ask.spoonah


on paying someone else to buy your groceries
March 27, 2010, 7:55 am
Filed under: advice, financial | Tags: , , , , ,

Hello Ask Spoonah,

My question has to do with personal grocery shopping services. Our local grocery store is now offering this service, for either a $5 fee or free if you spend a certain amount. With crazy schedules and what feels like no time, this seems like a great deal. If you don’t meet the minimum though is it really worth spending the $5 to save the time?

Thought this might be something you might have thoughts about.

-curious in western mass

dear curious,

I often think about things like this. generally my answer comes down to when I am about to do something I could pay someone else to do (i.e. grocery shopping, laundry, etc.), I ask myself, “would I pay $5 to not have to do this right now?” if the answer is yes, well then, there you go.

these services are helpful for two groups of people: the busy, and the lazy. I guess for a third as well: the lazy busy people. I usually fall somewhere between the busy and the lazy busy. I also am generally way busier than most people, and at other times in my life I would not use services like this (because doing so would be simply assuaging my lazy self and I actually have time to do it). currently, however, I use them whenever possible. I have a friend do my laundry for me (it’s cheaper than doing it myself and it takes no time) and I like to do online grocery shopping/delivery (if only whole foods did this, I’d really be in trouble).

if you’re still not sure, I’d ask yourself this. figure out the total of your order, and figure out what percent of it $5 is. then ask yourself if you’d be willing to pay that percentage more for the same products. another way to think of it is think about what else you could do with $5. if that is going to make a difference for you in another area, then don’t spend it here. personally I’m at a point in my life where $5 is generally worth the convenience and time savings (I’m much more strapped for time than money), but there was definitely a point in my not-too-distant-past where $5 was enough money that I wouldn’t dream of spending it on something so frivolous. but that’s a question only you can answer. think about how much money your time is worth. personally, mine is usually worth the fee.

happy shopping!

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