The COVID-19 pandemic may have introduced a lot of people to grocery delivery services, but is it still worth it? After all, inflation has made everything more expensive. Maybe it would be better to just hoof it to the store yourself and save on the delivery fees?
Maybe, though there are a lot of good arguments for sticking with grocery delivery services, according to Andrea Woroch, a U.S. News contributor and personal finance and shopping consultant who writes about saving money at AndreaWoroch.com.
“Online grocery shopping may come with some fees such as increased prices on certain foods and delivery fees, but there’s a big savings opportunity that can help a lot of people and families stretch their food shopping budget and limit impulse purchases,” Woroch says. “Shopping online for groceries makes it easy to stick to your list.”
She also adds that impulse shopping is easier to avoid online than in the store, where the tempting food displays and scents can cause you to buy groceries you didn’t intend to and probably don’t need.
“So even though you may save a few bucks on delivery, you’re ultimately spending more because you’re buying more,” Woroch says of the potential downsides of shopping in person. She also suggests looking for coupons at sites like CouponFollow.com to save on delivery fees and on online grocery orders in general.
If you’re wondering what apps and services would be the best fit for you, here are the six best grocery delivery services:
- Amazon Fresh.
- Imperfect Foods.
Membership Cost: $99 annually or $9.99 a month
Delivery Fee: Varies (see below), but possibly no fee if you’re a member.
This popular grocery app, available throughout much of the United States and Canada, delivers from numerous grocery stores as well as liquor stores and pharmacies and even some bulk warehouses like Costco and BJ’s Wholesale Club.
If you become a member, you’ll pay no delivery fees on orders $35 and over. There’s also no additional charge if you order groceries from several stores, so you can potentially knock out several errands with one order.
You don’t have to become a member, but deliveries $35 and over carry a delivery charge of $3.99, and if your order is less than $35, fees will vary. Orders have to be at least $10, in order for them to deliver to you. If you aren’t a member, you may have other fees to contend with, like a service fee, alcohol service fee or heavy order fee.
It’s definitely a convenience, but Instacart does mark up its prices. Still, if you value your time more than your money, this service may be worth it. Plus, you will see all the fees before you actually pay for everything, and so if you decide to not do it, you’ve wasted some time, but you also have a pretty shopping list you could take to the store.
Membership Cost: $139 for an annual Prime membership
Delivery Fee: See below, but possibly no fees if you’re a member.
If you have an Amazon Prime membership, you can order Amazon Fresh for free (as long as your order totals $35 or more, or $50 or more, depending on where you live). For one-hour delivery, fees are $4.99 on orders of more than $35 and $9.99 on orders of less than $35. For one-hour pickup, orders of more than $35 are free and orders of less than $35 have a fee of $1.99.
Just a heads up for college students: According to its website, Amazon Fresh doesn’t deliver to dorms.
Walmart Grocery Pickup and Delivery
Membership Cost: $98 for an annual membership
Delivery Fee: See below, but probably no fees if you’re a member.
If you sign up for Walmart+, you pay $12.95 a month or $98 a year, and you’ll get your groceries delivered for free. You have to order $35 or more for free delivery, or pay a $5.99 fee. If you want to use Express Delivery, which will deliver groceries in two hours or less, there’s a $10 fee.
If you don’t sign up for Walmart+ and just want to do grocery pickup and delivery, there is a $7.95 or $9.95 delivery charge, depending on whether you opt for next-day or same-day delivery or pickup.
Also worth noting: The prices aren’t marked up. What you pay for groceries through online delivery is what you’ll pay in the stores.
Membership Cost: $99 a year
Delivery Fee: If you aren’t a member, you pay a $10 delivery fee
You can find Shipt throughout many parts of the country. If you download the app or visit its website, you can type in your ZIP code and find out if Shipt services your area.
If you want to use Shipt often, you’ll probably want to become a member, or you can pay a delivery fee of $10. Once you’re a member, if you buy $35 or more in groceries, there’s no shipping fee. Typically, you’ll order and receive your groceries on the same day.
Shipt does do markups, to offset the cost of doing your shopping for you. But through the app, you can always find deals, just as you can when shopping inside a store. You also may want to look for a coupon code for Shipt, which might save you even more.
Membership Cost: $65 a week and up
Delivery Fee: None
This is a subscription food plan that specializes in sending healthy foods to you. You take a quiz, and Hungryroot fills up your online cart. Or you can say, “No, thanks,” and choose your own foods.
Weekly plans start at $65 and up. Hungryroot delivers just about everywhere in the U.S., except Alaska and Hawaii. That said, it doesn’t offer every type of grocery item, like milk, and so you might have to still use a different grocery delivery service – or go into a store – to get everything you need. But, again, if you’re looking for a different way to eat healthy, this may be a service you’d enjoy.