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No Time for Grocery Shopping? Instacart to the Rescue!

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Instacart shopper delivering groceries to a mom with a baby

Work, finish off your to-do list, or run those kiddos to all their 5,000 activities, and let Instacart take care of all your grocery shopping! It’s like having a magical grocery fairy in your life! If you’re new to Instacart, it’s a grocery service that delivers groceries to your door – in as fast as one hour! They connect you with Personal Shoppers in your area who shop for and deliver your groceries from your favorite local stores.

Even better, when you sign up for Instacart, you’ll score free delivery on your first order!

Instacart app

Like buying organic groceries? Instacart partners with leading retailers of natural and organic foods (like Sprouts, Natural Grocers, etc.) so you can conveniently get organic groceries delivered to your door!

And guess what? If you want to stock up the break room at work without leaving the office, you can even shop for office supplies or snacks without leaving your desk! Instacart offers same-day delivery or advanced scheduling for weekly supplies or special events. How convenient is that?

Still have questions? Here are a few FAQ’s:

grocery services — instacart shopper holding bag of groceries

How much is delivery for Instacart?

The delivery fee depends on the size of your order and the delivery time that you choose. However, you may be able to get free delivery just by purchasing qualifying items at select stores. Also, with Instacart Express (read more about this below), there is no delivery fee on all orders over $35 (service fees may still apply).

What is Instacart Express?

Instacart Express is a membership option for customers who want to use Instacart regularly. With a small monthly fee or one-time yearly fee, you can enjoy unlimited free deliveries on all orders over $35. Instacart Express members also enjoy the following exclusive benefits on every order:

  • $0 delivery fees on orders of $35 or more (typically $3.99-$7.99 for non-Express)
  • Reduced service fees (typically 5% for non-Express)
  • No busy pricing fees during peak delivery hours
  • Shop at a variety of stores with free delivery on the entire order

What is Instacart Pickup?

Want to pickup your groceries instead? Instacart Pickup allows you to order online, set a pickup time, and collect your order at participating stores (such as ALDI, Cub Foods, Food Lion, Price Chopper, Publix, Sprouts, Tops Friendly Markets, and Wegmans) in select locations. Depending on the store, you may be able to pick up your order inside or wait while they bring it out to your car.

To place an order for pickup, just shop your order in the Instacart app and select a time to come to the store to collect it. When your order is ready for pickup, Instacart will send you a notification on your phone along with directions for how to retrieve your order. Any item available for delivery is also available for pickup.

*Instacart Pickup is included with an Instacart Express membership on all orders over $35. Non-Instacart members will pay a curbside pickup fee that varies per retailer from free to $4.99.

Instacart shopping bag

Does Instacart honor in-store sales?

Instacart does not honor in-store discounts, but they do offer exclusive Instacart Coupons for select items. Instacart Coupons are manufacturer’s coupons that apply automatically to qualifying products at checkout to help you save money on the products you love!

Plus, there are sales and promotions available on Instacart that may not be available in-store – so be sure to keep your eyes peeled while selecting your items!

Do I need to be home at the time of delivery?

Yes! You will need to be there to receive your delivery. If no one is home at the time of delivery, Instacart will call your mobile phone to ask for options on how to complete the delivery. If a customer can’t be found or contacted for an extended period of time, the order may be cancelled.

If you’re not able to receive your delivery in person, consider reaching out to a friend or neighbor to get it for you. Just let the driver know of the change by adding a note in the delivery instructions or sending them a message through the Instacart app or website. You may be able to ask the driver to leave your order unattended in a designated spot (orders containing alcohol may not be left unattended).

Do Instacart shoppers accept tips?

Shoppers appreciate tips as a way of recognizing excellent service and 100% of your tip goes directly to the shopper delivering your order. By default a 5% tip is suggested at checkout, but tips are optional and the default tip may be adjusted at checkout or when rating an order after a delivery. You can add and change a tip amount up to three days after your delivery is complete.

Ready to start shopping? Get free delivery on your first order!

Join The Discussion

Comments 40

  1. Lauri B.

    Love love love this service!! They are amazing. My shopper always texts me during the process to keep me updated on progress and ask about substitutions. This is a busy mom/woman’s best friend. 🙂

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      That’s awesome! Thanks for sharing your experience with us! SO glad to hear how helpful it has been!

  2. becky

    I personally will never utilize this service again. Instacart is terrible to their shoppers. So much so that they’re striking today, so I wouldn’t advise trying to place an order…’ll probably find it hard to get it delivered today.

