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Grocery delivery has been around for a while, though its popularity is through the roof thanks to recent world events.
You just add food to your cart, checkout and pay and the food arrives at your door in a matter of hours. These services can save us a lot of time, and in these uncertain times dealing with the coronavirus (COVID-19) they’ve become even more important, especially for people who can’t or are reluctant to leave home.
Keep in mind that right now due to increased demand, delivery can take as long as a week so plan accordingly (and of course remember to tip your shoppers and delivery people generously).
You can also check if your local grocery stores, especially smaller or independent supermarkets, offer their own delivery. They might not be part of any of the larger services, like Instacart, but you might still be able to get the groceries delivered.
Here, we’ll look at some of the most popular grocery delivery services and the credit cards that offer the best return on grocery spend.
In This Article
Is there anything this retail behemoth can’t deliver right to our doorsteps?
Amazon actually has a few options for grocery delivery, with the best deals being made available to Amazon Prime members. Prime membership is $119/year but the cost of membership could be offset by lower prices, discounts, and free shipping.
Amazon also offers discounts of at least 5% on auto-ship orders. This is a great way to save on everyday essentials like cereal, tea, or canned goods. So set it and forget it and you won’t run out of things your family uses on a regular basis.
Amazon Pantry offers anything from snacks and beverages to beauty and cleaning products to, well, pantry essentials. Shipping is free for Prime members on orders over $35 (or $5.99 for orders under $35).
This is a great option for basics such as coffee, household cleaning products, and snacks.
Amazon Fresh is available in select cities and offers free grocery delivery for Prime members. Think of it as your personal shopper who will deliver groceries right to your door in about two hours, although right now delivery times may be longer.
This service is available to all Prime members and is available in over 90 U.S. metro areas. The delivery is free for orders over $35 and the service delivers fresh food from Whole Foods stores. Depending on your location, delivery may also be available from local restaurants and other grocery stores.
Normally, Amazon Prime Now offers delivery within two hours or you can specify when you’d like your order to arrive. However, right now orders might take much longer, so keep that in mind when ordering.
It’s a common misconception that shopping at Whole Foods is much more expensive than at other grocery stores. Amazon Prime members get an additional 10% off all sale items at Whole Foods and there are excellent deals for Prime members only. These discounts apply even if you are shopping through Amazon Prime Now. So if you have a Whole Foods store nearby, give it a try!
Instacart is one the largest delivery services that send shoppers to your local stores to do the grocery shopping for you. Its shoppers can also shop at wholesale clubs, such as Costco, BJ’s or Sam’s Club, no membership required. You can also shop at Aldi through Instacart.
The delivery fee is $3.99 with orders of $10 or more and free with Instacart Express subscription. The subscription costs $99/year or $9.99/month. If you are planning to use this service often, it might make sense to pay for the subscription.
If you shop at Walmart often, check if any stores in your area offer delivery. A delivery fee up to $9.99 will apply. You can also sign up for unlimited delivery for $12.95/month or $98/year.
There’s an easy to use dedicated Walmart Grocery app, and you can have other products that Walmart sells delivered at the same time, such as cleaning supplies.
Peapod is only available in a handful of states. Delivery fees range from $6.95 to $9.95, depending on the size of your order. The service delivers everything, from fresh produce to meal kits to alcohol.
The service operates its own warehouses, so it doesn’t send shoppers to the grocery stores like Instacart.
The biggest disadvantage of this service is the limited delivery area. Delivery fees apply.
Similar to Peapod, FreshDirect can deliver a wide range of products, including meal kits and even flowers. The service is only available in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Washington D.C. FreshDirect works directly with suppliers, and unlike other delivery services, they don’t send shoppers to the grocery stores. The delivery fees range from $5.99 to $15.99. FreshDirect can also deliver wine, spirits and beer.
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Great news for all of you Target lovers – Shipt is one of the delivery services that includes Target. And if you need some pet food, Shipt also delivers from Petco. That’s in addition to the delivery they offer from CVS and chain supermarkets like H.E.B.
Monthly membership is $14 and a 12 month membership is $99.
This restaurant delivery service is now offering grocery delivery in select cities around the U.S.. The delivery fee ranges from $0.99 to $5.99 or free for orders over $20 for Postmates Unlimited subscription.
Postmates delivery staff can deliver from larger supermarket chains, as well as small local retailers. Don’t forget to use a shopping portal to earn cash back or points and miles!
In addition to your local grocery stores, there are ways to get the fresh produce delivered right to your door. You can look at joining a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and get fresh produce from the local farmers delivered weekly or monthly.
In recent years, a few online services have sprung up to deliver fresh fruits and vegetables directly to consumers. Some are regional and some deliver nationwide.
These three services deliver nationwide, but there are quite a few others such as Farm Fresh to You or Full Circle that have limited geographic reach. Your local Facebook group might be the best place to find out about more specialized services or you can reach out directly to the local farms.
These services are on a mission to reduce food waste in this country, as well as deliver fresh produce directly to customers’ doorsteps. The products they sell are perfectly fine to eat and include fruits and vegetables that would be tossed just based on appearance, such as a misshapen sweet potato or too small to sell tomatoes.
Each service allows you to customize delivery and your grocery box and has very reasonable delivery fees.
Farmbox Direct offers semi-customizable boxes of organic or regular produce shipped directly to consumers. They even ship boxes with names such as Green Juicing Box to appeal to specific audiences.
If you are shopping for non-perishable items, you’ve got even more choices. This is of course not an exhaustive list, our intention here is to provide a starting point for your online grocery shopping.
Thrive Market sells organic and non-GMO brands at very reasonable prices. If you have special dietary needs, the retailer offers hundreds of gluten-free, paleo and keto-friendly items. You will have to join and pay for a membership. The very affordable membership is just $60/year or you can pay $9.95/month if you’d like to try out the service before committing for a whole year.
I stumbled across Vitacost a few years ago when I was looking for some supplements. I ended up not buying any supplements from Vitacost but I’ve been a loyal customer for many years. They have a great selection and prices of non-perishables, such as nut butters, pasta, and specialty food items.
The shipping is super fast and customer service is topnotch.
If you are working on a minimum spend on a new card, then that’s the best card to use for everyday expenses, including groceries. However, if you aren’t working on a minimum spend at the moment, these are the best cards for grocery shopping:
- Chase Freedom earns 5% on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter. The bonus categories during the second quarter of 2020 include grocery stores. Don’t forget to activate your quarterly bonus or you will only earn 1X on grocery spend
- American Express Gold Card earns 4X at U.S. supermarkets, then 1X
- American Express EveryDay Preferred Credit Card earns 3X at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1X
- American Express EveryDay earns 2X at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1X
- American Express Blue Business Plus earns 2X on all purchases up to $50,000/year, then 1X
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card earns 6x Hilton Honors points at U.S. supermarkets
- Citi Double Cash Card earns 1% when at purchase plus 1% at payment (2x ThankYou Points if you also have the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige)
- Chase Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5% cash back on all purchases
Instacart, Fresh Direct and Walmart Grocery should code as grocery but it’s always a good practice to keep an eye out on the credit card statements to make sure you earn the bonus points.
Online grocery delivery is a great time saver. In these topsy-turvy times, these services have become even more vital. You’ll have to be patient, as the delivery times get longer as almost the entire U.S. population is in self-isolation.
Share with us your favorite online grocery shopping sites and resources in the comments.
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