Save Time, Money, & Sanity with Grocery Pick-Up

I’ve always grocery shopped with my kids. And they’ve always been pretty good at the store. So I thought nothing of it the first week of summer when the four of us set out to ALDI. While no one was even bad, I wouldn’t recommend it. ALDI is crowded and my kids just don’t know where to put their little bodies now that they are too big for the cart. They were invariably standing right in front of the cart, or hanging off of the side of it (into the other side of the aisle), or pulling on each other, or asking me for random foods every other minute.

Not to mention unloading the cart and then bagging all the groceries takes a loooong time when you’re shopping for a family of five people with high metabolisms. And of course then you have to load it all into the car, take back the cart, and unload it all and put it away at home.

I know I’m making living in a suburb with a car, a house, and easy access to unlimited amounts of food seem like some kind of hardship. I don’t mean it that way. I’m grateful, I promise. It’s just that grocery shopping, which used to be a relaxing errand I actually looked forward to, has become much more tiring and time-consuming as our family has grown.

I can’t tell you how to survive summer with kids while maintaining your sanity, but I can offer a solitary tip for simply staying alive: try grocery pick up.

My friends have been singing the praises of Walmart grocery pickup and/or delivery, and I tried it on vacation and few other times under special circumstances (sickness, extreme weather). Now it has become a magical way of life. The kids are perfectly happy to be strapped into their car seats (read: no one to chase), listen to music (read: not fighting), and then wonderful people put groceries straight into my minivan. For FREE.

This has taken the number of people I drag into the store from 4 to 0. It has reduced the number of times I touch the groceries from 5 to 1. It takes less time to drive to Walmart than it does to bag my food at ALDI.

I was resistant at first to the idea because I didn’t want to pay more, I didn’t know if they would do a good job picking out the produce, I didn’t want to drive further, and I’m not all that crazy about Walmart in general. Overall, none of these have been a problem. And after trying other local grocery stores’ pick-up services, and Target’s, Walmart is by far the best.

How does it work? First you download the Walmart Grocery app, or create an account on your computer. Next, you search for items you want. The results are relevant, store brands come up alongside brand names (just be sure not to use trade names like Cheerios vs. oat cereal), and show you price per ounce for comparison.

You can add items to your cart with a single click, select a pick-up time (one-hour window) when you’re ready to check out, and you can continue to edit the order until about 6 hours before pick up. You do need to plan the pick-up about 6 hours in advance. You can share your location and say you’re on the way, or call when you arrive and park in the pick-up area. Within about 5 minutes the magical employee comes and delivers your groceries.

Things I love about it, other than the obvious convenience:

  1. Substitutions. If they don’t have the item you want, they will replace it with a bigger item, name brand item, or similar item. You have the choice to accept or reject each substitution. On my last order, I got 2x as much sliced cheese, 2x as many strawberries, and 50% bigger bottle of ranch dressing. You do not pay any more for substitutions.
  2. More products. I can get just about anything–school supplies, household items, diapers, toiletries, etc. It doesn’t cover anything in Walmart, but there are way more things that ALDI doesn’t carry, and it’s really nice to avoid extra store trips right now.
  3. Adjusting your total. You can see your total change with each item you add. This is nice because it’s impossible to keep a running tally at the grocery store, and more of a hassle to abandon items at the check-out. If you’re sticking to a budget, it’s great to be able to pare down your order based on what you really need. Which is related to…
  4. Fewer impulse purchases. While there is a small number of “suggested” items shown, it’s a lot harder to make impulse purchases when you have to generate the search ideas. It is a great way to stick to your list.
  5. I forget less because I can add to an order throughout the week, whenever I think of something I need. I don’t even make a list anymore, I just put it right in the grocery cart from the app. It also saves your old orders so you could re-order an entire order easily. It also suggests items you frequently purchase before check out, and allows you to favorite items.
  6. My husband can grocery shop from his phone. We all know the drill: “What do you want from the store, honey?” “I don’t know.” Fast forward 12 hours. “Why don’t we have any good snacks?” “I don’t know what you want!” We both have the app logged into the same account, so Neil can also add things he wants when he thinks of them.
  7. So easy! Compared to every other store pick-up app I have used, Walmart’s is by far the most user-friendly.
  8. Greater variety. I love, love, love ALDI. But after shopping there almost exclusively for years, it is nice to have more variety.
  9. Coupon codes. There are coupon codes for first delivery, first pick up, and other promos throughout the year.

What about the prices? Many of the store brand prices are similar to ALDI prices. However, the quality of some of the “Great Value” items is not good compared to ALDI, particularly dry/grain-based. The dairy items seem ok. The eggs are awful, but I’ve been farm fresh ones from a friend. I haven’t been buying a lot of fresh meat there because we had a freezer stash, and I’m going to start shopping at a local butcher’s.

Overall, I am paying a little more for some items, but for the short-term of the summer, it’s well worth the convenience. I also think the lack of impulse/ kid-driven purchases may be balancing that out. There are great ALDI items that I miss, but I will venture there with 1-2 kids on occasion to stock up on those.

Even if you don’t have 3 kids, I’d recommend trying grocery pick-up if you are short on time, don’t like shopping, are prone to impulse buys, or need to control your grocery spending. This is not a sponsored or affiliate post, I really just like Walmart grocery pick-up so much more than I expected and want to share the magic with others.

What do you like about grocery pick up? Or what hang-ups do you have about it?

5 Responses to “Save Time, Money, & Sanity with Grocery Pick-Up”

  1. Josh says :

    We have several family friends with 3+ children who love the parking lot pickup option. Not having to fiddle with car seats and chase curious toddlers around speeds up the shopping process.

    We haven’t done it yet ourselves as I usually keep our children if my wife goes out (or we both go in and I keep up with the children), but we would definitely consider it for dry goods. My wife likes to handpick her own produce and see what might be on clearance to substitute for regular-priced items on our shopping list.

  2. Linda says :

    I would love this but our closest Walmart is too far away to make this a reasonable thing for us to do. So my husband and I share a Notes app to which we both add things then he shops while I stay home.

  3. Amber says :

    We have 4 children, and still brave ALDI’s. Theres something so satisfying about making it through with everything on my list and having my “helpers” load the bags. There’s usually a fight over who puts in the quarter, and then again who takes it out of the cart. Again, there are the disagreements over who sits In The seat, and who rides in the carriage, or who pushes it. I’ve reached the point where all I can do is laugh my way through and smile at everyone else who is watching us. My Walmart doesn’t have pickup yet, and we usually need a Tractor Supply run at the same time as ALDI (they are in the same complex). For now, we are stuck with shopping the regular way!

  4. TERESA BAKER says :

    I go once a month and get enough meat for the month at Aldi’s (family of 4) and then use Walmart pickup weekly as needed to get the rest from bread to Borax. Our grocery bill had went down considerably since using Walmart last year but now that we have “fine-tuned” our shopping to include the better meat prices at Aldi’s, it’s the cheapest for our family. As an added bonus, I have rheumatoid arthritis and the Walmart pickup has been a tremendous blessing when it is flared up. We’ve received “treat bags” near Super Bowl time and Mother’s Day and enjoyed the chance to try out new products.

  5. Bethany says :

    I really liked Walmart pickup when our girl was a baby, too. But our store isn’t great at picking produce, and it seems like they use a plastic bag for every single item (which is fine, if you need more bags). It got to the point where I seriously considered learning to crochet so I could make floor mats out of the bags. LOL.

    I didn’t realize they have coupon codes for things besides the first delivery. We got a goody bag the first time I used pick-up, which was a delightful surprise.

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