A Guide to Online Grocery Delivery

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With 2020 coming to a close (finally!), it’s safe to assume that we are all online shopping experts by now. Between shelter in place mandates and social distancing, many of us have gotten used to browsing virtual isles instead of running to the store when we need something. To accommodate the need for safe, contactless shopping, more and more stores, from Walmart to Costco, are now offering a delivery option, and delivery services like Instacart and Shipt are becoming an increasingly popular way to get groceries and everyday essentials.

Sure, grocery delivery is convenient, but is it affordable? While several factors can affect the overall cost for grocery delivery, prices are typically comparable to what you’ll find in-store. You may notice a slight price difference on certain items, but with a little strategy, there are plenty of ways you can save when you order groceries online. Picking the right delivery time, taking advantage of free delivery opportunities, and price comparing different grocery delivery services can all increase your savings. Plus, grocery delivery is a great way to stick to your list (and budget) and minimize impulse shopping!

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To make your online grocery shopping experience even more convenient, we’ve created a complete breakdown of 10 popular grocery delivery services, including delivery costs, order minimums, and delivery discounts. With Piggy’s guide to online grocery delivery, you can easily compare different services and choose what works best for you and your budget. Don’t forget to take advantage of incredible deals and cash back offers when you shop using the Piggy extension too!

Instacart delivery man

Best Grocery Delivery Services

Instacart

  • Delivery Cost: Starts at $3.99 for non-members, plus varying fees based on your order and delivery time 
  • Minimum Order: $10
  • Delivery Discounts: Unlimited Same-Day delivery on orders over $35 with Instacart Express for $14.99/month or $149/year

Instacart is one of the easiest platforms to order groceries online for delivery. You can shop from your favorite local grocery stores and specialty food shops directly from the Instacart app. When you place an online grocery order with Instacart, an expert personal shopper will go to your preferred store, carefully select the items on your list, and make substitutions if anything on your order is out of stock. 

With Instacart, you can grocery shop online and have your items delivered in as little as one hour. Or, if you prefer to plan ahead, you can schedule your grocery delivery up to two weeks in advance. One thing to keep in mind when you order groceries online with Instacart is that your order may be subject to certain fees, like increased delivery charges for peak times, a “heavy fee” for items over 50 pounds, or an alcohol service fee. However, you can easily get around most of these fees with an Instacart Express membership.

goPuff  

  • Delivery Cost: $1.95, plus a $2 service fee for orders with alcohol
  • Minimum Order: $10.95
  • Delivery Discounts: Free delivery on all orders with a goPuff Fam membership for $5.95/month 

goPuff is an online grocery delivery service with a twist. Instead of shopping for your order at grocery stores and local shops, goPuff has their own micro-fulfillment centers around the country with over 2500 products, from fresh food to supplies for your home office, and everything in between. Because of their unique grocery delivery business model, goPuff has one of the best delivery fees around, and never charges surge prices for busy delivery times.

goPuff is available 24/7, so you can order groceries online with the goPuff app literally anytime and have your order delivered in under an hour. When you enter your delivery address, you can view in-stock items at your local goPuff center, which means you’ll get exactly what you ordered, instead of a bunch of substitutions. Although you can’t schedule a goPuff grocery delivery for a later date, goPuff  is ideal for last-minute shoppers or for those late night cravings! 

Shipt

  • Delivery Cost: $7 on orders under $35
  • Minimum Order: $35
  • Delivery Discounts: Free delivery on all orders over $35 with a Shipt membership for $99/year or $14.99/month

Wouldn’t it be great if you could make a Target run without having to leave the house? With Shipt, you can! Shipt has an exclusive partnership with Target, and also works with local grocery stores and retailers in over 250 cities. To use Shipt’s grocery delivery service, you will need to sign up for a Shipt membership, which is either $99 annually or $14.99 monthly and includes unlimited free delivery when you spend $35 or more.

When you buy groceries online with Shipt, you can schedule your grocery delivery anywhere between one hour and three days in advance. Just select your preferred grocery store and search for specific items or browse the virtual aisles for dinner inspiration. Once your order is complete, Shipt sends your shopping list and substitution preferences to a Shipt personal shopper, who will carefully prepare and deliver your groceries, sending regular updates along the way.

Thrive Market

  • Delivery Cost: $5.95 for orders under $49
  • Minimum Order: No minimum
  • Delivery Discount: Free delivery on all orders of $49 or more with a Thrive Market membership for $59.99/year or $9.99/month. 

Thrive Market is all about making organic, non-GMO, and sustainable products accessible and affordable for everyone. With Thrive Market, you can choose from over 6,000 grocery and household items 25 to 50 percent off retail price, and browse Thrive Market’s specialty categories, like Gluten-Free, Organic, Ketogenic, and Vegan. Since Thrive Market carries mostly non perishable goods, you may need to supplement your Thrive Market haul with a grocery delivery order from a local grocery store. 

