- Personal Finance
Go Green. Grocery Shop Online
Living without a car sounds great in theory. You can have total freedom from car payments, maintenance costs and parking tickets.
Theory takes a more practical turn the first time you're stuck in the rain, bogged down with grocery bags or facing a 20 mile trek across town.
Cutting down on car-time is like cutting down on carbs. There are two reigning principles--
- Everything in moderation
- To each his (or her) own
You might be cutting back on car usage to save money on gas, get more exercise through walking or biking, or just trying to make a little bit greener and shave a few mils off your carbon footprint. If these are your goals, then here are a few easy ways to grocery shop without a car, a bike or a bus pass.
If you're just looking to make grocery shopping easier, less stressful or more cost effective, then keep reading, too. These tips'll make your life easier, healthier and cheaper by saving you time and money during your next trip to a nearby grocery store.
Tip #1- Distinguish Fresh Foods from Everything Else
When we think of grocery shopping, we tend to include EVERYTHING that comes from the grocery store. That's fruits & vegetables, meats, dairy, grains, boxed cereals, baking mixes, fresh breads, cat food, dog food, bird food, water... everything that makes its way from the grocery store shelves into our kitchens and pantries.
When we take a closer look at this list, there's no real reason to buy most of these items at a local grocery. When you're dealing with fresh fruits and vegetables, fresher is always better. But for shelf-stable dry goods or canned goods, freshness isn't a factor.
You can drive to the store and load them into your car, or you can order them online and have them delivered to your doorstep. Po-tay-to, Po-tah-to, it's all the same for dinner!
The first thing to do is divide your grocery list into two parts:
- Fresh foods you need to buy locally
- Shelf-stable foods you can get from anywhere
Now that you're dealing with two lists instead of one, grocery shopping just got a lot easier.
Tip #2 - Order Shelf-Stable Groceries Online
Nowadays you can order almost anything online. The world is your oyster even if you never leave your bed!
You'd be amazed at the variety of foods you can order through Amazon or other online retailers. The best parts about ordering through Amazon (besides the ad revenue for my hub) are the variety of goods from thousands of different retailers and Amazon's quality-control measures.
You can try lots of different products that would never be available at your local grocery store,
and you can have complete confidence that you won't receive expired products or "seconds" that were rejected from traditional stores.
So what exactly can you order through Amazon? Pretty much everything...
- Spices? Check!
- Hamburger Helper? Check!
- Rice, Beans, Pasta? Check!
- Canned soups? Check!
- Sauces and condiments? Check!
- Pet food? Check!
Don't get me wrong, I'm all about minimalist living and growing your food instead of buying it. If you don't believe it, check out my hubs on Dandelion Salads, Growing MicroGreens, and The Best Garden Plants for Maximizing Household Savings, and Living Without a Car.
But getting your groceries delivered is just as green as schlepping to the grocery store with a bike trailer (in the rain and uphill both ways). It also opens up access to a wide variety of healthy, affordable products that make a greener more frugal lifestyle a cheer instead of a chore.
Tip #3 - Shop Safer and Smarter
There are lots of solutions for carrying lots of groceries. If you're burdened by bags, you can pick up a bike trailer, invest in a , or suffer in silence while bombarded with sympathy from everyone who sees you. grocery shopping cart
If you have just a few bags, trailers and carts might seem like a waste of time, and no one really cares about the plastic bags cutting grooves into your fingers.
In most cases, the pain is temporary. You can grit your teeth and bear the loss of circulation for a few blocks. Before you give up completely, you've dropped your bags on the kitchen floor and vowed to drive to the store next time.
Grocery carrying straps are inexpensive (less than a single cab fare), and make carrying groceries much easier.
- Instead of gripping plastic stretched garroting-wire thin, your fingers wrap around comfortable padded straps.
- Instead of stacking bags up your wrists and forearms, you can attach each to a special hook and create a balanced load to make carrying easier.
- Instead of missing a handle and spilling groceries everywhere, you can set your bags down, take a break, and know that when you grab the single cushioned handle, ALL your bags will be ready to carry.
If you order your dry goods online (Tip #2), you won't have very many groceries to carry anyway...