Is Instacart Worth It? My Honest Review

Ever wondered if those delivery apps are really worth it? Do they save you time or just cause more headache?

As a busy mom, I’m always on the lookout for things that will make my life easier and save me time. I decided to try out Instacart– an app that delivers groceries from a grocery store near you in two hours or less.

Here’s my review of the service and if I think it’s worth the price tag.

groceries on a doorstep

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What is Instacart?

Instacart is a website and app that you can use to order items from stores near you. Originally the app started as a grocery delivery service, but it’s since expanded to include other stores like Total Wine, Costco, Sephora, Petco and even Best Buy.

You can order anything that these stores sell and have it delivered to your door within two hours.

The deliveries are delivered by Instacart shoppers – people who are hired by Instacart to do the shopping and delivering for you.

How Does Instacart Work?

To use Instacart, you first need to download the app and create an account. Once you’ve done that, you can start shopping. You can either search for specific items that you need, or browse through the different categories of items that the store offers.

Once you’ve found what you’re looking for, you can add the items to your cart and checkout. At this point, you’ll need to enter your delivery address and choose a time window for your delivery.

Instacart offers some deliveries as soon as an hour, though there’s usually a small upcharge (when I tested it out it was $2) for the service. General delivery is within 2 hours, and if you’re flexible and can do a 3 hour window you can even save a few dollars off your bill.

The cool thing about these apps is the ability to chat with your shopper while they’re shopping. You’ll get a text from the shopper when they begin, and they’ll send updates along the way if anything is out of stock. You can also text them if you forgot to add something to the list and they can try to grab it for you.

Once the shopper is done, they’ll load up your car and head to your house. You don’t need to be home for the delivery and they’ll leave them in a safe place outside for you.

How Much Does Instacart Cost?

The cost of Instacart depends on a few factors. The first is the price of the items you’re buying. Instacart doesn’t mark up the prices of the items at most stores, so you’ll find the same pricing as you’d find in store.

The only exception is Costco where prices are slightly marked up unless you have a Costco membership (which you can enter into the app) and get the regular club pricing.

There is, however, a service fee on orders and different stores will have different minimums for free delivery. The service fees are usually about $4, and delivery can range from $2-4. If you do rushed delivery – like delivery withing an hour – this can also add on an extra fee.

One thing to note is that delivery fees are per store, not per order. So if you’re planning to order from multiple stores you’ll need to keep in mind each store’s minimums and delivery fees.

Our Pick
Instacart

Instacart is the go to service for quick and effective grocery delivery. Customers select groceries from our various retailers, we then send out a personal shopper who will do the shopping and deliver to the customer when they are finished.

Instacart Express

Instacart came out with a program called Instacart Express where for an annual fee, you can get free delivery on orders over $35, lower service fees and 5% cash back on pickup orders.

The fee for Instacart Express is $99 a year, but they do also offer a free 2 weeks trial so you can test out the service before committing to it.

What Stores are On Instacart?

The stores that are available on Instacart will vary depending on where you live, but currently in Minnesota a few of the available stores are:

Costco

Target

Hyvee

Total Wine

Sephora

Cub

Aldi

Fresh Thyme

Lunds and Byerly’s

Lowe’s

Sam’s Club

Dick’s Sporting Goods

Best Buy

When I’ve traveled to other states, like Michigan, local retailers also pop up like Meijer, Kroger and Publix.

My Instacart Experience

I’ve been using Instacart on and off for a few years now and have found that Instacart is a little too pricey for me compared to other services.

I love the convenience of being able to order my groceries and have them delivered to me, but I’ve found that I can get my groceries cheaper by using a grocery delivery service like Shipt or Buncha.

Instacart, however, does have more of a selection when it comes to stores than the other services as well as the flexibility of delivery times. If I need groceries delivered within an hour, Instacart is my go-to. For general grocery shopping though, I prefer to use one of the other services.

Instacart vs Shipt

Another popular competitor to Instacart is Shipt. Shipt is owned by Target, and is actually completely integrated into the Target app (this is how I usually shop them). However, Shipt also does delivery to more stores, like Instacart.

I’ve found that Shipt has less fees than Instacart does and only charges for delivery, unlike Instacart’s service fees. Shipt does offer an annual membership for $99 a year that gives you free delivery on any order over $35.

Is Instacart Worth It?

I think Instacart is only worth it if you really value the convenience of having your groceries delivered to you or if there’s a particular store that you like to shop at that’s not available on other grocery delivery services.

If price is your main concern, then I would recommend checking out some of the other grocery delivery services as they tend to be a little cheaper and have less fees.

The Verdict

I think Instacart is a great service, but it’s not my favorite grocery delivery service. I prefer using Shipt or Buncha because they’re cheaper and have less fees. If you’re looking for convenience and a wide selection of stores, then Instacart is a great choice.

Have you used Instacart before? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!

Author

  • Ali Van Straten

    Ali Van Straten is the founder and journalist of Champagne and Coffee Stains. She is a Peloton expert, certified running coach and certified nutrition coach. Champagne and Coffee Stains provides information and resources on Peloton Interactive, running and recipes.

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