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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Time is Money

Whether its cutting coupons or physically going shopping, our time can be eaten up in a heartbeat. We cut coupons to save money; we go to the store so we can use those coupons. When is it no longer worth it financially?

If you are familiar with the term opportunity cost, its the "cost of an alternative that must be forgone in order to pursue another action". In other words, when it comes to shopping, its time that we are giving up to cut all those coupons and then physically go to the store (possibly with little ones in tow), pick out our goods, wait in line, pay, carry everything out to the car, and finally bring it in the house. So what is that time worth to you?

I am extremely fond of online shopping, particularly when it comes to purchasing the necessities for day to day living (i.e. toilet paper, diapers, food staples). Many times I am able to get free (and fast) shipping and I will always do a quick Internet search of that store's promo codes as well (which many times will include a free shipping code). Most of the time you are unable to use physical coupons when doing online shopping (a few that will let you send them in- see below); however, most of the sites I reviewed offer e-coupons and special online-only deals that will compensate for your inability to use your Sunday paper clippings.

A few of my favorites:

Diapers.com
What to buy? Diapers, wipes, baby food
Good prices, e-coupons, SUPER fast shipping (there have been several times I placed an order one day and it was at my house by 11AM the next day), free shipping for purchases $50 and over, accept manufacturers coupons

Soap.com
What to buy? Laundry Detergent, shampoo, personal care products, toilet paper, paper towels
Good prices, e-coupons, SUPER fast shipping, free shipping for purchases $40 and over

Diapers.com and Soap.com (the ones I have tried) are part of one parent site that has a total of 5 sister sites. The other 3 are: wag.com (pet supplies); yoyo.com (toys); and casa.com (things for the home- furniture, organizers etc. )You can order across all the sites and combine them into one cart. If you order across more than one site your minimum for free shipping is $40. ALL the sites accept manufacturer's coupons.

Safeway.com (check out grocery store delivery in your area)
What to buy? Food staples, bulk items, meats, frozen food, anything but produce (usually everything comes overly ripe, and then proceeds to spoil very quickly; however, you can specify to your personal shopper that you want 'green bananas' or 'firm tomatoes' if you choose). One negative is that they are frequently out of at least something I order, and you don't find out until they are delivered.
Good sale prices, online only deals, use your Safeway club card, select your own delivery window, free shipping offers (otherwise shipping charges vary, $3.95-12.95, with the time window you select); does not accept manufacturer coupons unless they are digital and can be uploaded onto your Safeway Club Card.

CVS.com
What to buy? Personal Care, snacks, vitamins, OTC drugs, prescriptions, CVS brand items
Good sale prices, online sales, free shipping $50+ otherwise $5.49-12.95(expedited). Especially nice if you get the 20-25% off coupons in the mail. Do not accept manufacturer coupons for online orders. Check here for weekly CVS online deals.

Wine.com
What to buy? Wine.Especially if it's a staple in your house!
Decent prices, find wine that you can't in your local store, shipping varies by location and order.
*Affiliate site wineshopper.com does the whole Groupon thing- wine style- if you are willing to submit your email.

Amazon.com
I don't have to say much about Amazon- because I think most of us know that you can order just about anything from the variety guru. However, I try to make sure it is fulfilled by Amazon as opposed to another business just using the site as a marketing tool. This way, you can utilize the free shipping on your purchase over $25 (assuming they are qualified items) and take advantage of Amazon's mammoth customer service if you need to.

Click.  Buy. Delivered. Done.