Thursday, June 28, 2012

I Thought This Might Be Useful..

Well, it's still technically June, which means it's still kinda sorta the season for useless advice about roads less traveled, regretting the paths you didn't take more than the ones you did (would that one withstand a Logic 101 midterm?  Think about it..), and yearbook captions about futures SO bright that protective eyewear is required.

Never relenting from my quest to steer things back to the useful and practical, here is something I recommend: try buying your groceries online. 

Let me guess a few things about you:  You're busy.  You might even be so busy that you answer in duplicate or triplicate when asked how you're doing:  busy-busy, or perhaps busy-busy-busy.  As a variant on those, you may opt for the word smash-up of "crazybusy."  Because I would define someone as "busy" if their to-do wish list exceeds the time in the day available to check all the blocks, I'd say that's just about everyone, save for the very young and the very old.

But okay, back to the advice -- not only are you busy, but when you finally have time away from the things that are keeping you busy, you'd prefer it be your own.  Because you don't think of "going to the supermarket" as one of those activities that piques your interest, you avoid it.  If your spouse or partner also avoids it, and if you have young ones to complicate said efforts (or at least to provide the excuse), maybe you don't make it into the supermarket as much as you think you *should.*

Enter online grocery shopping.  I'm not shilling for any one website or brand, so I won't even mention any of them.  You can get all the basic stuff you need with a few mouse clicks, you can schedule a delivery window right to the house, and a pretty darn simple process can leave you with a homey fridge full o'delectables.

Yes, it's somewhat more expensive, but only sort of.  You're avoiding impulse buys on-line, you can scout the *store* out for sale items, and you can use manufacturer coupons from the Sunday paper, or even ones you find online.  Those are all major cost mitigators, but perhaps the biggest of all is the fact that you may be breaking a terrible habit of just saying "screw it" and ordering take-out night after night.  If you've done that enough times, always vowing that you would eventually find more time for Market Basket or Hannaford's, but didn't really do it, you'd be living up to Einstein's definition of insanity.

So yes, a straight-up cost comparison might point one way, but a holistic approach that considered the real alternative would give you totally new numbers.  On top of that, you haven't burned up any gas (let's say the tip to the driver more than negates that, though)...but the real savings comes from the fact that you haven't surrendered the opportunity cost of doing something you view as a chore.

If you think time really is money, and you value your personal weekend freedom, as well as not having to play parking lot bumper cars at Market Basket (note to all drivers everywhere: I just want to park, I don't care where, and I really don't give a rip about the spot that's 25 feet away from the store as opposed to 35's all yours!), and then make that annoying left turn back onto Broadway, then online grocery delivery may be the biggest bargain there is going.  

Oh, and here's something else useful that I heard recently:  photocopy, or at least write down, the inventory of whatever you carry in your wallet.  If you lose it, or it gets stolen, you'll have a way easier time doing damage control that way -- you'll know precisely what's gone, you'll have the numbers handy, and you can nip the identity theft risk in the bud.

Oh, and don't smoke in bed, no forks in the toaster, and no funny faces if you're near a speed bump. 


C R Krieger said...

Funny faces near a speed bump?

Regards  —  Cliff

The New Englander said...


The fear here is that if you hit that speed bump at the wrong angle or speed, any kind of facial contortion could become *stuck* in that manner permanently.

Kind of like pop rocks before soda, it's a chance I would prefer not to take.