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Online grocery shopping services are getting a lot of attention lately. Busy people everywhere are rejoicing at the convenience and time-saving potential this service offers.
And it’s not only a time-saver. You can potentially cut your grocery bill because you’re only getting the items you really need. This means no more “extras” that magically find their way into your cart. Cookies – I’m looking at you!
Sometimes you can even take advantage of special pricing that’s only available if you’re buying your groceries online.
I’ve resisted using online grocery shopping services in the past because I actually like grocery shopping. Weird, I know. But the more I read about the benefits, the more I’m convinced this might be something worth trying.
As a result of my own research, I’ve rounded up the best sites for online grocery shopping services. If you’re feeling crunched for time and would like to try it for yourself, be sure to check out some of these sites. Not all services are available in every state or region but I’ve included the service area where it applies.
Online Grocery Shopping Services
For a $5.99 delivery fee per order, a personal shopper will select the items from your order, choosing the best quality available. You can also include special instructions if you’re particular about certain things like ripeness.
Once you create an account, you’ll be able to see the stores available in your area. Then you choose your items from the Instacart site and sit back to wait for delivery! I was especially stoked to see that ALDI was one of the stores available for me. I love, love, love ALDI so this is a big convenience for me.
Delivery can be in as little as 2 hours but you can also schedule a delivery up to 6 days in advance.
Instacart currently serves locations in 44 states, with the biggest concentrations in the East and West Coast, the South, and the Midwest. To check availability in your area, visit Instacart Locations and enter your zip code.
Instacart also has an express option that has unlimited free deliveries, the ability to shop from multiple stores in one order, and free 1-hour rush delivery. The service has an introductory annual price of $99 that will increase to $149 the second year and a monthly option of $14.99. But if you need groceries more than 2 or 3 times a month and like to shop at more than one store, this is the most cost-effective option for you.
Peapod is one of the leading online grocery delivery services. The delivery fee is based on the amount of your order and ranges from $6.95 to $9.95 but can be reduced by using available discounts. Much like Instacart, your Peapod order is selected by a personal shopper who chooses the best quality items.
Another great benefit of Peapod is the exclusive online-only deals and weekly specials. Look for the red flags to find out which items are on sale that week. And Peapod doubles manufacturer coupons $0.99 and less! If you’re worried that you can’t use online grocery coupons, Peapod also works with SavingStar e-coupons and the value of each e-coupon redeemed will be added to your SavingStar account to be redeemed for cash, gift cards, or charity donations.
Peapod currently only serves the following locations:
- Chicagoland, Milwaukee, S.E. Wisconsin, Indianapolis
- Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Southern New Hampshire
- New York, New Jersey
- Maryland, Virginia, Washington D.C.
- Philadelphia, S.E. Pennsylvania, Central Pennsylvania
With FreshDirect you can schedule your delivery for as early as the next day, from 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. A FreshDirect driver will bring your order to the door so you will need to make sure there is someone available to accept the order. Delivery fees range from $5.99 to $7.99 (and $9.99 and $15.99 for delivery to Jersey Shore and the Hamptons in the summer only).
Promo codes and special online pricing is also available. You can also apply FreshDirect coupons to your order. Check the coupon section for current offers.
FreshDirect also offers a DeliveryPass membership which allows members to enjoy unlimited free deliveries, special offers, and savings.
FreshDirect currently delivers to the Washington D.C. area, and parts of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Delaware with summer-only delivery service to Jersey Shore and the Hamptons.
If you’re in the Midwest you’ve probably heard of Hy-Vee. It’s what I would call a mega-store that has pretty much everything you would ever need – a bakery, Caribou coffee shop, Chinese food, an amazing deli, pizzeria, cafe, a sushi bar, a salad bar and more. Whew!
Physically shopping at Hy-Vee can be overwhelming because of everything available so it’s good they offer online grocery delivery services and also a pickup option. It would be way too easy to go over budget!
One of the best things that Hy-Vee offers is their Fuel-Saver + Perks card, which is their customer reward program. Cardholders will receive special pricing on certain items and the ability to load digital coupons to their account for use at checkout.
But the real magic lies with the fuel saver part of the program. On selected items, members will earn a discount towards gas! Discounts range from a few cents to 10¢ off per gallon of gas. Those cents can really add up. I’ve heard of people who never pay for a tank of gas because of the fuel saver credits they’ve racked up.
Hy-Vee’s online grocery delivery service is called aislesonline. Fuel saver items are eligible for online shopping and Hy-Vee accepts digital coupons only for online orders. Fees are based on the size of the order and your fulfillment method (delivery or pickup). You can schedule a delivery from the available time slots. Someone must be home to accept the delivery.
Hy-Vee currently has about 240 stores in the Midwest including Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
AmazonFresh is currently only available in select cities for Prime Members only. The cost is an additional $14.99 on top of your Prime Membership. Members can choose from a variety of fresh veggies, meat, seafood, and other grocery items with the option of same-day or next-day delivery. With Amazon’s recent purchase of Whole Foods, members can choose fresh and organic items from the Whole Foods brand.
If you’re not in a location that’s currently served by AmazonFresh, Prime Pantry is another option for buying groceries through Amazon. Prime Pantry is geared more towards non-perishable grocery and household items, like boxed cereal, beverages, snacks, laundry detergent, baby care, pet care, and paper goods. Prime Pantry offers exclusive savings like weekly deals and they do accept coupons as well.
The last option for ordering through Amazon is their Subscribe & Save program where you can choose to set up your most-used items like diapers, laundry supplies or pet food on a subscription. Items eligible for subscriptions are listed in the Subscribe & Save store. If you order 5 or more products in a month, you can save up to 15%. You choose the frequency of the delivery and you can get 20% off your first delivery!
Love ’em or hate ’em, Walmart now offers online grocery shopping as well. Every time I’m in Walmart, I see employees hauling the big carts around and loading them up for grocery orders placed online.
Delivery is available in select areas so pickup is the more likely option for you. Walmart charges no additional fees for pickup of your order and customers enjoy the same in-store pricing.
One of the drawbacks to ordering groceries online through Walmart is that Walmart does not accept any type of manufacturer’s coupons for online orders. You can print your receipt and use it for other money-saving apps, but if you’re a couponer this might not be the best option for you.
Online Grocery Shopping Tips
Just a few tips and things to consider if you’re thinking about trying an online grocery shopping service. Check the gratuity policy for the service you’re using for info on whether your delivery driver accepts tips or not. Just like other delivery services, the drivers don’t see any part of the delivery fee you pay and appreciate tips. It’s not necessary to tip but a nice gesture nonetheless.
Be aware that each service may have different policies when dealing with out-of-stock items so make sure you read the fine print. You could be caught off-guard if an item you really needed was unavailable but you don’t find out until delivery.
It might take a time or two before you get your online grocery shopping system perfected. If your first try doesn’t work out exactly as you thought, don’t give up! Think of the time and money you’ll save once you get the hang of it!