By some estimates, online grocery shopping is expected to grow into a $100 billion industry by 2025. While Amazon currently leads the pack thanks to its Amazon Prime membership benefits and the recent acquisition of Whole Foods, there are a couple great alternatives for consumers who don’t have Prime memberships or want to shop from local stores.
How to Save Money Shopping with InstaCart
One grocery delivery service that’s been increasingly popular lately is Instacart, which lets you order food from your favorite grocery stores (much more variety than Amazon’s offerings) and save money on groceries without leaving the house. Whether you exclusively order groceries online (and want better options) or you’ve always gone to the grocery store yourself, here’s what you need to know to determine if Instacart would be right for your situation:
Local Grocery Deliveries
The number of stores Instacart offers deliveries from is unparalleled among most other same-day delivery services. Not only can you order food from medium and large chain grocery stores in your area, but you can also order supplies from Petco, CVS, Total Wine, Bevmo, Costco, and Sam’s Club, to name a few.
Instacart is also useful for busy consumers who want to save money on monthly grocery bills because you can easily find exclusive coupons for hundreds of items right on their website! Some deals even come with free delivery discounts if you purchase certain quantities of a promoted item, while other deals simply offer lower prices on the items you add to your cart.
This means you’ll save quite a bit of time when it comes to both clipping coupons and shopping for groceries, while other delivery services simply charge you whatever the retail price in the store is for an item. Get your groceries delivered in as little as 1 hour with Instacart
What Locations Does Instacart Cover?
Instacart doesn’t operate everywhere in the US (yet), but if you live in a major city or metropolitan area, then the odds that Instacart covers your zip code are in your favor. Fortunately, you can check to see if Instacart delivers in your area by entering your location on their website before signing up for anything. Depending on where you live, you could get groceries delivered to your doorstep in as little as 2 hours. Get groceries delivered from your favorite stores with Instacart.
If you’d rather pay a flat fee for your deliveries (or get unlimited free deliveries on orders of $35 or more), then Instacart Express would be worth looking into. After a 14-day free trial, you’ll pay $149 per year thereafter (barely more than an Amazon Prime membership, with many more stores available to choose from). When you have an Instacart Express subscription, you’ll be able to save a fortune by avoiding high delivery fees during peak hours and accessing the unlimited delivery option.
If paying for an annual subscription upfront doesn’t sound like it would work for you, then you might be able to get Instacart’s month-to-month Express membership for just $14.99 per month (depending on where you live). Regardless of which option you choose, it’s incredibly convenient to be able to schedule grocery deliveries right to your doorstep, whether you need the items in 2 hours, 8 hours, or even 6 days (Instacart is all about flexibility for its members).
Should You Sign Up for Instacart?
Don’t be deterred by the $149 annual price tag for an Instacart subscription because it can save you a lot of time (driving to/from the store, searching for items on your list, carrying bags into your house) and money (on gas and groceries). Unless you’re firm about picking out your own produce or you actually enjoy going grocery shopping, Instacart is a brilliant solution for folks who want the benefits of coupon clipping and budget-conscious shopping without the hassle of spending a couple hours at the grocery store every week.
Without Instacart Express, you could pay $5.99 per delivery (more if you request the 2-hour delivery option). The cost of single deliveries isn’t too burdensome, all things considered, but the annual or monthly membership options are highly valuable for individuals and families who would otherwise have to make multiple trips to the store in the span of a week.
All in all, Instacart has made great strides in the online grocery shopping and delivery industry since the company was founded in 2012. Having groceries delivered right to your doorstep is a seriously convenient option for anyone who’s busy with a job or family (or seniors who can’t get around easily), so try out Instacart today to see how it can transform your grocery shopping trips. Grocery delivery at your fingertips. Sign-up for Instacart’s Express FREE 14 day trial*
How to Make Extra Income Shopping with InstaCart
Whether you’re employed full-time and simply want to supplement your regular income or you’re a broke college student who wants to take on another side hustle to pay the bills, there are plenty of ways to make good money on the side without a long-term commitment.
Some people drive for Uber/Lyft or sell crafts and handmade trinkets on Etsy. Other people offer freelance services on Fiverr. Thanks to the rising gig economy, there are opportunities for almost anyone to make money using their own talents beyond the confines of a typical employment situation.
Another money-making option you might not have considered is shopping with InstaCart. This company charges $5.99 to $7.99 for home grocery deliveries from local stores (or customers can pay a $149 annual membership to get free, 2-hour deliveries on orders of $35 or more). It’s a great time-saver for anyone too busy to go grocery shopping on their own and it can be a great way to make money on the side if you enjoy grocery shopping and driving around town.
In areas where InstaCart is available, there are two ways to make money as a shopper. Explore the pros and cons of each before deciding if shopping for InstaCart is a worthwhile side gig for your lifestyle and income needs.
As a full-service Instacart shopper, you would work as an independent contractor and use your own vehicle to make grocery deliveries to InstaCart customers’ homes. You get to set your own hours and schedule, and InstaCart pays full-service shoppers on a weekly basis, which makes this a great income opportunity for anyone who gets paid every two weeks or once per month (those mid-month bills won’t pay themselves!).
The basic requirements to become a full-service shopper include 18+ years old, eligible to work in the U.S., consistent access to a reliable vehicle, access to a relatively newer smartphone (e.g., iPhone 5 and up), and the ability to lift 30-40lbs without assistance.
According to Glassdoor’s salary reports, the average full-service InstaCart shopper makes about $10/hour (though income reportedly ranges from $7-20 per hour). InstaCart also lets customers tip their delivery drivers, which could boost your income. Since you are classified as an independent contractor in the full-service shopper position, you could potentially write off vehicle-related expenses on your taxes; however, the downside of this classification is that you only get paid when you’re actively receiving orders from customers and making deliveries.
As an in-store Instacart shopper, you would work almost entirely inside a grocery store, rather than going out and about to make deliveries. InstaCart classifies in-store shoppers as part-time employees, so you wouldn’t be 100% responsible for managing your taxes (as you would in a full-service shopper position). InstaCart’s website also claims this position offers flexible work opportunities, so this is most ideal for college students, retired folks, or part-time employees seeking additional work.
In-store shoppers find items listed on customers’ shopping lists in the grocery aisles and bag orders right in the store. You won’t be making deliveries on your own, so no vehicle is required for this position.
Should You Shop for InstaCart?
There are plenty of side income opportunities out there, but InstaCart is unique in that both independent contractor and part-time employee positions are available. If you’re trying to save up more money for a major purchase or supplement your retirement income, shopping with InstaCart can be a fun and a relatively easy way to make money on the side.
If you can’t stand driving, then working as an in-store shopper is likely the best fit for you. Since InstaCart offers deliveries from several different stores (not just major grocery chains, but also warehouse stores like Costco, liquor stores like Total Wine and animal stores like Petco), you have more options as an in-store shopper than you might think.
If you like exploring new places and discovering new grocery items you might not have known existed, then working for InstaCart as a full-service shopper could be a good chance to get outside, get active and boost your income while you’re at it. This position is ideal for stay-at-home parents (who wouldn’t be able to bring the kids if you worked as an in-store shopper), college students who need to work around their class schedules, and retirees who want to make money without going back to a traditional job.