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The other week I sent out an email (not on my mailing list? you can join here) about how I regularly buy meat in bulk off the back of a truck. If you got that email you were probably all, “Why are you sending this to me, Ronni? Like I care what weird ways you buy your food??” And ok, so maybe you don’t care. But, you wanna know something even weirder than buying meat off a truck? I almost never go grocery shopping anymore.

I pretty much never go grocery shopping anymore. For real. I buy all my food online. And I LOVE not having to drag my three kids into the store! Here's how I do it.

Really. But we still manage to eat.

For the past year or so (since I wrote this post) I’ve been experimenting and researching different ways to get healthy groceries for a decent price — and even better delivered straight to me(!!) so I don’t have to drag my three small kids out of the house and down grocery store aisles. Gah. Even just the thought of that exhausts me. Three kids is no joke y’all

Here’s how I never go grocery shopping anymore:

First, I buy in bulk almost anytime I can. Why? Because
a) it gives me one less thing to think about and
b) I’m way less overwhelmed in life when I have fewer things, including fewer ingredients. Plus this means I get to be more versatile. 

Second, having an extra freezer is key. Sure, you can use just the small one attached to your fridge, but TRUST ME, investing in a small chest freezer (we got ours cheap off craigslist) is a good idea. You’ll love it. And if you want to buy meat in bulk off the back of a truck like me :), you’re gonna need a separate freezer. You should get one. 

Third, I’m this crazy think-too-much-about-every-single-thing-in-my-life kind of person. (Don’t believe me? You should see all of these posts.) Standing in the grocery store aisle – let alone while juggling any accompanying small children {shudder} – long enough to feel as though I’ve adequately compared products and feel confident in purchasing takes me FOR. EV. ER. I should maybe stop being an overthinker. But nah, I’m not going to. I like thinking

Fourth, when I can get myself organized, I prep a bunch of freezer meals. Whoever invented the idea of freezer meals, especially once-a-month-meals, is awesome. I don’t always do the whole spend-an-entire-day-prepping-30-meals type of thing – I’m more of a put-together-a-bunch-of-stuff-as-I-have-the-time-over-the-course-of-a-couple-days. But whatever, both ways work. And if you haven’t, you need to check out Once A Month Meals

Since I never go grocery shopping anymore, here’s how I do get my food:

 

Azure Standard

What I Buy: Frozen Fruit and Vegetables (bulk), Fresh Eggs (bulk), Baking/Pantry Items (bulk), Other specialty natural food items 

[updated 6/27/18] I really like the idea of Azure and the two times I bought from them over a year ago were pretty good. But then I noticed that they started going out of stock on a ton of items and I was a bit disillusioned. HOWEVER, over the past several months, they’ve turned back around and started re-stocking everything. I picked up my first order in over a year last month, and now that Zaycon is closing, I’m pretty sure that Azure is is going to pick up the pieces of my broken heart. 🙂

My first Azure order.

Like Zaycon, with Azure, you place your order online and then on a specific date/time, you meet the truck and pick up your order. I really like that you can get frozen foods (like frozen fruits/veggies) in bulk, as well as fresh produce. Azure, by far, has the most extensive catalog of all the companies presented here (other than maybe Amazon, but even still, Azure carries many products that Amazon doesn’t).

 

 

 

Nuts.com

What I Buy: Nuts/Nut Mixes (bulk/non-bulk), Dried Fruit (bulk/non-bulk), Coffee (bulk/non-bulk), Baking/Pantry Items (bulk/non-bulk)

This is my newest find of online grocery suppliers and currently my new fave. It’s way more than just nuts! Almost all their products can be ordered in bulk sizing, and I like how everything comes in simple, Nuts.com packaging. So far, I’ve purchased dried fruits, seasoned nut mixes, ground coffee, powered baking mixes, steel cut oats and several other healthier snacks. Nuts.com also has lots of gluten free items as well as specialty baking items I’ve never heard of. I have a feeling I’m going to be ordering from Nuts.com a lot in the future. 

 

Thrive Marketplace

What I Buy: Diapers! (bulk), Ghee (non-bulk), Honey (non-bulk), Coconut Oil (non-bulk)Essential Oils (non-bulk)Baking/Pantry Items (non-bulk)

When I’m looking for a natural or sustainable item and I can’t find it on Amazon, then my go-to is Thrive Marketplace. Well, Thrive or Grove Collaborative, see below. But lately, it’s usually been Thrive. 

Ok, ok, confession: A couple years ago, I bought one of the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundles, and there was some book in there about sustainable living that really opened up my eyes to how much waste we produce! I had never really thought about it before — I’d fallen for the whole ‘out of sight, out of mind’ thing — but it really started bothering me and I now try to be more aware of the environmental impact I leave.

