This past week I was shopping at Whole Foods and left with a whole new take on grocery shopping. When I left the store, there was a sign announcing Whole Foods' partnership with Instacart—and one free delivery per customer for first-time orders over $10. Once I got home, I did some more research and discovered that Instacart has a lot more to offer. Read on to find out how to shop at home and save!

1. Get Instacart

Instacart is a free app for iOS and Android. You can register for free online or by downloading the app to your device. You can order your groceries online or from your device using the app and have them delivered straight to your house!

2. Using Instacart

Instacart is available in many major markets and will soon be nationwide. The app (or website) will tell you which stores in your area are using Instacart already. Instacart uses personal shoppers to fulfill all orders.

Instacart delivery is fast and cheap—and you can control both. Delivery costs increase the faster you need your order delivered. Here is the basic pricing:

  • Your first order will be free and fast.
  • Starting with your second order, you can choose from a range of delivery options (starting at 2 hours).
  • For orders over $35, a 1-hour delivery window costs $5.99 and a 2-hour delivery window costs $3.99.
  • Subject to store hours and holiday hours, deliveries take place from 10a.m. to midnight daily.

3. Instacart and coupons

When you use Instacart, you will access an inventory of products selected to mirror inventory at local participating stores. However, since Instacart is its own fulfillment service, some (but not all) in-store or manufacturer coupons may be applicable to your order. As a side benefit, Instacart offers its own coupons and promotions, and you can join the email list to be notified.

  • Receive promotional and coupon notifications: Navigate to “My Account,” then “Notifications” to set your preferences.
  • Apply coupon codes: Navigate to “My Account,” then “Coupon Codes” to apply coupon codes to your order.

4. Instacart Express

In the vein of Amazon Prime, Instacart offers a special membership called Instacart Express for a flat annual fee.

  • Instacart Express: You pay a $99 annual membership fee, and all of your grocery orders over $35+ come for free in a 2-hour window (you also get a 14-day free trial).

5. How Instacart helps you save

Depending on your schedule and shopping patterns, Instacart can help you save time and money in any number of ways.

  • Free up your time (no more long grocery lines, rush hour traffic jams, multiple store trips).
  • Save on gasoline (plus auto wear and tear).
  • Price compare between local and online grocery items.
  • Access special Instacart-only coupons and promotions.
  • Make special requests (including ripeness, items not listed) and even dialogue with your personal shopper by text or phone during fulfillment.

Bonus tip: If Costco participates with Instacart in your area, you can order from their inventory even if you’re not a Costco member! Learn more about how to shop at Costco without a membership in our video.

6. Earn an extra $25

When you refer a friend to Instacart, they get a $10 credit on their first order, and you get a $5 credit off your next order. You can refer up to five friends for a total of $25 in savings.