Sometimes you just don’t have time to go to the grocery store, or you aren’t in the mood to deal with the crowds. Or maybe you find grocery shopping to be unpleasant no matter what–stores have gotten enormous, and they’re set up to intentionally lead you on a wild goose chase for the items on your list, in the hopes that you’ll pick up lots of impulse purchases on the way.

Having groceries delivered is a option in many major cities, but it can carry a hefty premium. After my most recent delivery purchase, where I ended up with three small bags of food for $70 (without buying organic), I had to wonder how much money my aversion to grocery stores might be costing me, and whether the convenience was really worth it. If you’ve been wondering the same thing, the following list of pros and cons may help you make an informed decision.

Delivery Pros:

  • Saving time that could be spent on more productive activities.
  • Avoiding impulse purchases. While it’s just as easy to come across items not on your list when shopping online, it can be easier to resist something when it’s a mere image on a screen as opposed to something you can actually pick up. Some delivery services don’t even sell impulse items like gum and mints that people toss into their carts in the checkout line. It’s also easier to remove unwanted items from an online cart than from a physical cart. Few people want to deal with the hassle of returning items to different locations around the store, or the embarrassment of handing the cashier several items that they’ve changed their minds about, especially when it comes to perishables like ice cream or meat.
  • Knowing your subtotal as you go along. Few people add up the cost of their groceries as they are shopping–there are simply too many other things to think about. As a result, it’s all too easy to spend more than you intended. When you can watch your subtotal online as you shop, it’s easy to stay within your budget.
  • Avoiding the possible stress that comes from leaving the comfort of your home. Whether grocery shopping is stressful, of course, depends on factors like traffic, time of day, familiarity with the store you’re shopping at, and your personality.

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