The 5 Best and Cheapest Grocery Delivery Services and Apps

Andrew Reyes
Reading Time: 5 minutes

If you are new to living on a budget, are trying to save money while in college, or maybe are just looking for some tips to save money, you should consider the cheapest ways to get groceries. Getting your groceries delivered can be a safe and reliable way to cut back on the expense of eating out and impulse-buying foods you should financially avoid.

Ordering your groceries for delivery will usually include a delivery charge, but can also help you to tailor your shopping list and support eating healthy on a budget. In addition to using those savvy budgeting apps, consider adding the cheapest grocery delivery services into your financial plan to start saving money so you can achieve your money-saving goal.

Instacart

Instacart is an online grocery delivery service available in most states. To use Instacart, you must make an online account, and/or install the mobile app. Instacart works by allowing you to select your preferred retailer from their list of over 300 retailers.

The site or app will connect you with a shopper in your area, and allow you to schedule a delivery from 9 a.m. in the morning until midnight. Some deliveries can also be made as quickly as within a one-hour time frame, and you also have the option to select to pick up your order after the shopper has collected your items for you.

You may also select a no-contact “Leave at My Door Delivery,” and do not have to be present for your order to be delivered.

What Does Instacart Cost?

It is important to understand that the affiliate retailers of Instacart set the item pricing and that some in-store sales or promotions may not apply to your Instacart purchases. The fees for Instacart may include:

  • All orders must meet a $10 minimum.
  • Delivery fees start at $3.99 for same-day orders over $35.
  • You may be charged a heavy fee if the estimated weight of an item such as dog food or bulk cases of beverages exceeds 50 pounds.
  • You may expect a service fee that is based on the market and the subtotal of the items in your order. The service fee will be made available at check out.
  • You may expect an alcohol service fee that ranges from $2 to $10, depending on the cost of your purchase.
  • There is a $1.99 fee for pick-up orders.
  • You may be subject to state-specific fees or taxes such as sales tax, bottle or bag deposits or fees, or state-sanctioned health taxes.
  • You may choose to add a shopper or delivery fee. This fee is a tip for your shopper. One-hundred percent of the shopper fee goes directly to the shopper who delivers your order or collects your items for pick up.
  • There are some coupons and promotions available on Instacart depending on the items you select.

There is no membership fee for Instacart, but you may choose to sign up for Instacart Express. Instacart Express has an annual cost of $99, or a monthly membership cost of $9.99. Instacart Express offers:

  • Free delivery on orders of $35 or more.
  • Reduced service fees.
  • No busy pricing fees during peak hours.
  • No fees for pick-up orders.

Safeway Delivery

Safeway offers an Unlimited Delivery Club with a 30-day free trial and $20 off your first subscription order if it is over $75. The Unlimited Delivery club is only applicable for purchases of $30 or more.

You may also choose to pick up your Safeway order instead of paying a delivery fee. You can use both the Safeway website or the app to complete an order. Unattended deliveries — deliveries made to your home when you are not there — are only available for select locations.

What Does a Safeway Delivery Cost?

Safeway offers delivery to their customers even if they do not have a subscription. The delivery fee is not a tip to the delivery person and typically costs $9.95, and the minimum order amount must meet or exceed $30.

The Unlimited Delivery Club subscription costs $14.99 a month, or $99 a year, and may only be available in select locations. Safeway delivery drivers do not accept tips.

FreshDirect

FreshDirect is a grocery delivery service that mainly operates on the East Coast of the United States, specifically:

  • New York;
  • New Jersey;
  • Fairfield, Connecticut;
  • Pennsylvania;
  • New Castle, Delaware;
  • The greater Washington D.C. area;
  • Seasonal delivery to the Hamptons and Jersey Shore.

FreshDirect also caters to specific diets, offering gluten-free, organic, and Kosher items. FreshDirect sources all of their items directly from the farmer, fisher, rancher, or producer. You can apply for a DeliveryPass subscription which includes unlimited free deliveries, timeslot reservations, and exclusive delivery pass perks for special offers and savings. Touchless delivery is also available, and you can opt-in for unattended delivery.

What Does FreshDirect Cost?

A FreshDirect DeliveryPass costs:

  • An anytime pass is $79 plus tax for six months.
  • An anytime pass is $129 plus tax for a year.
  • A midweek (Tuesday through Thursday) pass is $39 plus tax for six months.

You may qualify for free delivery for 60 days when you sign up for a subscription. FreshDirect also provides coupons and promotion codes through their email service.

A FreshDirect DeliveryPass is not required, and you can still order through the FreshDirect website and pay a delivery charge that commonly ranges from $5.99 to $7.99. FreshDirect does encourage customers to tip their delivery drivers.

Shipt

Shipt offers more than just same-day grocery delivery, they also offer items from their affiliate retailers, including categories such as:

  • Home goods.
  • Kitchen and dining supplies.
  • Pet supplies.
  • Cosmetics.
  • Electronics and entertainment.
  • Toys.
  • Office and school supplies.
  • Sporting goods, patio, and garden supplies.

To order, you must sign up for a Shipt membership or purchase Shipt Passes. You can also use the Shipt app to shop and prepare your order. Shipt is available in more than 5,000 cities in the U.S., but it is important to enter your zip code to ensure that they provide services in your area.

Shipt also offers exclusive coupons, savings, and sales alerts to provide you with further savings from their delivery services.

What Does Shipt Cost?

Annual Shipt membership costs $99. You can also purchase Shipt passes that provide a one-time delivery per pass. The price of passes depends on how many you purchase at one time, and the passes do not expire.

With a Shipt membership, you can receive free delivery for orders over $35. Orders less than $35 have a flat $7 delivery fee. If you have a Shipt Pass, you pay no delivery fee regardless of the total cost of your purchase. There are no price increases for particular days or “busy” times, but Shipt does encourage its customers to tip their delivery drivers.

Walmart

Walmart offers both same-day online delivery, as well as curbside pickup, but you will need to check the availability of these services in your city. You can sign up for a Walmart+ membership plan and get a 15-day free trial for their services.

A Walmart+ membership plan includes benefits such as free delivery from your local store, as well as membership prices and gas rewards at select fuel stations. To get the most savings out of your membership, you can download the Walmart app, which offers unique benefits and savings to members.

Deliveries from Walmart are contact-free, and you do not need to be home when your order is delivered. You can tip your Walmart delivery driver through the app. Restrictions on delivery times vary by store, but typically range between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.

What Does Walmart Delivery Cost?

A Walmart+ plan costs $12.95 per month or $98 per year. If you do not sign up for a Walmart+ plan and order online, your order may be subject to delivery fees.


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