From Door Dash to Instacart, there are so many delivery options these days. But which ones make sense and which ones are for the lazy or disorganized? This article will walk you through how you can save money by having your groceries delivered.
First – A Quick Note on Restaurant Delivery Services
I do not recommend having restaurant food delivered by DoorDash, UberEats, Grubhub, or any similar services. Its very expensive. By the time you consider the service fee and the tip, you've overpaid quite a bit for a single meal. We've used it as a last resort, either when we weren't organized enough to have groceries on hand to prepare a meal, or we didn't make time to cook.
One of my budget goals this year is to stop using restaurant delivery completely. A chief way I will accomplish that goal is TO use grocery delivery. Let me explain why.
How I Incorporate Grocery Delivery Into My Weekly Meal Plan
Every Sunday I plan meals for the upcoming week. I'm on a keto diet, so I have to make sure the right foods are on hand so I'm not tempted with the wrong foods. My kiddos are not on a keto diet, so they get snacks and foods to eat that they enjoy. My husband eats what I eat when I'm at home because he's a super awesome team player. When I'm at work, who knows. I think he hides cookies and other treats.
Every Sunday when I write out the meal plan for the week, I make the grocery list including all the ingredients we need, all the snacks and foods the kids eat, and any staples we are running low on. Then I go to Instacart, pick which grocery store in the area I want to order from, and add my items to the cart. Instacart remembers which items I frequently order, so those are easy to find on the grocery store's main page.
How We Save Money With Instacart
Our family saves money with Instacart in 4 primary ways:
- Instacart saves us time. According to the folks at Instacart, every time you go grocery shopping you spend about 2 hours of your time, on average. Once per week, this adds up to over 100 hours per year. That's alot of time grocery shopping that you could spend with your family, working side hustles, or doing other activities. Multiply 100 hours times your normal pay rate, and you could be saving yourself $5,000 or more per year! In a typical American lifestyle where we are running from one activity to the next, working long hours, and commuting from home to work and back, getting those 100 hours back is invaluable.
- Instacart is a great meal planning tool. It helps you stay focused on your list, which prevents you from buying items you normally wouldn't buy. You make your list, you find and place those items in your cart, and then click buy. No browsing the cookie aisle, no temptations in the bakery or on the snack aisle, you only buy what you need to make the meals you planned for the week. In my opinion, this is the best part of grocery shopping (especially for those of us on a diet)! The extra snacks cost you dollars and pounds, if you get my meaning.
- We stay within our grocery budget. Unlike at the physical grocery store, you know what the total will be before check out. With grocery delivery, you can be certain that you haven't spent a penny more than you planned to.
- There's an app for that. Fill your cart while you're waiting at the doctor's office, commuting on the subway, or while you're waiting on your kids at ballet practice. All of you multi-taskers out there will appreciate this feature.
Instacart isn't the only option. We live in a smaller city than we used to, and for us, it IS the only option. When we lived in Phoenix, AZ, we could order directly from the grocery store and they would deliver. I recommend using whatever is convenient and local in your area. If you aren't sure about the benefits of grocery delivery, try it once and see how you like it. This link will give you one free delivery and a $10 discount off your first order.
If you're concerned about delivery fees, Instacart offers “Instacart Express”. For $9.99 a month or $99 per year, you can have unlimited deliveries for orders $35 or more. If you make a weekly order, that's only $1.90 per order over the year. That's more than worth it, considering the money you are saving in other ways.
Drawbacks of grocery delivery
The one drawback of grocery delivery is not being able to choose your own produce and cuts of meat. This was a concern for me in the beginning. I've been pretty happy with the job the shoppers have done, and when I want a special cut of meat, I will sometimes drop by the store on the way home from work and grab it. Overall, it just hasn't been an issue for us.