“What we need from the supermarket” can sometimes feel like a moving target.
Pick up the bread, chicken and milk, and return home only to discover that you’re also out of tomatoes and low on paper towels.
Back out to the store for those the next day, only to head back (again) for yogurt and orange juice.
Fortunately for those shoppers who feel like the supermarket is their second home, there are even more companies offering in-home grocery delivery these days.
Wal-Mart, Amazon and Google have all been testing the waters in some markets, with plans to expand.
The downside of grocery delivery, though, is that you’re likely paying for the convenience in the form of higher prices and/or delivery fees.
Here’s how to make sure you’re getting the best prices:
This is the same strategy as when you’re shopping at the store, but easier.
Most stores offer the same sales and loyalty club deals online, and you can easily search for particular products to easily compare prices.
Wal-Mart and Schwan’s, among other stores, automatically charge you the lowest price if there’s a shift between when you order and when you it’s delivered.
Some services, including those from Peapod and ShopRite, accept manufacturer coupons clipped from the Sunday paper and other sources.
Others, such as FreshDirect, offer their own coupons to virtually clip.
Think outside the grocery cart.
Nontraditional sources can also have good grocery deals, particularly on nonperishables.
Soap.com, for example, is known for selling household products but also sells packaged goods including bottled water, granola and peanut butter.
Two-day shipping is free on orders of $49 or more.
Watch the shipping threshold.
Costs vary by order size and where you live in the store or site’s delivery zone.
At Peapod, for example, orders of under $100 ship for $6.95, while those over $100 are $9.95.
There’s also a fuel surcharge of $0.54 or more, depending on gas prices.
Aim for discount delivery windows.
Safeway and Peapod both are among the services that offer discounts for picking less popular delivery windows.
Look for codes.
At Soap.com, code YESTOSOAP gets first-time customers 20% off and free shipping at $25.
Schwan’s offers code YES for first-timers to save $10 on an order of $50 or more.
Do a Google search for the store name and “code” or “coupon” to see what pops up.
Some services offer paid “memberships” for free delivery.
FreshDirect charges $119 per year and Amazon, up to $299.
Depending on how often you order and might pay for delivery otherwise, that might (or might not) work out in your favor.
Frugal Foodie is a journalist based in New York City who spends her days writing about personal finance and obsessing about what she’ll have for dinner. Chat with her on Twitter through @MintFoodie.