Can’t Make It to the Store? Instacart Saves You Time & Money

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Instacart shopper on dairy aisle

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 delivery service that drops off groceries to your door – in as little 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 express delivery for the next 14 days! This is a perfect time to avoid the stores’ long lines and crowds and score all of your essentials and more without leaving the house! Note that some items may have limited stock and delivery times may be longer than usual.

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

Plus, you can score a FREE 14-Day trial of Instcart Express here!

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 shopper handing bag of groceries to lady with red front door

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 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 22

  1. Rachel F.

    Are they really doing this right now? All my local curbside/delivery stores have stopped.

    • Rebecca

      Most locations are still going, and I assume will continue to.

  2. Lana

    We tried instacart for my elderly parents. I ordered with Mom telling me what she wanted on the phone and then it was delivered to them. What we got was rude delivery people, grossly wrong orders, rotten produce and moldy bread. No more. It is way too expensive for that kind of service.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Oh darn! SO sorry to hear about that, Lana. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  3. Mia

    Where I live in Southern California, the soonest I can get groceries delivered via Instacart is Friday. With all the chaos at stores, a lot of people are using Instacart.

  4. laurahartsel

    We used instacart for the first time a few months ago when both of my kids were sick. It was awesome!

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Yay! SO glad it was helpful! Thanks for sharing with us!

  5. Samfs2016

    I saw instacart service on CVS website and tried buying Water gallons but the earliest delivery available is March 21st so not for me.

  6. Amy

    We tried Instancart a few months ago, only one order was right. The others were either wrong amount or wrong item. I appreciate that their customer service fixed the problem really fast. But I can’t waste so much time on chatting or calling them. So I cancelled. Also, their website price is 15% more expensive than the in-store price plus tips. Maybe it’s for rich people, not me.

    • Rebecca

      It depends on the store if the price is inflated, and it tells you on main page for each store.


    Be aware of added charges for heavier items. They charged me an extra $4 something when I ordered a bunch of packs of soda. But I called after and they waived the extra $$.

    • Rebecca

      If you are an Express member ($10 a month) or are on 2-wk trial, you are not charged those fees & others as well.

  8. Rebecca

    I use Instacart & Walmart pickup, and love then both. Definitely pays to be an Express member for Instacart, save so much of deliveries and fees. I am all stocked up for now, but most of my stores are currently delivering 2 days out, which is not bad for how crazy every place is.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks a bunch for taking a moment to comment, Rebecca! Glad to hear you have been pleased with your orders.

  9. sue

    I used this last week because I was without transportation for a week. They do warn their prices are higher than when you buy in the store. I would use it as a once in a while thing, especially because I use coupons and like to pick out my own produce. But, I will say I did get a $15/35 code to try it and my delivery person did a great job looking at expiration dates and fresh produce. I rounded up giving a little more of a tip due to all the rush of orders they must have and to make my order an even dollar amount. My final receipt showed less than what it was supposed to and it was delivered in about an hour. I do not like the fact a physical receipt isn’t given to claim iBotta, etc rebates though.

  10. Jules 97

    I got a yearly membership because my friend had a code. I have one as well…LM6Rm. It gives you the year long membership for just $49. I like it for sports seasons that have me running around like crazy, or if my week gets out of control. I link it to my target so I still get my 1% back, and Pet Store- petco rewards as well. We tip our driver, and our orders have been perfect every time. I have had multiple drivers… I guess it depends on your area. (It also might be a good time to work for them if you need some income)

  11. Tina

    I haven’t tried Instacart yet, but I love HEB Curbside/Delivery in Texas! Looks like their next-day Curbside is free for at least the next two weeks and home delivery is $5. Tipping is discouraged. Slots are filling up fast. My store is about a week out right now.

  12. lezers05

    I tried to order from Costco with instacart. After my order was Placed (legit less than 2 minutes) my account was locked out and order cancelled. I got an email from ‘Alex’ saying in order to unlock my account I had to send a picture of my drivers license and my debit card, front and back. I thought it was odd so I called customer service. I was on hold for over an hour (which is fine I just put it on speaker and continue my day) but when they finally answered the person was no help and advised I do as the email said. Sorry but I will not be sending that information to ‘Alex’. I think the entire thing is very sketchy.

  13. Arlene

    Instacart in my area is booked…I couldn’t ordered a thing for the past few days and future ordering is “unavailable.” It asks for you to “check back later” to see if there are open times. It’s pretty insane. I could really use it, my two toddlers are sick. 😞

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Oh darn! Hoping they feel better and that you can place an order soon!

  14. Elyse

    I can’t seem to get free delivery for my first Instacart order or a free trial of Instacart Express. I have never used Instacart before. Is there a code? Thank you.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Nope, It seems that offer is gone. Thanks for the heads up! We have updated the post.

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