My Brutally Honest Review | Grocery Delivery

I haven't stepped foot inside a grocery store since the middle of summer-- true story! Here is my brutally honest experience with these various grocery delivery services.

1. Aldi- Instacart

I just about DIED the day I found out that Aldi grocery delivery came to my area. Truly Aldi is my favorite store. I am a real bare bones, don't like a ton of options shopping experience. Do I REALLY need to stand there and pick between 50 kinds of peanut butter?! Add kids to this mix and it's a mess. I love the ease of Aldi, how quickly I can get through their store, and how affordable everything is. It's the only place that I can guesstimate in my head how much I have spent, and my total is LESS than the number in my head. LOVE.

I signed up for an Instacart account and got free delivery on my first order. I will say that I had a $20 off $35 purchase promo in my email BUT the coupon wouldn't work for me which was a disappointment. I DID have a referral code from a friend that gave me $10 off my first order. It was my first time using Instacart-- in my area you can also buy from Whole Foods, Publix, Costco, and Petco. I'll admit I like shopping at Costco (BY MYSELF- no kids)-- so I was new to Instacart's interface and the whole checkout process.

After I picked all my groceries I chose my delivery day/time and then I saw "service fee". I assumed this was the tip (and if I had read the fine print I would have figured out it wasn't in fact the tip). THIS FEE CAN BE WAIVED, so take that off your order- wish I had known that the first time. I opted to tip my driver AFTER delivery.

My first order was an hour and a half late which wasn't a big deal to me that particular day but it would have been frustrating if I had somewhere to be. They DID let me know the delivery was delayed through a text which I was appreciative of! Also it was the Thursday before Hurricane Irma (we were set to be hit Monday night) so I'm SURE traffic in and out of the store was nuts which is why I didn't fuss about the delay. My second order was SUPER fast- I ordered at 3:13pm and my groceries were at my door at 4:10pm! I got a random free delivery promo code for this order.

Grocery prices are more than the store. I would however say that it isn't by much. AND you ultimately have to decide if you time is worth the cost savings. FOR ME (and this is totally just my opinion) planning my week to go in the store and come home frustrated by my kids or everyone else out and about ISN'T WORTH the $5 I would have saved in the store. My 1.5hours is more important to me. I know other people who LOVE to shop. I just don't.

After the first free delivery you have to pay the delivery fee. They have an express option which allows you to pay upfront which is less than the pay per delivery amount. I was frustrated that I couldn't find how much this actually costs. It kept prompting me to start a 14 day free trial which I am not ready to do yet. From what I can tell there are multiple options but the only info I could find was $79/year (which seems HIGH to me- BUT broken down weekly/year it comes to $1.50/ week which is REALLY good. Just seems like a lot up front).

They assume you will be home to receive your delivery. You can tell them in the notes section to leave it at your door, but they do NOT put your items on ice so I would definitely schedule delivery when you will be home. There is a whole list of FAQ here.

Express: Plans start at $79
Minimum order amount: $10
Delivery Fee: $10 on orders less than $35, $5.99 on orders +$35
Suggested tip: 10%+ You tip either at the time of delivery (I handed my driver the money) OR from the confirmation email you receive after the order is delivered. 

The good- the option for 2 hour and same day delivery, amazingly priced groceries,  text communication with my driver
The bad- unless you sign up for their express payment option you pay for delivery. Also the sneaky service charge that can be waived. Organic food is hit or miss. Also if an item is out of stock, you are out of luck. You are stuck with Aldi's not amazing assortment of items-- BUT I justify this because at least I didn't have to make the trip to find out they are out of an item.

2. Amazon Fresh

I first started Amazon Fresh at the end of July. I received a promo for a free month of grocery delivery (usually $14.99). Because most people living have used Amazon Prime, I found the interface to be super easy and self explanatory. There were no hidden fees.

Instead of seeing a "Prime" next to items like usual in Amazon, you see "Fresh" next to the fresh items. I also like that you can click on "Fresh" from the homepage and it will only show you "Fresh" items (almost like you are in a virtual grocery store). They have a "deals" section that I always like to check out and they USUALLY have a 1cent item each week. We have received 1cent yogurt, fruit snacks, rice krispie treats (this is a TREAT for my kids that I NEVER buy) and tiny apples this week!

Amazon automatically separates the fresh items from your regular Amazon items (if you already have items in the cart). With their recent merge with Whole Foods, you are able to get the 365 Whole Foods store brand which is AWESOME! I have found their selection of organic items is awesome.

