Going to the store when life is busy can be a hassle. Grocery delivery services like Instacart eliminate that inconvenience. These services have someone shop for you and deliver groceries directly to your home.
Using grocery delivery services may not seem frugal, but apps like Instacart allow you to save time. You can then use those time savings in more meaningful ways.
Since grocery delivery apps have exploded in popularity, there are numerous alternatives to Instacart. If you’re interested in using a delivery service to manage your shopping needs, our guide shares the top services you can use.
What is Instacart?
Instacart is a grocery delivery app that delivers items straight to your door. It’s to groceries as Uber Eats is to restaurant meal delivery to your home.
The company partners with grocery stores all over the U.S. and hire personal shoppers to buy and deliver items to you.
Some of the retailers they partner with include:
- Aldi, Costco, CVS
- Eately, Jewel, Meijer, Albertsons
- Petco, Rite Aid, Sam’s Club
- Staples, Target, Walmart
The service is available in over 5,500 cities in the U.S. and Canada. Same-day and next-day delivery are available. The delivery fee starts at $3.99 for same-day orders over $35. If the order total is under that, the fees nullify the convenience.
There is also a service fee, based on the amount of your order. Rates are based on the total amount of your order. The more your order costs, the less you pay for delivery.
If you use the service enough, you can subscribe to Instacart Express. It costs $9.99 a month, or $99 per year, with a 14-day free this. Being a member means there are no delivery fees for orders $35 and over, reduced service fees, and no busy pricing fees during peak hours.
Instacart does not honor manufacturer coupons. Fortunately, most stores allow you to use your loyalty cards. The app also offers free delivery promotions on occasion.
*Right now Frugal Rules readers can receive free delivery on their first Instacart order of $10 and over, while supplies last!
Best Alternatives to Instacart
Instacart is not the only grocery delivery company in the space. Several national or regional players operate similarly, not to mention your local grocery store may also offer services.
Here are the seven best alternatives to have groceries delivered to your home.
Shipt is one of the top companies like Instacart. Although it’s owned by Target, they do deliver groceries from numerous local stores. These include:
- Costco, CVS, Jewel
- Kroger, Office Depot, Safeway
The delivery service is available in over 400 cities nationwide.
How Much Does Shipt Cost?
Similar to Instacart, Shipt has a membership program. You can join Shipt for $99 per year. If you don’t want an annual membership, you can pay $14 per month instead.
One perk you receive through membership is free delivery on orders over $35. However, if your order is less than that, you’ll pay $7 for delivery.
Pros and Cons
- Same-day delivery is available
- You can schedule delivery times within a one-hour window
- Free delivery on orders over $35
- Regular promotions
- Works with grocery stores and multiple other kinds of retailers
- Not as widely available as Instacart
- Does not allow you to use coupons
- Can’t link to store loyalty cards.
Shipt is available in most urban locations and worth considering for grocery delivery.
Free deliveries for orders over $35 with $99/yr membership
Same day delivery from grocery stores and other retailers.
What makes FreshDirect one of the top Instacart alternatives is that you get food directly from farmers, artisans, or fishermen. You’re not dealing with a grocery store, which means you eliminate the middleman.
FreshDirect allows you to order a variety of items you may need, including:
- Health and Beauty
- Baby items
- Meal kits
- Alcohol (in some locations)
The food from FreshDirect is fresher than food from a traditional store. It can last up to seven days longer in your fridge than what you may typically buy.
How Much Does FreshDirect Cost?
There is no membership fee to use FreshDirect. The service does offer a Delivery Pass membership that costs $129 per year if you want free delivery. However, you don’t have to join to use the service.
*Now through December 20, 2021 Frugal Rules readers can get $50 off their first FreshDirect order of $99 or more with code “FRESH8”!
Delivery charges range from $5.99 to $15.99 per order. The minimum order size is $30. FreshDirect also offers fully prepared meal delivery in some locations.
Pros and Cons
- Food arrives fresh
- No membership fee is required
- Prepared meals available in some locations
- You can schedule delivery times within a two-hour window
- Competitive pricing that’s often better than at the store
- Does not always offer same-day delivery
- Is only available in the Northeast, specifically New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Washington, D.C.
If fresh produce and food are important to you, FreshDirect is one of the best Instacart competitors.
$5.99 to $15.99 delivery charge per order or $129/yr. for free delivery
Super fresh food and produce from farmers, artisans and fishermen.
3. Amazon Fresh
If you’re a member of Amazon Prime, Amazon Fresh is a service that delivers groceries to your home.
You might think Amazon Fresh is an extension of Whole Foods. It isn’t. The service fulfills orders from local Amazon warehouses, then ships items to your location in temperature-controlled containers.
How Much Does Amazon Fresh Cost?
Amazon recently eliminated the extra charge of $14.95 for the service. If you have an Amazon Prime membership, which costs $119 per year or $12.99 per month, there is no additional charge.
Deliveries over $35 are free. If you’re under that threshold, the cost varies by location.
