not working. Moreover, early mornings will cost a few quid more than late afternoons. So, when planning your time delivery slot, the cheapest days and times are from Monday afternoon right through until Wednesday evening. These are typical for the standard three-hour slots that most supermarkets offer. Even cheaper however are 12-hour slots, which range from 10am to 6pm or 12pm to 8pm. So if you are working from home or have a day off, choose one of these slots instead.

  • Peak times prices: £4 to £5.99
  • Off peak prices: £2.50 to £3.50

2. Always choose the special offers

Most special offers are online as well as in store, and the supermarket will let you know if you have missed out on a deal, such as buy two for less money, or will point you towards a discounted price for an item that you have not chosen. It is worth really watching what you are buying as heavier items are much easier for the delivery van to deliver, rather than you lugging it back into your car.

3. Substitutions will save you money

If a supermarket cannot deliver an item you have bought they will offer you a substituted item instead. This tends to happen a lot with special offers, as they may have sold out in store. So this is especially important to go for the offers, as if they have to replace it, you will only be charged the special offer price. So you could end up getting a better replacement than the one you originally ordered, but for less money. For instance, I ordered red grapes, which were discounted at a certain weight for £1.50, but as they had none at the time of ordering, I got a larger bunch for £3 but at the same price as the special offer. I also ordered chocolate éclairs for £1 and they didn’t have any so instead I got caramel and Belgian chocolate éclairs for £2.20. This seems to work best for perishable goods such as meat, fish, bakery and diary.

4. Loyalty bargains

If you have to order online frequently, the store will notice this and email you bargains, so make sure you are signed up with your email address to receive them. I had been ordering for several weeks when I got a special delivery price for three months delivery charges for just £15. This means that you can order as many times as you like, at what times you like, and this works out at just £5 a month.

5. Watch out for mistakes

I’ve only ever had one mistake with the cost of my online shopping and the supermarket refunded me for the total cost of the items. So when you get your bill, double check it and phone to inform them and you should get the money back.

Finally, I discovered, after spending about an hour placing a shopping order that Tesco and Waitrose do not accept Visa Electron. You could try, imputing the type of card as Visa, but this hasn’t be verified.

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