To get started with Thrive Market, you’ll need to sign up for a membership first. Thrive Market membership is $59.99 yearly or $9.99 monthly and comes with tons of great perks, like free carbon-neutral shipping on all orders over $49, free samples, and exclusive daily deals. Plus, for every paid membership, Thrive Market donates a membership to a family in need. When you place a grocery delivery order with Thrive Market, your items are packed and shipped within two to three business days. You can even track your order in the Thrive Market app, and enjoy your favorite snacks the minute they hit your doorstep. 

Walmart grocery store

Best Grocery Store Delivery Services

Walmart

  • Delivery Cost: $7.99 to $9.99 depending on delivery time 
  • Minimum Order: $30
  • Delivery Discounts: Unlimited delivery with Walmart+ for $12.95/month or $98/year 

Walmart is one of the most popular online grocery delivery options available, and it’s easy to see why. Walmart’s online grocery store offers reliably low prices on everything from fresh produce to pet food to cleaning supplies. When you shop using the Walmart mobile app, you can save your regular grocery haul for quick and easy ordering, or discover new favorites when you browse seasonal categories, like the Holiday Bake Shop.  

To schedule a Walmart grocery store delivery, choose your preferred Walmart location and a delivery day and time that works best for you. Depending on availability, you can schedule your grocery delivery up to a week in advance or in as little as two hours with Walmart Express Delivery. On the day of your grocery delivery, a personal shopper will prepare your order and make any substitutions for out of stock items. If anything in your online grocery order drops in price or becomes unavailable before your delivery day, Walmart will automatically adjust your total. 

Sam’s Club

  • Delivery Cost: Varies between $8.99 and $14.99, depending on your order total and delivery time. 
  • Minimum Order: $10
  • Delivery Discounts: Free Sam’s Club delivery on most items with a Sam’s Club Plus membership for $100year; Unlimited Instacart delivery on orders over $35 with Instacart Express for $14.99/month or $149/year 

Sam’s Club has partnered with Instacart to offer fast and reliable, same-day grocery home delivery. The best part is that when you order groceries using Instacart, you can get exclusive Sam’s Club products, including their in-house Member’s Mark brand, even without a Sam’s Club membership. Of course, if you do have a membership, you get the added bonus of members-only pricing and free shipping on most items. So, if you’re stocking up on non-perishable groceries and household essentials, you can skip the delivery fees and shop directly from the Sam’s Club website.

If you’d prefer same-day delivery when you buy groceries online from Sam’s Club, you will first need to create an Instacart account. Then, select your local Sam’s Club, fill your virtual shopping cart, and schedule your delivery anywhere from one hour to five days in advance. If you are a Sam’s Club Member, enter your membership number at checkout and enjoy the savings! 

Costco

  • Delivery Cost: Free for Costco members who spend $35 or more, or $5.99 for non-members
  • Minimum Order: $35
  • Delivery Discounts: Free Two-Day Costco shipping on orders over $75; Unlimited Same-Day delivery on orders over $35 with Instacart Express for $14.99/month or $149/year

Costco grocery delivery is perfect if you like to shop in bulk and always keep your pantry well-stocked. Costco offers two convenient options to order groceries online: same-Day delivery on most items with Instacart or two-day delivery for non-perishables and household supplies bought directly from Costco’s website. The only catch here is that you will need a Costco membership to place an online grocery order and stock up on cult-favorite Kirkland brand products. That being said, with exclusive discounted prices and free delivery opportunities, a Costco membership is definitely worth it.

For same-day delivery, all you need to do is create an Instacart account and select your local Costco Club. Once you have checked all the items on your virtual shopping list, an Instacart personal shopper will prepare your order. To schedule an online grocery delivery directly from Costco’s website, keep an eye out for products labeled “Two Day Delivery.” Place your order before noon, and your items will arrive in as little as two business days.

Discover more tips and tricks for eating healthy on a budget.  

meal delivery

Best Meal Delivery Services

Veestro 

  • Delivery Cost: $9.99 for one-time orders, or free for auto-delivery orders
  • Minimum Order: 10 meals 
  • Delivery Discounts: Free shipping on all auto-delivery orders

If you want to enjoy fresh, plant-based meals without lifting a finger, Veestro is the meal delivery service for you! Veestro specializes in delicious vegan dishes made with high-quality, organic ingredients and no preservatives. Veestro meals come fully cooked and packaged in 100 percent compostable or recyclable containers, so you can enjoy amazing vegan meals jam-packed with nutrition in just a matter of minutes. 