    • Niki

      Instacart does not pay shoppers well, but please do not penalize the shoppers by not using the service. I do Instacart full time at the moment, because I have to have a job that allows me flexibility to pick up my kids from school, and am also trying to start my own business. I’m currently only making $200-300 a week if i’m lucky. Please, please tip your Instacart shoppers. We rely on tips! As a side note, I used to work for “Shipt”, and they are truly awful to workers. I had only worked for them a month and they deactivated my account without warning or any explanation. I had awesome ratings from customers and am still confused. I emailed several times without a response. Not ok to treat hard working employees like that…

      • Kathryn

        I’ve worked for Shipt for over a year and I make $600-800 a week working less than full time hours. The company is INCREDIBLE to both their customers and their contractors. I can assure you that if you were deactivated – you certainly did something wrong. I’ve never worked for a company that cares as much as Shipt does and I am 36 years old! Instacart are crooks and steal from their contractors so … good luck with them!

        • Niki

          I felt the same way as you until I was deactivated. I’m happy for you but have to warn people as I was devastated! I went above and beyond for Shipt, and honestly felt like it was a mistake that I was deactivated. What was upsetting is that if I still don’t know what happened because they never even told me why, and don’t return emails, which is the only way to get in touch with the ones with answers. That is super disrespectful to do to such a hard worker as I was. If I did something wrong, they should have reached out to me, as I could have had a good explanation. For instance road work on the way to a drop off one time made me late, and there was no way I could have known to predict it.

    • Jodi P

      Yes, Instacart shoppers are striking right now. Thanks for the heads up! I googled “instacart strike” for info.

  3. Becks

    I love this service! I use it often!

  4. Rachel

    I’m dying to try this but I heard the prices are much more expensive for the individual items on top of no store sales. Is this true? Thank you!!

    • Shanna

      Yes – the items are more expensive than in store, along with a fee to use the service, and a tip. It’s definitely convenient but not for those who are frugal.

    • Mary

      This is why I never placed an order. I compared prices and they were significantly higher on instacart than in store. I wonder if people realize that? It’s not just a delivery fee or tip that you pay; every item can potentially cost more.

    • patricialavenz-goff

      They are more expensive. The products with coupons brings it close to store prices though. It is to expensive for my budget besides I have time after work to go shopping. I am just going home to cook dinner and put the kids to bed. LOL My brothers do most of the work but won’t cook or do the dishes. LOL

    • Jill

      I have been using Instacart for over a year and it is the only thing I do for grocery shopping. I have compared prices, some are higher but not significantly from what I have found. I find that overall I am still saving money though as I only order what I truly need instead of buying a bunch of “extra” stuff that looks good while I’m shopping!

  5. Jillybean1177

    I’m an Instacart shopper and I love that I’m able to shop for my sweet customers and earn money doing it! Thank you for calling attention to this awesome service Mary 🙂

  6. Amanda

    How much does Instacart Express run?

  7. Emily

    Anyone have insight to shipt vs instacart for shoppers? I currently do shipt, but am considering instacart.

  8. Spd76hi

    I like instacart better than shipt, Shipt doesn’t do mix and match for bogos (unless they changed it). Also, For all you Instacart shoppers requesting tips: as an fyi, when the order is finished, it asks you to rate the shopper then takes you out of the screen. The default tip amount is 5%. If the customer wants to change it, they have to go back into the menu, pull up the order, scroll down, then change the tip. Instacart should make that a part of the close out automatically. I change it to 10% almost all of the time but it’s a pain to get to and easily forgotten

  9. donnamm

    I prefer Shipt – big time. They’re owned by Target, and most often they match Target prices, and sometimes offer delivery service only specials. I like the store selection better in my area. And, the shoppers who deliver are great. Many say they prefer working for Shipt over Instacart. Shipt provides better training they said, so they can provide better service.

  10. Jill

    I LOVE Instacart!! It is the only way I have been grocery shopping for the last year and a half!! I saves me SOOO much time and money (no impulse buys). Customer service is great with them as well. Anytime I have had an issue with a product (not very often) they are quick to respond and make it right! I order every Sunday for my groceries for the week. Produce has always been good.

  11. Sara

    I won’t use it. In addition to the higher prices, fees, and tips, I can’t see any actual information about it without creating an account. Why would I put my info on another site if I don’t even know if I want to use it yet? I hate that almost every grocery store in town uses Instacart for delivery and pickup. I don’t want my personal info given to a site that I don’t even have or want an account with. I want to order from the store directly. I don’t give out my personal info for just anything. The convenience isn’t worth it.

    • Amy

      I hate to tell you, but your personal info is probably everywhere, even if you haven’t signed up for something. It’s just the times.

      • Sara

        I know that. I just try to limit further exposure. I don’t use any voice assistants. The only things that are ever connected to my wifi are my laptop, PS4, iPad, Kindle Fire HD, and my phones, but they aren’t all connected at once. I don’t use homeshare, rideshare, or delivery services. I don’t connect anything to my bank account. The RedCard, Paypal, and Venmo can’t be used to drain my bank accounts. I blocked the default debit card access to my savings account. I usually don’t give out my email or phone number just for a coupon or promo code. I don’t use sites that force you to create an account just to browse.

        This kind of approach has kept me from being affected by several of the data hacks. It is impossible to steal my data from a company that doesn’t have it.