My order was late once (I've used this service about 10 times). I contacted Amazon because honestly I was worried about my driver. He was an hour late at the point I contacted them. She assured me he was on his way and had 1 stop between where he was and my house. They offered to refund my whole order (!!) but I insisted that wasn't necessary so they gave me $10 off my next order. I REALLY try to have grace because they are doing me a HUGE favor and if they don't make money they are going to stop delivering!! He came about 30 minutes later.

Minimum Order: $40 (once you spend $40 you get "free delivery" with the $14.99 monthly payment). 
Delivery Fee: You can order as many times a month as you would like with the $14.99 monthly fee. Suggested Tip: 10%+ (they automatically calculate this- you can adjust it) 

The good- ease of Amazon's website, usually do a 1cent deal, and unattended delivery.
The bad- I have yet to be able to order and receive same day. One or two things I have to wait for a delivery time another day-- which is FINE. But Instacart is almost always same day.

3. Walmart Grocery Pickup 
So this isn't a grocery delivery service but it is worth mentioning. You can order groceries online, pick a pickup time and head to the closest Walmart that offers this service. The service is totally free and no tip is necessary. I have done this for over a year and I REALLY love this service. I did find that I had to plan my day around pickup time which is slightly inconvenient if you are not a plan ahead person like me. For the past year the nearest store to do this was about 25 min away with traffic. Within the last month, my closest store began offering the service so YAY! It's about 10-15min away depending. Definitely a great option for busy moms and dads who don't want to pay a monthly fee for delivery.

Minimum Order: $30
Fee: $0 
Suggested Tip: $0

All the delivery services:
-keep a list of previous orders and allow you to shop from the previous orders (YES!)
-have friendly/courteous drivers
-pick EXCELLENT produce and package the items well

4. Other: 
-Prime Pantry: This service is for non-perishable food items. It is fantastic if you needed a quick restock of paper goods, pantry items and health/beauty goodies. I talked more about this service hereThe gist of Prime Pantry is that Amazon gives you a box- each item you add to the box takes up a certain % of space and weight. Each item you click on will tell you what that percent is. Once your box is 100% filled you pay $5.99 to ship it.

Except I've never paid $5.99 to ship! Because, hello I'm CHEAP. They will occasionally offer free shipping on larger items you purchase through regular Amazon. Pay attention to the different ways to ship before confirming your regular order. 

-Kroger Clicklist: I can't fully talk for this service because I don't like shopping at Kroger and I have never used Clicklist. But from the research I have done and from talking to friends, you get your first (and maybe second?) pickup free. Then you pay $4.99 to use the service. It's similar to Walmart's Grocery Pickup in that you order online and drive to the store to pickup. But it costs money and I can get groceries delivered to my door for less per month (assuming I am shopping every week). ;)

-Prime Now: You have to have the app to use. I am a fairly recent user of this service. The premise is you get the items within 2 hours. It is a limited stock of items and it's not always the best price- but it's FANTASTIC if I forgot something that is non-perishable (say body lotion or a bag of chips). It's a $20 minimum and $5.99 delivery fee- just like Prime Pantry I have NEVER paid a delivery fee because I get credits on other orders. I do tip.

I hope that helps anyone who isn't sure of how these services compare! I am still honestly on the fence about sticking with one over the other. I think they work well hand in hand. I am leaning toward the Instacart Express ($79/year) because of how cheap Aldi is. But I can't get everything we always need from Aldi! Which is where Amazon comes in. So I am still undecided about sticking with ONE service. Of course if you live in an area where some or all of these service aren't available I am TRULY sorry. I have BEEN there. Once we lived in a small town where I had to travel and hour to get to TARGET. 

*contains affiliate links. Affiliate links are a win win. They provide a direct link to the  products I love, and they help support the blog! Read my disclosures here

High Five For Friday | Favorites

The last time I posted a Friday Favorites we hadn't yet left to travel to see the eclipse! I will do a separate post because it was that amazing. People who said it was "underwhelming" obviously didn't experience totality. It was beautiful, spiritual, and a force of nature that reminded me how little I was and how great our God is! 
This picture was snapped during the 1 minute 36 seconds of totality we had! We also enjoyed a 360 degree sunset. And YES it got dark as night. The first picture I took without a flash didn't show my kids! Had to turn a flash on for it. 