Veestro offers subscription packages that start at $9.90 per serving for 10 meals, with discounts available when you order 20 or 30 meals at a time. You can customize your Veestro order and choose specific recipes a la carte or be adventurous and go with the Chef’s Choice. Veestro shipping takes between one to three days, depending on where you live, and all Veestro meal delivery boxes are packaged with dry ice to ensure that your food stays cold in transit. Once your Veestro meals have arrived, you can store them in the freezer for eight to ten weeks or in the refrigerator for three to five days. Veestro is the perfect meal delivery service if you want to eat homemade Vegan meals and don’t have the time to cook or if you want to try plant-based dishes and don’t know where to start. 

Home Chef

  • Delivery Cost: $10 for orders under $40
  • Minimum Order: Two meals 
  • Delivery Discounts: Free shipping when you spend over $40

If you want to make online grocery shopping even easier, skip the lists and opt for a meal delivery service, like Home Chef. Each Home Chef box comes with everything you need to create delicious meals right at home. And when we say everything, we mean everything — from pre-measured spices to fool-proof instructions. Home Chef features new recipes every week and makes it easy to choose your meal based on your lifestyle, with categories like Vegetarian, Carb-Conscious, and Meals Under 30 Mins. Home Chef meals start at only $6.99 per serving, and vary in price depending on the meal you choose and certain customizations. 

When you join Home Chef, you’ll begin by taking a quick survey about what foods you like and any dietary restrictions you may have, and Home Chef will suggest meals based on your preferences. Then, you simply select which meals you want to try each week, customize your order by adding extra servings or substituting certain ingredients, and Home Chef will take care of the rest. Since Home Chef is a subscription service, you’ll need to set how many meals and servings you want each week, and Home Chef will automatically charge your card and deliver your ingredients in an insulated, biodegradable container. All you need to do is cook and enjoy!  

Hello Fresh 

  • Delivery Cost: $7.99 if you order less than three meals
  • Minimum Order: 2 meals
  • Delivery Discounts: Free shipping when you order three or more meals in a week

With Hello Fresh, you can enjoy healthy, responsibly sourced meals at home without breaking the bank. Hello Fresh aims to save you money with every meal by creating mouth-watering dishes that feature fresh and affordable seasonal ingredients. Dedicated to sustainability, Hello Fresh also helps reduce food waste with their pre-measured meal kits, innovative packaging, and carbon-neutral shipping. Hello Fresh meals start at $8.99 per serving, and if you order at least three meals each week, shipping is free!

To get started with Hello Fresh, select your meal preferences from categories like Meat and Veggie, Calorie Smart, Quick and Easy, or Family Friendly. Then, customize your Hello Fresh plan according to how many meals and servings you’d like each week. Hello Fresh puts together a weekly menu of 23 amazing recipes that you can choose from and includes all the ingredients you’ll need to recreate each dish in your Hello Fresh kit. Be adventurous and try a new recipe each time or stick with the tried and true favorites that are always a hit. One of the best features of Hello Fresh is that you can skip a week or change your meal preferences anytime, which is great if you need some flexibility in your meal planning. 

Amp Up Your Cooking With These Must-Have, Cheap Kitchen Tools!

Online grocery shopping

Tips & Tricks for Online Grocery Shopping

The next time you order groceries online, keep these helpful tips in mind so your grocery delivery experience goes as smooth as possible.

Be flexible

Anytime you buy groceries online, it’s important to be flexible and remember that stuff happens. Even with the best grocery delivery service, sometimes an item you want might be out of stock or your grocery delivery driver might experience a delay. You may have to tweak a recipe because an item was unavailable, but the convenience of not having to leave your house to get groceries outweighs any little issues by far.

List substitution preferences

Grocery store inventory is constantly changing, especially now. To help guarantee that you will get everything on your list (and make life much easier for your personal shopper) take the time to select an alternative just in case something you need becomes out of stock by your grocery delivery day. 

Order late

With grocery delivery in high demand these days, getting a prime delivery slot can be tricky sometimes. Since most grocery delivery services will update their inventory and delivery availability at the end of each day, you’ll have a much better chance of getting a good delivery time when you order late. 

Opt for pickup

If you want to save on delivery costs all together, or if you are having trouble finding a delivery slot, most grocery stores offer contactless pickup for free and have way more time slots available for pickup than delivery. You can still order your groceries from home, and once you get the notification that your groceries are ready, all you have to do is pop your trunk when you arrive at the store. 

Tip generously

Always remember that the people who prepare and deliver your online grocery order are putting themselves at risk and deserve a huge “Thank You” for their hard work. Be sure to tip your delivery driver and remind them how much they are appreciated! 

For More Online Grocery Shopping Tips, Ready Our Guide to Buying Food Online

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