Welcome to Small biz Mama. Episode 4: Thinking Outside the Box to Get Food to Feed Your Family.
On my personal Facebook profile, I have been sharing a whole bunch of different resources for how to get groceries without going out. Jeff and I have gotten pretty creative about where we're sourcing stuff from. I’ve actually had a couple of my friends that said, “Listen, could you do a podcast episode on how you're doing this?” So, I thought it'd be really useful right now.
We're on week five of this at this point? I think we're all week five of being home. We're really trying to limit our exposure by going out because we're trying to close the loop so that Erik can go see his mémère. We're trying to set it up so that she doesn't go out for two weeks, we don't go out for two weeks so that we can start seeing each other. That's what's closing the loop.
That means that we've got to find ways to get all of our groceries and all of our stuff delivered so we don't have to go out and interact with other people. We’re doing really, really good. Right now, I think we found reliable sourcing for pretty much everything that we need at this point, and so, I'm going to share with you a ton of different resources.
Most of them are national, some of them are almost national. You're going to have to check all these sources. Go to SmallBizMama.com and check out the show notes for episode four because I've got a whole bunch of links in there. They are affiliate links, so I do get something back. Typically, it's a credit that I can use at the store. But some of them, if you use my link, you'll get 25% off or you'll get $10 off your first order, so a bunch of these links actually have some incentives for you, if you use the links and then they also help us as well. Go to SmallBizMama.com, click on podcasts, and go to the show notes for episode four.
I'm going to talk about some of the big ones first that you've probably heard of before. Then we're going to talk about some of the more creative ones. Not all of these are cheap, but, I'm really trying to think outside the box. If you want to source certain things, this may be a way that you can get stuff that people aren't really thinking about.
Let's start with the big one. Most people have heard of Instacart before. Instacart is a service where you have access to a whole bunch of different stores, depending on your area. They will shop for you, and then deliver the groceries. Now, Instacart is really flooded right now. They're having some issues keeping their shoppers happy. There's so much demand. And so it's really tough to find spots. What I found with Instacart is to build up your cart and then be flexible. One thing I'm finding that Instacart is starting to do is, they're starting to offer longer windows. I just got a window for a warehouse club and they do Costco, BJs, most of the big grocery stores. so there's a lot of different places that Instacart will go for you. it depends on your area. Put in your zip code. I just got a delivery from one of the warehouse clubs. I booked a window, and it will come at some point within the next five days. I don't know when it's going to come, but it's not like we're going anywhere, right? Most of the stuff I order is the stuff that is supplementing other stuff, you need chicken nuggets for a toddler or the world's going to come to an end. It's stuff like that. but so so that will be coming.
Another service that's kind of similar to Instacart is called Shipt, and Shipt works with Target. So if you order anything from Target and it is on the same day delivery that's Shipt. Okay, I do have a link for Shipt, and you get a special incentive if you click on my link in the show notes at SmallBizMama.com. Shipt is the same day provider for Target. They also do CVS. They do Petco in our area. And so again, you put in your zip code and it tells you what stores are available. Again… it’s very difficult to find windows right now for that service.
The next one that we use on a pretty regular basis is Amazon Prime. Some people say that when Amazon bought Whole Foods, Whole Foods kind of became the central distribution center for a lot of Amazon Prime now. I’ve talked to a whole bunch of my friends and they say “No, no, no, that's not in my area,” and then I'll go put in their city, and it is there. So if you don't think that this is in your area, RECHECK, because it may be in your area now. Again, this is one of those that if you have Amazon Prime and you order more than $35, there's no delivery fee. You should tip. That's important, and I think a lot of people, you know, they look at me like, Oh, that's Whole Foods, you know, “whole paycheck” But since Amazon bought Whole Foods, the prices have gone down a lot, and I'm actually finding that that's one of the better places to get produce if you can get a delivery window. A friend of mine actually said that she checks, (fill up your cart, with all these you fill up, your cart) basically, at between quarter-of and the top of the hour, it seems to be when they release new windows. You want to make sure your cart is full, and then, you keep refreshing your window. I find it's good on your computer to do this. Just keep refreshing until hopefully, a window will pop up, and usually, I'll try for five minutes, and then go off and, if I'm on hold with somebody or I'm waiting for something, or I'm doing a lot of continuing education right now, about the new legislation coming out, I'll just sit there and refresh a little bit. And then I'll pay attention to what I'm doing, and then refresh a little bit. That's kind of the strategy.
Another service is Walmart. Walmart does drive up and delivery, I will tell you I had when this all first started. I had an order with Walmart and it was five days out to get my delivery, and then they canceled my delivery. I've also had an issue with Instacart as well, and it's funny because I booked another order with Instacart. and here's the thing… all of these services are getting pushed to the max. And so if you have a bad experience yes, it sucks. It totally sucks. Trust me, I'm fighting with Instacart over $70. I totally get it, but if this is something where you really don't want to go out or you don't want to have to go in the store, you have to rely on these services, and unfortunately, they're all strapped right now, and they're all having trouble.