On a lighter note-- have you ever tried a hair serum?! I got this as a sample a few months ago-- loved it so much that I bought the bigger size. It is NOT CHEAP, but a little goes a VERY long way. I use half a pump (2-3 times a week) on all my dry ends to nourish them. I love putting it on before bed because my hair smells SO GOOD when I wake up. Also it's fantastic to use while your hair is wet. I also use it on Emmie's hair because it makes it smell AMAZING! Check it out HERE. Also add it to your subscriptions to save 15%! 

We are in our FOURTH week of school! We are loving the University Model of schooling. This was a view into one of our history lessons about archaeology. The 4 year old gets involved too!

This girl is in her third week of preschool and she LOVES it so much. She wishes she could go every day of the week. She loves her friends and her teachers. We get to the drop off line about 20 minutes early everyday (because I go straight from one school to the other) and so I get some good quality time with her.

PSA from Teacher Caroline | Laminator

I can.not. believe that I have lived 30 years AND taught 5 years of school without a personal laminator. Now that I'm NOT teaching, isn't it ironic that I finally bought one for myself? 😂

I had been eyeing the Scotch brand laminators because those are what I saw in the stores, but when I went to order, Amazon's price for the Scotch brand was slightly ridiculous. I noticed that they had THEIR OWN BRAND for less than $20! $20 was about what I was willing to spend. Also what sets this laminator above others I've used is NO CARRIER SHEET! The others I've personally used had a protective sheet over the laminating sheet pouch (which basically creates an extra step). This laminator doesn't require that protective sheet. I had great success just using the Amazon brand laminating pouches.

I actually paid $19 for it-- and RIGHT NOW it's on sale for $17.88 which is so awesome since school is about to start! Also can we have a moment for public schools starting July 31? #Icanteven I'm not even teaching and I can think of 100 reasons why I needed this. I plan to label some bins in our linen closet and I want the labels to be protected. Also with homeschooling I'm sure a bunch of things will come up that I will be glad to have this.

Also pictured are these ADORABLE snack sized baggies. WHERE WERE THESE when I was making centers for my classroom?? My first laminating project was these alphabet cards that were sent home with Emmie at the end of last year and these bags fit them perfectly! You can easily add them to your grocery pickup order (use my link for $10 off!)

Not sure how long that price will stay on Amazon for the laminator but here are quick links to grab what I mentioned! (It's only .89 cents away from the lowest price ever offered on Amazon and it's the lowest price it's been in 2 years!!).

Laminator----> HERE
Laminator sheets----> HERE
SQUARE snack bags----> HERE

* Please note that this post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links are a win win. They provide a direct link to the  products I love, and they help support the blog! Read my disclosures here

2017: resolve to rest

2017 is my year of rest, and I am so excited about this! I mentioned here that I have actually already been resting for the past few months, so this is just a continuation of that mindset. I did still set some goals and resolutions, because I am just a goals oriented person. I love the challenge of a good goal. Here is my list:

1. Be on time- early even. I am so tired of being late and rushing around and just feeling stressed about getting places on time. I am a procrastinator by nature so this is just something that I struggle with. I am trying to build in margin to my deadlines and days. Instead of finishing Etsy orders the day they are suppose to ship, I am aiming to finish early. Instead of rolling into the parking lot barely on time, I want to be 5 minutes early. Many times this is dependent on my children so building that margin into my mornings is critical.

2. Read two books a month. I challenged myself with one a month last year and I destroyed that goal. So I am upping the ante this year. Click here to see this year's reading list.

3. Self-care- again. This is so so important. I am going to continue my laser treatments (obviously-- it's mostly paid for). Also more baths, skin care (yay Younique products!), and mani/pedis. I'd LOVE to stop biting my nails, but that's a stretch.

4. Debt paid! I shared here that from April 2016-Feb 2017 we will have paid off nearly $10k in debt (my van included). We hope to have another $4k paid by June. This is a big deal since we live nearly on one income and currently own 2 houses and have 2 car payments. We like setting big goals. We also want to start saving for a cruise-- which if we're being honest is my incentive ;)

5. I'd like to make double machine payments on my embroidery machine 6 times this year. That will shorten the length of my loan by half a year. It's 0% interest, so not 100% necessary, but would make me feel fantastic!

There you have it! I like sticking to a short list of more manageable goals. And I proved to myself last year that even short lists don't all get accomplished (and THAT'S OK!).