**Friday Favorites**

Today’s Friday Favorite may not be the most exciting or “fun”, but I promise it will probably be one of the most useful!

I discovered the Harris Teeter Express Lane courtesy of a friend probably 5+ years ago, and have been using it on and off ever since.

The premise is simple … you go to the Harris Teeter website to select your groceries online (everything from frozen foods, to deli items to fresh produce), then you select your pick up date and time. When your day and time arrives, pull up at the designated lane in front of the store, press the button on the call box, give the name that your order is under and someone will come out, load the groceries into your car, and you pay right there with a little device that they have. Easy peasy!

Aside from the obvious … never having to get out of my car … one of the other features I love about this service is that the website tracks your orders and other shopping trips (including the ones you make inside the store) as long as you scanned your loyalty card. This makes preparing my order super easy as we tend to buy a lot of the same things so most of them are right there for me to select, or I can save them to my “favorites” list and pick from there.

The cost for the service is $4.95 per trip or less … they have subscriptions plans than end up being less per trip. I usually just renew each year ($95 for the year), and then I can use it whenever and however often I like. I’ve also found that the service ends up saving me money … I’m not walking through the store and grabbing lots of impulse purchases or shopping with my kids who want to buy everything they see. Oh how I wish this service was around when my boys were tiny and I had the baby carrier in the shopping cart and would have to squeeze the groceries around him since there was a kid or two riding in the front!

One caveat that about the service that my husband doesn’t love … he doesn’t think they pick the best produce. I’ll say that he is especially selective about his produce, but sometimes I have noticed that they pick something that seems a little over ripe. You can note on your shopping list special things like that you want slightly green bananas, or avocados that aren’t ripe yet, etc. I’ve also had several occasions where I’ve gotten home and realized that they forgot to give me one of my bags. Each time that has happened they have either had someone drive out to my house to deliver it to me (along with a gift card for my trouble) or credited my account.

One of my favorite ways to use this service is when we are coming back from a trip, I can pre-order (you can schedule up to a week in advance) and have my house sitter pick up my groceries, or when we had a regular nanny she would pick up our groceries each week for us.

I’ve found that not every Harris Teeter offers this service, so you’ll need to check the website to see if the stores nearest you offers this. I’ve also noticed that some other stores like WalMart have started offering something similar. Of course, it goes without saying that there are a number of grocery delivery services these days … however I live in a rural area where even Amazon Fresh is limited so for me this is the next best thing!

What is your favorite way to save time grocery shopping? (The photo here is from my Instagram earlier this week when I pulled into my garage after picking up my order at my local store.)

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