The thing is just to stay on top of it. Make sure you check your orders. Be really vigilant.
Those were kind of the big ones, and then I'm going to talk about some alternative things that you might not know about.
One service that I really like is called Thrive Market. If you're looking for organic items, or all-natural items, Thrive Market is a great one. They do have an annual membership fee, but the prices are crazy low and they actually say that they keep track of how much you save. If you don't save at least the membership fee with the membership fees $5 a month, then they actually give you a credit to use in the next year. When you renew, they also have free memberships for various groups so if you're low-income, military or veteran. That's how we got our membership… Jeff is a veteran, and it's fantastic. It's a great service. They are currently saying that they're having some delays for delivery, but you can get not only dry goods from them, but also they've got meat that you can order and other things as well. So they have a pretty robust offering on that one.
One that I just signed up for, I haven't got my delivery yet, but I just signed up for another one called Imperfect Foods. They're ugly fruits and vegetables. Most people don't know this, but we have these standards in our country. For what a pepper needs to look like. If you've ever grown produce, you know that it's all kinds of funky shapes, and things aren't straight. You grow cucumbers and they’re curly, and they're curled over … those fruits and vegetables don't make the cut. We used to throw a lot of that stuff away. A company, like Imperfect Foods, they actually buy that produce at low cost, and they resell it. The thing that's really cool with them is that you can get organic produce incredibly inexpensively. The way the service works is, you buy, ut’s almost like a share. You say, “I'm looking for this much produce.” And then when the window opens for purchasing, which is, I think we were going to get ours on Tuesday, and the window opens on Thursday before and so they tell you what they're planning to put in your box. You can take things out. You can put other things in. They also have meat and dairy, they have snack foods, so that's, another really cool way to get groceries.
If you go to the show notes at SmallBizMama.com Imperfect Foods will give you $10 off your first order If you use my link for Thrive Market, Thrive Market will give you 25% off your first order.
So that's pretty cool, you know.
Butcher Box, Omaha Steaks, Honey Baked Ham
There are lots of other services. I've been kind of thinking about this… f you want meat, there's a whole bunch of services that have been out there for a while that we don't typically think of is everyday things. Things like Butcher Box, which is a meat service. Omaha Steaks. I'm sure you've seen their advertisements. Again, Omaha Steaks isn't cheap, but the intro boxes are pretty affordable. It will give you something to start with. Honey Baked Ham and they actually have turkey and all sorts of other things, it's not just ham.
Walden Local Meats
We actually found a local meat service, I actually love this.. one thing that this has really done for us is it's made us think about where do we get our food from? What kind of food are we eating? I found a service called Walden Local Meats and they're out of Massachusetts near Boston, and they service most of New England and New York. They come out once a month and they deliver. You buy a share, which is, you say, we're going to buy 10 to 11 pounds of meat, and you will be very specific about what you get. We say these are the things that we would eat, and then you guys pick. With the first order, we got country-style pork ribs and we never had that before. We'd always wanted to try them, but I would never buy them. It was fantastic. It was great. The chicken was really good. The ground beef was really good. I've got a couple of small roasts. You can get eggs, the eggs are fantastic. You can get butter, they do sausages. And it's all grass-fed beef. It's really high-quality chicken, and you can add additional things. They have specials that you can add to that. That's really, really good.
I like the fact that we're supporting local farmers. We're thinking about this and making sure that these farms survive. It’s great that we can do that. If you're not in the New England area, see if there are any local farmers that you could buy a share of a cow, or part of a pig or see if they'll put together other boxes for you? Those are the kinds of things that I think make it's a lot easier. You know that it's going to come and you know that you're going to be able to feed your family. Those are kind things that make me feel really good.
Meal Kit Services
There are all the meal kit services. It's funny because I saw one on a neighbor's doorstep when I was going for a walk, and I was like, I wouldn't even have thought of that. Blue Apron, Home Chef, Green Chef, Hello, Fresh, Gobble. Even NutriSystem, (and I would never eat Nutrisystem's food) but NutriSystem is starting to run commercials about feeding yourself and you just have to heat it up and it comes to your door. You don't have to worry about getting food. It's not about losing weight, it's about making sure you're fed. So I thought that I was kind of interesting. All those different meal services? I mean, it's great because you pick your meals, they send you the food. It is a little bit more expensive sometimes, but sometimes it's not, and if you're the kind of person that you want to try new things, you're tired of the same recipes all the time, you don't have to worry about “where am I gonna get my meat from, my produce from,” cause it all comes in one in one box, that might be something that might work for you.