Thrive Market sells your favorite organic and non-gmo brands for up to 50% off retail.I know, I know, you just think I’m a California hippy now. Whatever. 🙂 

Anyway. That brings me to Thrive Marketplace. They only sell products that are eco-friendly, or healthy, or organic, or gluten-free, or yada yada, but either way, I feel good about the purchases I make from Thrive. Thrive works as a kind of mix of Costco meets Whole Foods. You do have to pay a yearly membership fee, but then you get all the products discounted. Bonus, if you’re a low-income family, military family, or teacher, you can apply to get a free Thrive membership!

Thrive also has a monthly auto-ship option, kind of Amazon Subscribe and Save, but I’ve only ever placed normal, sporadic orders. You get free shipping when you spend $49 too. My current favorite Thrive Marketplace item is their store-brand diapers. The reviews on their site seem to be mixed, for for me, I LOVE them! I cloth diapered my daughter the whole way through, but switched to disposables after a few months with my son. And every time I changed his diaper I thought about the 500 years it would take for that diaper to disintegrate in the landfill and it kind of sickened me. So when we switched from cloth to disposables with my 3rd kid, I really wanted to try to find something that was a bit more environmentally friendly…but not too crazy expensive either. These Thrive Marketplace diapers are perfect and a decent price too. 

PROMO CODE: Use THIS LINK to get 20% off your first 3 orders! (or, if you’re a returning Thrive Market member, try this promo code for 20% off: MLR18A20P. It worked for me on 3/23/18)

Grove Collaborative

What I Buy: Cleaning Supplies (non-bulk), Toiletries (non-bulk)

I’ve blogged about Grove Collaborative before, and compared them to Amazon Subscribe and Save. Grove membership deals also tend to pop up in the Homemaking and Healthy Living Ultimate Bundle deals.

If you’re thinking about switching to natural cleaning supplies or personal care items — Grove Collaborative might be a good fit for you. I joined due to one of the Ultimate Bundle deals, and continue to order from them sporadically. Grove is set up as a monthly subscription service, so you have to go in each month or so and change up your preferences…but I typically skip all shipments until I’m actually ready to order something.

You don’t have to sign up to become a VIP member, but if you can get a free trial membership (like through the Ultimate Bundles), I think it can be worth it. The best part of the VIP program is that you get 5-6 FULL SIZE sample products every year. I’ve been able to try out some really cool products this way that I ended up continuing to buy. 

Yes, you can find some of the same products at Grove Collaborative that you can at Thrive Market and Amazon as well, but if you’re specifically looking for cleaning supplies or personal care items, Grove carries the better selection, imho. 

 

Amazon

What I Buy: Toiletries (bulk), Household Items (non-bulk), Cleaning Supplies (bulk/non-bulk), Baking/Pantry Items (bulk/non-bulk)

I can’t leave out Amazon of course. : )

Yes, Amazon has like a million different service options. There’s Amazon Pantry, where you order enough non-perishable groceries to fill a box and then the box ships to you free. And there’s Amazon Fresh, where in selected locations you can order groceries from your local grocery stores and Amazon will deliver it to your doorstep. But neither Pantry nor Fresh have ever been good fits for me.

But Amazon’s Subscribe and Save option is perfect for me. I’ve been using the service for years. I love that I can order a lot of stuff in bulk, and then set it to the frequency that I need it. The biggest con to Subscribe and Save is that I have to be on top of it and check my subscriptions every month (I often check my delivery schedule several times a month, tbh) – otherwise I’ll be sent and have to pay for things I might not need that month. But I’ve gotten into the habit and the service works well for me. 

 

ClickList

What I Buy: Normal Groceries

While the above list keeps me out of the grocery store like ninety percent of the time, I admit that there are still occasions or items that I can’t find at any of the above for a price I’d like. So for those things, I do a weeklyish ClickList order through my local Ralphs (part of the Kroger network). 

It’s the best. For real. It changed my life when I discovered it. 🙂 

I go online to their website, choose what groceries I want, pay and choose a pickup time, and then go and pick it up when I’m supposed to. And I don’t even have to get out of my car when I get there! I drive up to the designated ClickList spots, call the designated number, and then someone comes and loads my groceries into my car. And then I drive away. 

My baby can nap. My kids can continue eating their snacks. Everyone stays buckled. It’s beautiful. I will never go grocery shopping the old-fashioned way again!

What’s also nice is that while placing your order, you can note if you’ll accept a substitution or not if the item you want is out of stock. You can also add notes like “no green bananas”, etc. If you have this option in your area, you should totally look into it!

I hope this post has been helpful for you and I hope that soon you won’t ever have to go grocery shopping either! 🙂

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