        • Amy

          Wow, I’m glad I don’t live in the fear you do.

          • Jess

            Sarah is spot on actually. It’s better to be proactive to keep your personal information from being compromised and hacked.

          • Suzy


  12. Karen

    I work for Shipt, they have been awesome. There must be something more to the story about deactivating a shopper for no good reason. They don’t just do that without warning email. I hear Instacart doesn’t pay the full tips and reduces payouts, reason for the strike. Shipt is owned by Target and the prices for Shipt and Target are the same. You can also shop on the website and select shipt for delivery and not be a member of Shipt. Delivery is free for over $35. We are grateful for tips. Remember, we spend an hour shopping and communicating, wait in checkout line, drive and deliver and sometimes to your kitchen counter if you like to do so. If that customer service doesn’t seem tip worthy for some, that is unfortunate for us Shipt shoppers that work really hard. As for using Shipt outside of Target at your local grocery store, yes the prices are about 5-10% higher but Shipt weekly has sales in their app too just like the grocery store. Last week they had spend $20 on pizzas, get $6 credit. This week is spend $12 on Annies and or Pillsbury get $3 credit. You may find, its not that much more expensive.

    • Niki

      I can assure you that they definitely did not send me a warning email! Trust me if there is more to the story I would like to hear it too. That is my point, I never got an answer from them. I was getting great ratings, and great tips which proves I was doing good.

  13. celticmommie

    What is the right amount to tip? Tipping 15-20 percent on a restaurant bill is very different from a $175 grocery bill. I use Walmart’s delivery service which is free. The driver I tip doesn’t shop for my groceries, just delivers them.

    • Karen

      $5-10 tip is normal.

    • Danielle O.

      I usually tip 5%.

  14. Allison

    Love me some Walmart Grocery Pickup! 😍 NO extra fees. No tips. No hiked up prices. You pay exactly the same price that you would if you walked into the store and shopped for yourself. My local Wally has great employees in the GP department. They’ve always picked good meat and produce for me. And every once in awhile, I’ll even get a goody bag! I’ve never been tempted by Instacart or Shipt—Walmart has my money 💰.

    • Liz

      How about Walmart Delivery? $100 a year membership

  15. Susan

    I’ve had bad luck with Instacart. Moldy and/or smashed produce and out of date items. The prices ste about 20% higher (in my experience) + service fee + delivery charge + tip. Honestly, it doesn’t take me much more time to run to the store than it does to put my order together online and dealing with bad produce and other issues. It might actually save me time shopping for myself. It definately saves me money and I know my items will be good.

  16. Danielle O.

    I’ve enjoyed using Instacart several times. If there is ever an issue, customer service is great!

  17. dan

    Unless you are super busy and do not have time to shop grocery at all, I won’t recommend it. The price is 15% more I compared it in costco. For olive oil for example, it is 24.99 compared with 19.99 in store and many other examples. One time I requested 2 lbs sausage and I got and charged for 3.5 lbs sausage- I guess I can’t blame the shopper as the package in costco is not small they might not be able to find 2 lbs a package.- however that is the option you can choose on instacart site.

  18. Klp

    Instacart has been a huge time saver and stress reliever for my family. Having two young kids, it’s hard to get out to the store each week and when the prices are only $0.50 more or less, it’s a no brainer. I get my groceries from Aldi and even with the increased prices, it’s still cheaper than the other local store’s normal prices! I love it!

  19. Judyann

    Well if anyone wants to take advantage of $10 off thier first purchase with instracart, and free shipping. You can use this coupon code.

  20. Allison

    I have worked for Instacart for over 2 years and I love my job! I am an in-store shopper and stay in 1 specific store for my entire shift, I am an employee of the company (not a contracted employee like the full service shoppers that shop and deliver the orders) and I don’t have to deliver the groceries and be exposed to the elements – snow in the winter and hest in the summer. I just shop the order, stage it and go on to the next order. The orders keep coming in one right after the other. The day goes by so quickly and the hours are very flexible so I can work around my kid’s school schedule. I highly recommend this as a part time job if you love shopping, helping others, working for a great company and having a flexible job! If anyone would like to sign up and use my referral code I would really appreciate it! My referral code is: AEVEREST6813F. You can sign up at:

    Let me know if you have any questions about working for Instacart as an in-store shopper.

  21. Natalie Masse

    I love Instacart. I do change my tio to 10%. I shop Aldi and the prices are basically the same. Great shoppers in our area. Did not have any issues during the “strike” with ordering.

  22. Amy M

    I used this code yesterday and it worked.

    Forgot something in your cart? Shop now and get $100* in groceries for a limited time 💸
    ✔️Enter code SNACKS100 at checkout
    ✔️Delivery in as fast as 1 hour
    *$10 increments across your first 10 orders of $50+ purchased through; valid for 14 days from redemption. US only. Alcohol products excluded. Terms apply.

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