3 reasons why Instacart is cheaper than going to the supermarket

A young adult looks worriedly at a grocery store shelf.

Image Source: Getty Images

He frequently returns to the children.

Key points

  • Instacart saves shoppers time and energy, as well as money.
  • Combine Instacart with traditional in-store shopping for the best experience.

I live with a mother of two teenagers. We all have food preferences and dietary restrictions (including gluten and dairy allergies). Traditional grocery shopping (taking the kids around town during work hours) wasn’t enough.

Enter Instacart, the grocery delivery app.

Eight months after switching to Instacart, it’s clear that the service helps me avoid overspending at the supermarket. Of course, there are caveats. Contrary to what some people claim, Instacart doesn’t necessarily save you money on gas (more on that later).

But easy delivery has made our lives easier. Less expensive. Here are three reasons why Instacart is cheaper than going to the supermarket.

1. Buyers save time

Shopping in person consumes more time and energy than a Twitter doomscroll. According to the Time Use Institute, the average person spends 41 minutes at the grocery store per shopping trip. Too long. I’d rather spend that time earning money or learning something new.

My housemate used to spend over an hour per trip dragging her kids to supermarkets like Sprouts. Now, she spends 10 to 20 minutes shopping for groceries on Instacart. Features like “Buy It Again” make repeat orders easy.

Grocery shopping is manual labor by another name. Shopping on grocery delivery platforms like Instacart can save time that would be better spent elsewhere.

2. Shoppers can compare prices faster

Smart shoppers look for deals in all stores. While some prefer to memorize which stores are best for what, others need extra help. Instacart makes it faster to switch stores and compare prices.

My household shops at both Sprouts and Ralphs. Sprouts is our favorite, but Ralphs sells Cheerios (a household staple). On Instacart, we can compare the price of Cheerios in stores. If another store sells Cheerios cheaper than Ralphs, we will switch stores.

Please note that Instacart only allows shoppers to order from one store at a time. That makes price comparison more difficult, but comparing prices on Instacart is still faster than doing it in person. Do you have price paralysis? Choose between the The best grocery stores to save money..

Advice: Use two monitors or a phone/computer combo to compare prices side by side on Instacart.

3. Shoppers avoid impulse purchases

Children want things. Like brownie bites. And nice marshmallow cereal. When the whining starts, it’s all too easy to throw these things in the shopping cart (against your better judgment). Also, you tend to forget what your pantry needs when you’re strolling through Ralphs.

Instacart gives my family the freedom to doubt. We throw whatever everyone wants in the cart and decide what to cut at checkout. If we accidentally order too many sweets, we cut some. If we suddenly remember that we need gluten-free salad dressing, we add it to the cart. Easy.

There’s no need to worry about waiting in line for a last-minute return. Instacart reduces impulse purchases giving buyers the power to doubt. Skip the impulse buying madness by ordering online.

Should you use Instacart all the time?

Not necessarily. For one, not all stores deliver via Instacart. You’ll need to shop in person at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Costco (or through their websites, if available). I supplement my online deliveries with monthly Costco and Trader Joe’s trips.

Plus, there’s a rumor that Instacart saves shoppers money on gas. That’s only technically true. Instacart could, perhaps, save shoppers money on gas if they live far from the grocery store, but in reality, the cost of tips often cancels out the gas savings.

For example, Instacart’s default tip is 5%. On a $50 order, shoppers tip $2.50. If the cost of driving to the store is, say, $0.58 per mile, that means only drivers who travel more than four miles to the store will save gas by using Instacart. Larger tips will further reduce savings.

Finally, Instacart shines when you order in bulk. The lowest rate is $3.99 per order on orders over $35. We have an Instacart+ membership, which is $99 per year. Benefits include free delivery on orders over $35, among other things.

mix and match

Shoppers who tend to buy on impulse, don’t like shopping in person, and who spend more than $35 per trip may find Instacart cheaper than shopping in person. For my household, the savings in time and mental energy are enormous. the The best credit cards for supermarkets. it will also save shoppers money on their regular grocery purchases. Consider mixing and matching delivery with in-store purchases to maximize your savings.

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