Pros and Cons
- Free to Prime members
- Same-day delivery available
- Free deliveries for orders over $35
- You can schedule deliveries within a two-hour window
- Does not allow manufacturer coupons
- The service is currently only available in 15 cities
If you’re a Prime member and live in a valid location, Amazon Fresh is a terrific option to consider for grocery delivery.
Free food delivery for Prime members and on orders over $35
Orders from local Amazon warehouses are fulfilled and shipped to you in temperature-controlled containers.
Walmart has offered grocery pickup for years, but it also offers contactless delivery to your home through Walmart+.
Similar to grocery pickup, you can order the items you need through their app or website. Then, you can choose the ‘delivery’ option instead of ‘pickup’ and add your address.
How Much Does Walmart+ Delivery Cost?
Walmart+ works similarly to Amazon Prime. You need to have a membership. This costs $98 per year or $12.95 per month.
Members receive free unlimited deliveries on orders over $35. Expect a delivery charge of $7.95 to $9.95 if your order is less than $35
Pros and Cons
- Available in most locations that have a Walmart
- Free 15-day trial
- Free delivery on orders over $35
- Can order same-day delivery
- Deliveries can be scheduled within a one-hour window
- You can order anything the retailer sells for delivery
- Can be costly if you don’t meet the minimum delivery amount
- Delivery drivers aren’t identified as Walmart employees
If you need delivery of items aside from groceries, Walmart is one of the best sites like Instacart for assistance.
Free delivery on orders over $35 for members; $7.95 to $9.95 otherwise
Contactless delivery to your home through Walmart+.
5. Thrive Market
Thrive Market is one of the more unique alternatives to Instacart. You don’t have someone shopping for you. Instead, the company ships your groceries.
What makes Thrive Market one of the best grocery delivery options is that you can customize it based on your preferences. You can choose from any of the following categories to select your groceries:
This feature is not something offered by most Instacart competitors.
How Much Does Thrive Market Cost?
Thrive Market costs $59.95 per year to use. However, your first order is free if you spend more than $25. Orders usually arrive in two to three business days.
You can still receive free shipping after your first order, but you must have an order amount totaling $49 or more. Anyone who orders less than that will have to pay an additional $5.95 for shipping.
Pros and Cons
- Wide range of food options
- Lower membership cost than other options
- Free shipping on orders over $49
- Ships from multiple locations
- Not available in Alaska, Hawaii, or Puerto Rico
- Is really only for those looking for a specific diet
If sustainable living and a specialized diet are important to you, Thrive Market is worth a look.
6. Google Shopping
Google Shopping, formerly known as Google Express, is a great choice for grocery delivery. The reason for this is that there is no membership cost.
Like Instacart, Google Shopping ships groceries to your doorstep. Google Shopping merely acts as a middleman between you and a retailer since Google partners with merchants to ship their products.
How Much Does Google Shopping Cost?
There is no cost to use the service. Some stores do charge for shipping, though most offer free shipping for orders under $25 or $35.
Pros and Cons
- You can buy virtually anything beyond ordering groceries
- No charge to use the service
- Free shipping commonly available on orders over $35
- Allows you to compare prices from multiple retailers
- Not as robust as other companies
- Same-day delivery is not commonly available
If you’re looking for an alternative to Instacart for delivery, Google Shopping may be a good option.
Last on our list of alternatives to Instacart is Peapod. Like FreshDirect, Peapod doesn’t require you to purchase a membership to use the service.
The service works with a network of over 400 stores, so there is ample selection.
How Much Peapod Cost?
PeaPod is a little trickier when it comes to pricing. The site staggers pricing as follows:
- Orders $100+ have a fee of $6.95
- Orders ranging from $75 to $100 have a fee of $7.95
- Orders ranging from $30 to $75 have a fee of $9.95
The minimum order size is $30. Although not required, you can join their PodPass program for $119 per year and receive free delivery on all orders over $100.
Pros and Cons
- You can order fresh and organic produce
- Same-day service is available in some locations
- No membership fee to use the delivery service
- Allows you to customize your shopping to a specific diet
- Only available in New England and some mid-Atlantic states
- PodPass doesn’t guarantee full coverage of the entire delivery fee
If you live in an area that Peapod services, it’s worth a look.
What is the Best Grocery Delivery Service?
Walmart+ and Instacart are the two top grocery delivery apps to use. Amazon Fresh is also worth consideration, but lacks the wide availability as Walmart+ and Instacart have.
Walmart+ is terrific as you can most anything the retailer sells delivered to your home. It also has an affordable membership fee and you can set same-day deliveries, often with a specific hour.
Instacart is great for those that don’t need a membership, and is available nationwide.
Grocery delivery services provide a lot of convenience to people. Since grocery shopping takes time, using one of these Instacart alternatives can help you reclaim your time.
On a similar note, if you only want meals delivered to your home, read our review of the best food delivery apps to use.
Using apps like Instacart allows you to steer clear of the store and save time. This lets you do other things and, potentially, avoid buying something tempting.
What grocery delivery options have you tried? How much would you spend for someone to do your shopping for you?