Grocery delivery service may be a convenience play, but let’s face it — time is money in certain situations. So is an extra grocery delivery fee of $3.99-9.99 worth my sanity some days? Oh honey, yes!
That said, some grocery delivery services are better than others. You don’t want to go into it blindly, left to wonder why you were charged an extra 5% on your groceries!
Here’s the nitty-gritty on which grocery delivery services allow coupons, which require the lowest delivery fee, and which let you cancel last-minute.
Oh, and be sure to tip your delivery person. Grocery delivery isn’t the same as curbside pickup. You’ll need to tip.
Make sure to download the official KCL app for more awesome guides.
Kroger grocery delivery lets you use digital coupons.
Kroger grocery delivery (and Kroger sister stores Fred Meyer, Smiths and Ralphs) gives you the option to add digital coupons to your order in the stores’ apps. These digital coupons will automatically be applied to your delivery order. As far as combining coupons goes — rule of thumb is if you’re able to stack coupons together in store, you can stack them for your grocery delivery order too.
1. Score a free Safeway grocery delivery over $99 if you buy five participating items.
Safeway grocery delivery as of February 2021 costs $9.95 in most areas, with a $30 order minimum. If you choose Rush Delivery, (delivery within two hours of ordering) that will take you to Instacart, which charges lots of fees and marks up the price of your items. For your first order you can get:
$20 Off + FREE Delivery on your first order when you spend $75 or more*
Enter Promo Code SAVE20 at checkout
However, if you buy certain items that are marked online (Pepsi, Cheetos etc.), you can totally waive that fee. Just get five participating items and spend at least $99 with promo code FREEDELIVERY and you’ll get free delivery (of course)!
This applies to Albertsons as well, since Albertsons owns Safeway stores.
Tip: If you find yourself getting weekly Safeway grocery delivery, consider joining the Unlimited Delivery Club, which waives fees on orders over $30. It’s only $99 if you pay upfront for a year ($8.25 a month), meaning you’ll save overall with yearly even if you usually choose four-hour delivery ($3.95 per delivery). Or, you can make monthly payments for $14.99.
2. Only sign up for Instacart Express if you’re shopping Instacart stores weekly.
Instacart Express membership costs $99 per year. With this membership, you get free delivery on orders of $35 or more at any stores powered by Instacart. Plus, you’ll get a lower service fee than the 5% Instacart usually tacks on all of its orders.
Overall, it’s more cost-effective to shop stores that do their own grocery delivery, like Walmart. But if you’re not a one-stop shopper, you can place one order at multiple stores through Instacart, and as long as you are an Express Member and you’re spending $35 or more, you will get “free” delivery. (“Free” because it’s not free, you’re paying annually. But you don’t pay per order.)
ALDI, Costco, Publix, and Food Lion all use Instacart. Other, smaller grocers in your area do as well. My local Co-op is an example of a small, local store that is powered by Instacart.
3. Cancel your Giant Eagle grocery delivery order at any time — they don’t charge a fee.
Giant Eagle may be one of the only grocery stores that allows you to cancel your grocery delivery order without slapping you with a fee.
I’m not saying you should do this as a habit, but if you get into a bind and you need to cancel, do so online or call the store to cancel your order.
Keep in mind that there’s a $35 minimum on Giant Eagle grocery delivery orders. Use the grocery delivery cheat sheet to find out what other stores’ cancellation policies are like.
4. What’s the difference between AmazonFresh and Amazon Prime Now?
Amazon Fresh delivers groceries from actual Amazon warehouses, while Prime Now delivers from Whole Foods. When I say “Prime Now” I’m referring to Whole Foods grocery delivery, since that’s what Prime Now has become.
Even though both services are owned by Amazon, pricing will vary — for example, in February 2021 large Hass Avocados were only $0.97 each on AmazonFresh, but $1.69 each if you ordered through Prime Now.
To make it more confusing, Amazon Fresh sells the Whole Foods brand 365 Everyday Value, and it’s usually the same price as what you’d find ordering Whole Foods through Prime Now. For example, five-ounce packages of organic 365 spinach were $1.99 through both Amazon Fresh and Prime Now as of February 2021.
Both services are free for Prime members if you spend $35 or more per order.
To simplify the madness, think of it like this: If Amazon Fresh delivers in your area, and you don’t mind that it’s not all coming from Whole Foods, and you’re happy that some items are a bit cheaper, go with Amazon Fresh. If you’re obsessed with Whole Foods and are only looking to order from there, go with Prime Now.
5. Your 5% discount through Target RedCard applies to your grocery order, but not your delivery fee.
Just like when you’re shopping inside a Target store, you can either get 1% back in Circle savings or use your Target RedCard for 5% savings. You can stack your RedCard savings with individual Circle offers (but not the 1% total Circle discount).
6. Walmart’s grocery delivery annual fee is cheaper than an individual delivery fee.
Stay with me here. When you place a Walmart grocery delivery order, you’ll pay $9.95 per order. (It’s $7.95 during slower times and in certain markets.)
If you sign up for Walmart+, it’s $98 per year, or $12.95 monthly. So, if you place one order a month and pay for the year as a Walmart+ member, it comes out to $8.17 per order, saving you four dollars if you paid monthly. So if you place more than one Walmart grocery delivery order per month, you’ll absolutely save money if you join.
7. Instacart offers a 30-minute delivery option that’ll cost you an extra $2 priority fee.
In addition to their 45-and 60-minute delivery options, Instacart offers 30-minute delivery for over 300 stores including Ralph’s, Safeway, and Sprouts Farmers Market. It’s available in several cities including:
- Los Angeles
- San Diego
- San Fransico
Although there’s no item limit or minimum for a 30-minute delivery, put enough items in your cart and the app will update your delivery to a 45- or 60-minute option. The quicker delivery will cost you $2 on top of your delivery fee.