The next one is really interesting. I got an email from 7-Eleven saying that they will deliver. So, think about some of your local convenience stores. Some of them are actually starting to deliver. Cumberland Farms, 7-Eleven, think about those things. They usually have really good milk prices. If you've got kids and you go through a lot of milk, and you're at the end of your rope, and you really need bread and milk and eggs, and don't know where to get it from, 7-Eleven might actually be an option for you. If you go to their website, you can sign up for their email list and see if they deliver in your area. Like I said, we're thinking outside the box here, folks.
Target Drive-Up Service
We've been using this a little bit lately, too. If you're willing to do drive up, Target's drive-up service is actually really good. The reason that specifically listed this one is because the availability is fantastic. Typically, you can do a drive up order and it'll be ready in 2 to 4 hours. So, if you're not having luck getting a traditional delivery slot or WalMart is packed, then try Target. Now, I don't know if it was my Target or if it's all Targets, but, you cannot do anything that's perishable. So no frozen, no bread, no milk, no eggs. But if you need chips and flour and tomato sauce and spaghetti, that stuff they will do. It's super quick, and you can save 5% with your Red Card. I also found too that if you put together an order that's at least $25 they will deliver non-perishable food as well. So, that might be an option for you if you have a little bit longer timetable, and you just want to make sure it comes. That's an option as well.
Community Supported Agriculture
The next couple of these are local ideas. You're gonna have to have to do a little bit of digging in your area. We just signed up for a CSA, which is Community Supported Agriculture. There's a little bit of risks to this. Essentially what you're doing is you're pre-buying a share of the crop from the farm. The one that we signed up for is really cool because they've got fruit and vegetables. Basically, you're getting an entire summer's worth of produce. For ours, it was a good chunk of money to come up with at one time, but it works out to be $36 a week. What they'll do is, they'll pack everything up for you, and then they'll put your box in your car. So I thought that was really neat, and a good option. Again, this is really making me think… where's my food coming from?
Local Dairy Farms
We also found a local dairy farm that delivers. It's funny because I've seen a lot of people talk about going back to the milk man with the glass bottles of milk. This farm does that. They bring your milk in glass bottles once a week. They do yogurt, they do, flavored milks, they do regular milk, they do half and half. They have lots of other products that they offer. I like the idea of this it just blows my mind. We're actually on the waiting list right now.
Local Grocery Stores
Another thing to look at is your local grocery stores. Kroger has its own program for grocery pick up, but even some of your smaller IGA grocery stores offer this.
I think the problem with a lot of these services is that they rely on you to go online, and create in order. One of our local grocery stores, they actually are allowing you to call up and put in an order. Because of that, they're slammed. They're super busy. But, I think a lot of this, even when this is over, is really good to know that all of these things exist. If you've got elderly parents, if you've got somebody who's sick and you want to send them some food, you know you can use these services to do that. So, I just think it's a really cool idea. Your local grocery stores may have other options.
Chamber of Commerce
The last thing is – connect with your local chamber of commerce. Make sure you're on the email list. Make sure they have a Facebook page, that you're connected to that and also your local Facebook groups, because there are, at least in our area, and I'm sure that this is everywhere, there are a lot of restaurants that are doing family meals that they will deliver or that you can do curbside pickup, where for like for 20 bucks or 25 bucks, you're getting a full meal. And the people that are ordering them are saying that like it is more food than your family can possibly eat at a meal. Some of these families have 2 to 3 days worth of food. They have a tray of food. Sometimes they're doing salad and bread. A lot of the Italian restaurants up here are doing stuff like that, and it's awesome.
I've also heard of restaurants that, because they can order things, they're actually ordering supplies and putting together food boxes. You can actually buy a food box from a restaurant, which, if you're a restaurant that's a really cool thing to do, since you have access to all this stuff and it's got like, eggs, and it might have some produce, some milk, some butter, but things that people need that might be really hard to get at the grocery store. It's a standard box. This is the box. This is what you get. You can't choose This is it. It's really interesting how creative businesses are getting. So, if you have access to that type of supply chain, then it's pretty awesome to be able to do something like that and help people out, especially for seniors that call you up and say, yeah, bring me a box. You know, when they know that they're going to have some eggs and some produce and milk and things that they need. It's awesome.
So those are the sources that I have. Just be creative. Think outside the box. What stores will deliver food that maybe I'm not thinking about? I've seen some specialty stores do it.
I've seen some restaurants that are doing it, so really, think outside the box.
Think, “What can I do? Where can I get food?” Do a lot of Googling. That's how I put this list together is lots and lots of Googling. I can't tell you how much peace of mind I have knowing that we have all of these sources to get food from. So hopefully this helps you, and hopefully helps with stress levels a little bit.
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All right, Mama's I'll see you soon.
Thank you for listening to Small Biz Mama with Kristin Ingram.
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