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Everyone has that one chore at the top of their hate list.
For some, it’s scrubbing toilets. For others, it’s folding laundry. And for many, grocery shopping is the most dreaded chore of all.
Browsing through the aisles, searching for the best deal, forcing polite conversation with people you haven’t spoken to in years — who has time for all of that? Fortunately, that’s where grocery delivery services come in.
A grocery delivery service sends a real person to do three things for you: shop, stand in line, and deliver. As a result, you get more time back to spend with your family, make more money, or whatever you want.
The Top 3 Grocery Delivery Services Compared
The following three grocery delivery services are some of the most popular available. Not every service delivers in all corners of the US, so be sure to check and see which ones are available in your area.
|Price||$99/year or $9.99/month (single delivery option available)||$14.99/month||$99/year or $14/month|
|Minimum Delivery Amount||$10 (or $35 for free delivery with an Express Plan)||$40 (orders less than come with a $9.99 delivery fee)||$35 (orders less than come with a $7 delivery fee)|
|The Upside||Monthly and annual options. Deliver from a wide variety of stores.||Free unlimited daily deliveries||Prices and fees are updated on the app in real time|
|The Downside||Additional fee for alcohol delivery||Need an Amazon Prime account to sign up||Additional service fees added to individual items|
|Deal||$10 bonus + $14 of free delivery with Express||30-Day Free Trial for Amazon Prime Members||Sign up for Shipt|
How it Works
To get started, sign up for Instacart to get a $10 first-time customer bonus. You can take advantage of Instacart’s 14 days of free delivery by choosing their Express plan. Just cancel the plan by the end of your 14-day trial to avoid paying the recurring monthly fee.
Next, do your online grocery shopping directly on Instacart’s user-friendly platform. As you shop, you’ll need to select substitutes for each item in case it’s not available. You can also cancel the item if no substitutes exist. Instacart texts you confirmation along the way and even connects you with your shopper in case they have a question.
Finally, you can check out online and select a delivery time. From there, your order will be processed and delivered to your front door.
Instacart is available in most major cities and some smaller ones. Check your ZIP Code to see if Instacart delivers in your area.
What it Costs
There are a few different fee structures depending on whether you sign up for Instacart’s Express service or simply pay the delivery fee per shop. An Instacart Express membership costs $99 per year or $9.99 per month if paid monthly. To take advantage of the free delivery benefits on the membership plan, you’ll need to order a minimum of $35 worth of groceries each time.
If you prefer to pay for each delivery separately, you’ll pay a delivery fee of $3.99 plus a service charge of $2 or 5%, whichever is greater, and an optional tip. For a $100 grocery order, that would be a $3.99 delivery fee and a $5 service fee (5%), adding up to $8.99 before tip.
A $35 order comes with a $3.99 delivery fee plus a $2 service charge, which puts you at $5.99 before tip. That’s about 17% of your order total compared to 9% with a $100 delivery. Based on those numbers, the larger your order, the better the deal.
2. Amazon Fresh
How it Works
Amazon Fresh connects local, paid shoppers vetted into the program with consumers like you to deliver your groceries. On top of that, you get to shop online with Amazon’s familiar and user-friendly platform to receive fresh produce, meats, and more.
Ordering on Amazon Fresh is simple. Visit their fresh produce storefront, peruse the items, and add what you need to your cart. Every food item included in the program displays the “fresh” tag, so you know you’re getting fresh food.
Upon finishing your shopping, select a delivery time and date, and pay for your order. There are two delivery options: a one-hour “Attended Delivery” and a three-hour “Doorstep Delivery.” You will need to be present to receive the one-hour delivery, but not for the three-hour delivery.
Right now, Amazon Fresh is available in select cities. The only way to know if your area is eligible is to enter your ZIP Code on the Amazon Fresh website.
What it Costs
Amazon Fresh is only available for current Amazon Prime members. With a free Prime membership, you can get the Fresh add-on for an additional $14.99 per month. Unfortunately, if you’re not already an Amazon Prime member, you won’t be able to participate in Amazon Fresh without first upgrading your account.
If you already use Amazon Prime, then the additional monthly cost of $14.99 for unlimited grocery delivery might sound enticing. Just be sure to order at least $40 minimum each time. Otherwise, you’ll pay a $9.99 delivery fee on top of your order.
How it Works
Sign up for Shipt with your email and ZIP Code. Then, fill your virtual cart with the groceries you need. With Shipt, you can easily watch your grocery budget since the prices update in real time as you shop.
Once you’ve completed your online shopping trip, check out and select your delivery date and time. Same-day delivery is available based on a first come, first serve basis.
Shipt operates in 46 U.S. states with delivery to more than 5,000 cities. Again, you’ll need to check your ZIP Code to be sure.
What it Costs
If you sign up for Shipt’s annual membership, you’ll receive 2 free weeks of delivered groceries and an additional $15 off your first order. The yearly membership costs $99 when paid annually, or $14 per month.
As long as each order subtotals at least $35, you’ll enjoy free, unlimited delivery as a member. Smaller orders are accepted, but in order to pay their shoppers, they’ll charge a $7 delivery fee on anything under $35.
To cover their shoppers, Shipt sinks their additional fees into the price of the items you purchase. For example, a $35 online grocery shopping trip with Shipt will typically cost you $5 more than if you purchased the same groceries yourself at the store.
Who are Grocery Delivery Services Best for?
Whether you’re a busy college student, a stay-at-home mom with three kids, or work a full-time job, grocery shopping is probably the last thing on your mind. But if you find yourself eating fast food or blowing your extra cash dining out, then grocery delivery might be exactly what you need.
Everyone’s time has value. Some people work 20 hours of overtime per week so they can hire a lawn service. Others cut entertainment and extras from the budget so they can hire a house cleaner. People tend to prioritize what they enjoy and push everything else to the side.
So if you’re looking to make a change, whether it’s to eat healthier or save a little time, you might benefit from hiring a grocery delivery service.
Grocery Delivery: How Much is Your Time Worth?
If you’re interested in grocery delivery services, it’s probably safe to assume you don’t enjoy grocery shopping.
There’s absolutely no shame in wanting to hand off this task to someone else. If you can spend just a few extra hours at work per month, or apply the time you save to other projects in your home, then it’s easy to justify the cost of a grocery delivery service.
So if you despise grocery shopping or just want to free up a little time and you have the extra cash to spend, consider paying someone to deliver your groceries. If you’re still not sure, try a one-off delivery before committing to any memberships.
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