‘My very first experience with Instacart included a coupon for free deliver plus $10 off my groceries. I would have been really really dumb not to give free food a try. So I put some basics in my cart and within two hours I had some nom noms on my doorstep. Um that’s really flippin’ cool. I decided I needed to research this business a little more and see what all would be involved with making this a regular occurrence. Here are the basics:

-Just like any type of online shopping, you browse the selection of items and add to your cart. Only difference with Instacart is you then choose a delivery time, add in replacement items (in case the store is out of the original item you requested), and then voila groceries at your door in a hot second.

-Instacart also let’s you shop by department which meshed with my brain. It was just like I was in the store and shopped in a circle from produce around to the freezer section.

-Regular delivery is $5.99

-If you want your groceries delivered within an hour then the fee bumps up to $7.99

-You gotta spend at least $35 on groceries otherwise the fee jumps to $9.99 or more.

-There’s also an option to pay a $149 yearly fee to become an Instacart Express member where you get all the deliveries you want ever all year long for FREE.

-The items you shop for may have a higher price tag than in the store. Not a ridiculous mark up, but enough for Instacart to cover the cost of a personal shopper. I noticed this wasn’t the case for Whole foods. Those prices were equal, but HEB not so much. For example, my Greek yogurt I normally buy at HEB is $3.99 in store vs. $4.31 on Instacart.

Ok so all that detail and those of us ballin’ on a budget are still wondering how this isn’t just for fancy folk am I right? Well for starters I realized how amazing this service can be in a pinch. One week my husband was bed bound after injuring his back and ALL of us were fighting a nasty virus. We don’t live near family so in some snot, vomit, feverish, single parenting desperation I called on Instacart to save the day. And BONUS, not only did I get my usual grocery haul delivered, but all the sickness essentials I was out of too. Pedialyte, Children’s Advil and Kleenex FTW!

Thank you sweet baby Jesus!
Thank you sweet baby Jesus!

But what about in normal life? I decided to perform an experiment after our sickpocalypse and went grocery shopping with both my littles using the same exact Instacart order from the week before as my grocery list. Here’s a run down on that adventure:

-While trying to bag kale, my youngest kid swipes a red pepper like she’s trying to win a game of Jenga. Red peppers everywhere. All the people staring.

-I try to sneak past a huge display of Pirate booty. Everyone’s counting their gold doubloons.

-While getting frozen fruit, I see a coupon for FREE ice cream if I buy a frozen pizza 1 aisle over. Of course I need want free ice cream. And pizza. Neither of which are on my list.

-After putting yogurt in my cart, my youngest kid repeats “yogur peas” at increasing decibels until everyone starts staring “worst mom ever” though my eyeballs.

-I make a pit stop through the wine aisle ’cause, my sanity. Somehow 3 bottles accidentally end up in my cart.

-My oldest kid tries to help me unload the groceries onto the conveyor belt. Goodbye eggs. Cleanup on aisle 4!

-Exactly 2.5 seconds after loading all the groceries plus 10 extra items not on my list, my oldest (potty training) kid has to pee. Like right now. He’s doing the dance.

-2 hours later, I make it home. I forgot to buy milk and bread.

Oh the joys of shopping with tiny humans.
Oh the joys of shopping with tiny humans.

The point of sharing all this insanity is it took me two hours too long to unsuccessfully purchase all the items on my list. Plus, I spent $30 MORE than I would have sitting at home while someone else shopped for me. Fa real, my Instacart order WITH delivery fee and tip was $75.83. This order included my usual weekly basics like milk, bread, eggs, yogurt, meat, produce, etc. My own shopping trip was $104.36. Shopping in a state of hangry insane in the mom brain meant I threw items in my cart NOT on my list AND still forgot things I really needed.

Of course, this isn’t how every grocery trip of mine goes. I often have a little more self-control and even more often choose to shop on Sunday while the husband stays home with our crazies, but the point is a $6 delivery fee doesn’t necessarily break the bank (in my case I guess wine does). My initial assumptions about Instacart aren’t exactly true and it can absolutely be a beneficial service to lots of folks, penny pinchers and fancy folk alike.

If you want to give Instacart a try, click here for $5 off!!!

Do you think grocery delivery is worth the cost? Is it something you would do?




  1. Woo hoo! Instacart for life! Or until I finish this Ph.D and find a job that doesn’t eat my life. This post covers everything down to if you leave with a little less wine, delivery fee and tip are covered. I’ve run the experiment too and at this time in life, I really need that time (and money) from the grocery store back.

    I’m up to twice a month with Instacart, feeding only two average age humans and my grocery budget has gone down by at least $100 a month. I usually shop on the app while watching a little tv at night and arrange the order for the next day. 30 minutes tops to do the whole thing, including rechecking it (because it didn’t fix my Type A personality) and removing any impulse buys.

    As a strict house budgetarian, I can vouch for this. Just try it and give yourself a break once in a while.


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