Let’s be honest.
We can entertain the idea of having everything together all the time or we can be realistic.
Being a mom is a tough job with all the hats we are required to wear in a day’s time.
Even if we have a partner to help carry the load, or family nearby we can lean on, having outside help can still mean the difference between losing your sanity and feeling the stress lift from your shoulders.
But that doesn’t mean PAYING for outside help is worth it.
I’m a very frugal person, but I wanted to see what all the hype of grocery services was all about and if they were worth it for me.
So I tried a few.
And I realized I’ve been missing out on some serious time-savers!
I’m not going to lie, ordering online is kind of nice. Having someone else deal with the crowds in the stores: golden!
Are grocery services worth it, on average?
Yes, if you are short on time or unable to get to the store. They can free up valuable time and allow you to receive your groceries without ever leaving your home. If time and mobility are not factors, however, they may not be worth the extra expense.
There are plenty of PROS:
- Ordering from home (great if you’re sick or have younger kids)
- Having a running tally in your cart at all times so you know exactly what you’re spending (instead of losing count in your head)
- Letting someone else do the legwork (great if you can’t lift, etc.)
- You’re helping someone earn an income
- Get more done at home instead of driving to and from the store
- You aren’t overspending by having kids along or impulse buying
- Use coupons stress-free instead of dodging impatient looks from other customers waiting in line
- Make sure you have everything you need before cashing out
- There’s no time limit or someone trying to hurry you along
- Buy in bulk without worrying about cart space
- You can check to see if you have enough on hand of a particular item
- Order your groceries anytime and get them within the hour in most cases
- Your shopper wants a great review so they will bring you the best options
- Some stores will replace out-of-stock items with better brands that often have a higher quantity
These are just a few of the reasons I love using grocery services for my family’s needs, but there are some CONS to this convenience:
- Most services charge a delivery fee
- Some even have a subscription rate
- And there’s a tip for those who are shopping for you
- You don’t get to pick your own produce
- Scheduling pickup/drop-offs may prove difficult, depending on your schedule
- Some have a minimum order amount which might prove frustrating if you only need a few items
- Some deliveries take a few days so you need to plan ahead
I think grocery services are totally worth it… in certain situations.
I have an Aldi just down the street so I do my grocery shopping when I’m already out and about.
However, sometimes I am sick or on a deadline and I just cannot justify the time, so I order online.
If you think the pros might outweigh the cons in your situation, by all means, try one or two and see if they make your life easier.
I’m listing a few services I think are worth looking into, along with what I like and don’t like about each one.
(I sometimes include affiliate links, which means I might make a small commission off any purchases you make, at no additional cost to you. You can read my full disclosure here or at the end of this post.)
Instacart allows you to shop from select local stores from the comfort of your jammies and then someone else does your shopping and delivers your groceries to your door.
The first time I used this service, I was so, so sick and felt like hugging the lady when she brought my groceries to the door in the pouring rain. She was a God-send, and I was so grateful.
Instacart services cities all over the United States. Click here to see if they are in your area, and in which local stores they shop.
- Instacart allows you to shop from select local stores from the comfort of your jammies and then someone else does your shopping and delivers your groceries to your door.
- You can try Instacart with a $10 OFF coupon and FREE delivery fees.
- Every friend you refer to Instacart also gets the same deal and YOU get a $10 referral bonus to use towards your next order.
- They also have a yearly plan that offers free delivery and discounted prices.
- You can schedule your delivery as early as an hour before you need or for a later time and date.
- Their delivery hours are pretty extensive, depending on your area.
- You can tip your driver based on a percentage or fixed amount.
- If the shopper has a question or the store is out of an item, he/she will contact you to verify any replacements or you can verify replacements online or through their app.
- They now have a pickup option at certain locations! For only $1.99, you can order your food online and pick up at the store next time you’re out and about.
- Oh yeah, they have an app!
- There is a delivery fee that increases at peak times as well as a small service fee.
- You also need to consider tipping your driver. (Which should be a must!)
- Prices are slightly higher than what you would pay in-store.
- You only receive credit for referring up to five friends.
I find the convenience of this grocery service very helpful for times when I just can’t make the trip out.
I love that they shop at my favorite stores and I can usually get my groceries within an hour from ordering.
They also have great communication with me as a customer to inform me when my shopper is at the store, checking out, etc.
Walmart Grocery used to be for pickup only but now offers delivery, too.
