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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Moms: How I got 3 Hours of My Life Back Each Week

This is NOT an advertisement. This is my real-life experience that I want to share with fellow moms. 

Feeding my brood is a never-ending chore. Combing through the grocery store to stock nutritious, reasonably priced ingredients for 3 meals and several snacks a day takes a lot of time and energy - both of which are scarce these days. 

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I used to like grocery shopping, I'd linger in the wine aisle and peruse the cheese options - but now that I have kids it feels more like I'm competing on supermarket sweep. The inevitable 3 ring circus that ensues as I try to navigate the aisles with my three kids in tow is exhausting and SO stressful. I know I'm not alone, I see all you other mamas cajoling away toddler meltdowns with a cookie as you try to Jenga your groceries around your infant's carseat. You're my fellow soldiers in the grocery store trials - but I'm here to tell you there's a better, easier way - a way that allowed me to regain almost three hours a week of my life. 

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Nearly a year ago I joined Harris Teeter's Express Lane, their online shopping program. The first time I tried it I used their first shop free option, any new shopper can register and have their first $4.95 fee waived, which allows you to explore the service and see if it works for you. I've seen their website and iPhone app improve SO much over the last year, my shopping experience has continuously gotten easier and more intuitive. PLUS I can shop in my PJ's while I'm watching TV or if I just need a few quick items I can use my app while I'm on my lunch break. 

I was nervous that whomever was shopping my order wouldn't pick out the best produce or meats, but I've been consistently impressed by their produce prowess and meat magic - and if I'm not happy Harris Teeter will make it right. I've literally felt giddy over the time I save, and stress I avoid by using their service. I paid $99.95 to join for the whole year, which is about $8.33 per month, a steal for the service in my opinion. 

Using it is easy. I was already a e-vic member and registered online linking my card to my account. To start shopping you'll select the store you want to pick your groceries up at, you can add a note to any item you are searching for and you can also add a note for your home shopper if there is something you weren't able to find. I haven't had issues with not being able to find what I'm looking for. You can shop their weekly ad, shop by category, or type in the item you are looking for. When you're done shopping you review your cart and select your pick up date and time. 

TIP: If you want to pick up the same day you'll usually need to order by noon, and if you know you'll need specific things later in the week you can schedule your order in advance for pick up in the future. Plus before your order is complete a member of the home shop team will call and ask you if there is anything else you need and give you any other relevant info about your order. 

Not only has the Harris Teeter Express Lane saved me the time I once spent physically shopping in the grocery store, it also allows me to meal plan more seamlessly. I hop on Pinterest and decide which recipes we're going to try out, I check to see what I have in my kitchen and add anything I'm missing to my cart on the Express Lane. 

I also save money, because you can use coupons with Harris Teeter's Express Lane. After I've got my cart filled with what I need I go to and search for each item to see if there is a coupon available in my paper or on a printable format. Harris Teeter doubles coupons up to $.99 every day and up to $2 during their super doubles promotions. I just got a bunch of free things using my mad (EASY) couponing skills during their super doubles event. The amount you save in coupons is applied to your next order, so you do need to keep track of this. 

So that's how I went from a stressed out shopping mess, to a wine-sipping-while-shopping-pajama-wearing-ninja.  To pick up my groceries I simply pull up in my car (no hauling car seats, strollers, kids inside) to the designated home shop area, press the button and an employee brings my groceries out, checks me out and loads the bags in my car for me. Lickety split. That is how you ninja. 

Harris Teeter has paid me nothing to promote this service, I just like to share what I love with my readers. But who knows, maybe they'll see how much I love their service and co-promote a giveaway with me for my readers for a year of free Express Lane shopping? A ninja can dream right?