When my friend broke her ankle, Walmart Grocery was a lifesaver for her.
She could order her items, set a time that worked for me and I swung by the store.
An employee loaded my van with the groceries, and I delivered them to my friend.
Boy, do I wish they had this when my girls were still toddlers…
- Grocery Pickup is free, they don’t even accept tips.
- If they are out of an item you originally selected, they will replace it with a more expensive item at no additional cost. (Sometimes the new items have a higher serving size, too!)
- Anyone can pick up the groceries, you just need the confirmation number.
- You never have to exit the vehicle, the store associate loads everything.
- They have a referral program that awards you $10 for new customers who spend $50 or more.
- Their item descriptions include nutritional labels.
- They list similar items so you can compare prices.
- They have a yearly plan, but it only offers free delivery. You can try this out for 15 days free.
- Their prices are the same as store prices.
- You can add general merchandise items to your order.
- They, too, have an app.
- Delivery fees start at $7.95.
- There is a $30 minimum.
- You can have delivery as soon as three to four hours after ordering.
I would probably only stick to pick up at Walmart.
Even though I have to leave the house to get the groceries, the shopping is done for me (at no additional cost) and that saves me time and money.
If you have never heard of Imperfect Foods, that’s ok.
They are relatively new, but I am excited to see this company really take off.
Imperfect Foods started out of a desire to stop the billions of dollars of food waste each year. All because a fruit or vegetable wasn’t pretty enough for store shelves.
So Imperfect Foods came up with a subscription plan to save those perfectly edible rejects for consumers like us who don’t judge by appearances, only taste.
They have since expanded their line of items to include other cooking staples but their main goal is still the same.
It’s super simple to use: you pick a plan that’s right for your family, customize the fruit/veggies you want and enjoy once they arrive.
- Produce is generally cheaper than what you would pay in-store
- They offer a variety of produce so you can try things you might not have thought to try before
- Save money on gas by getting all your produce in one order
- Save time by not going to multiple stores for what you need
- They pack your food in such a way that you need not be home to receive the delivery
- They send out a text or email letting you know your package is being delivered
- If your driver is an Imperfect Driver you will get a tracking link so you know how far away your package is
- They offer an organic option
- They offer seasonal produce which is better tasting in-season
- Their website is very thorough with answering questions you might have
- You can add additions to your subscriptions, like a dairy or protein add on
- Depending on the location of their farms, they may not deliver in your area
- Delivery times are limited in some areas
- There is a delivery fee
- Some dairy might be short-coded, meaning you have about a week to use before the expiration date. They are forthright in the description so you know before you buy.
- Some meat comes semi-frozen so you will need to plan to cook it that week
If you use produce regularly, this grocery service is worth looking into.
Especially if you are concerned with where your produce is farmed and how.
imperfect Food is not only concerned with food waste but is careful with what food they offer their customers.
I have been using Vitacost for several years now, thanks to a recommendation from a friend.
Vitacost is a company that sells grocery items, vitamins and supplements at a reduced price. If I need something I can’t readily find here, they are my first stop.
- Their items are often on sale
- Their BOGO deals are amazing
- They offer a subscription discount
- The company goes above and beyond to make things right if something isn’t right with your order
- There are great coupons in their newsletters, especially if you haven’t put in an order in a few months
- Their website has great recipes and informative articles
- They are not receiving returns during Covid-19, so I will wait until they lift this before placing an order
- They do not have a vast selection to choose from (like Amazon, for example) but I have always been satisfied with every product
I love Vitacost and how they take care of their customers.
I had ordered a box that was delivered and stolen from my front door before I got home.
Vitacost replaced the entire order when they didn’t have to. That right there earned them a customer for life.
I know there are plenty of grocery services out there to choose from, but these are my favorite and definitely worth a try if you have never used one yourself.
Just remember, they aren’t always worth it. But the more work I’m putting in at home, the more valuable their services have become to me.
Depending on your situation, you might find that going this direction has been worth it. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Do you find them helpful? Do you have a favorite grocery service that you use?
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*As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, but if I am recommending an item in my post, it is only because I have used it myself or have done enough research on the product to feel it is a good fit for my readers.
About the author
Kimberly McGraw is the founder of Life Worth the Living, a blog focused on helping mothers live their best life. Her desire is to help moms find purpose in who they are as a person, not just as a mom. Life Worth the Living has been featured in Making Sense of Cents, Outwit Trade and Believe and Create.