How To Start Buying Your Groceries Online

How To Start Buying Your Groceries Online

Grocery shopping–some people love it, some people hate it; either way, it's something we all need to do. And these days when you can't leave your house, it's important to have a way to get your groceries that doesn't require putting yourself in danger.

Buying groceries online is more expensive than doing the shopping yourself, but you may save money overall by doing less impulse shopping and more cooking at home. Plus you don't have to leave your house!

Here are the best places to buy groceries online, plus I'll discuss if it's really cheaper than going to the store yourself.

Table Of Contents

Why You Might Want To Buy Groceries Online

It Saves Time

The biggest reason folks like the idea of buying groceries online is the fact that it saves time, and a lot of it. I know when I go grocery shopping, I'm in the store for at least an hour, if not longer if it's a bigger trip.

When you get groceries delivered to your door, you don't spend an hour wandering aimlessly through the grocery store. For us FI-minded folks, those hours you spend grocery shopping can be better spent elsewhere, like on a side-hustle for instance.

You Won't Be Tempted To Buy As Much

While you're going up and down every aisle of the grocery store, you're often throwing things in your cart simply because it looks good. Those cookies weren't on your list, and you don't need them in your diet.

So, while you have to pay a higher price to get groceries delivered, it may balance out if you're an impulse buyer. When you can see how much you're spending right in your cart online, it becomes a lot easier to curb your impulse spending.

Listen: Optimize Your Online Grocery Shopping

An Overview Of The Best Places To Buy Groceries Online

Here's a simple comparison of a few of the best places you can buy groceries online. We dig deeper down below.

 CostDelivery or Pick up?Grocery OptionsDelivery Time
Amazon Pantry$199 yearly Prime subscriptionDeliveryThousands of everyday groceries4 business days
Amazon Fresh$119 yearly Prime subscriptionDeliveryLocal, fresh, organic produceScheduled delivery (2-3 hour time slot)
Instacart$99 for Instacart Express (which comes with free delivery) or $3.99 per delivery.DeliveryLocal grocery stores9am and run as late as midnight (can get your grocery 1+ hours after you order)
Walmart$99 per year for Delivery Unlimited or $7.95 - $9.95 per delivery.
Pickup free
BothAnything from Walmart stores8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., 7 days a week
ShiptUnlimited deliveries for $99/yearDeliveryLocal stores1+ hours
Kroger$9.95 - 11.95 delivery fee
Pickup free
BothAnything from Kroger storesScheduled delivery

Amazon Pantry

 

Amazon Pantry

For Amazon Prime fans, adding Amazon Pantry to your membership may be a great deal. Pantry has the most food options available out of the services on this list. Plus, with Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods, you have access to Whole Foods products all online.

Best For

Amazon Pantry is obviously best for Amazon Prime members since, in most areas, you'll need a membership to shop the Pantry. But it's also great for those who want to do all of their grocery shopping online. You don't need to buy in bulk like many other online grocery services–and you shop for groceries like you'd shop for any other product on Amazon, making it easy to use.

Related: Make The Most Of Your Amazon Prime Membership

Cost

In most areas, you'll have to be an Amazon Prime member, which costs $119 per year ($12.99/month). With your membership, you'll get free delivery on orders over $35. If your order is under $35 there is a $5.99 shipping fee. Non-prime members in select areas can use Amazon Pantry for $5.99 shipping on all orders.

Features

  • Everyday grocery items: Unlike most grocery delivery services, where you have to buy food in bulk, Amazon Pantry offers everyday package sizes (you can get a single bottle of water or a single box of cereal).
  • Amazon Prime customers get free shipping on orders over $35: You'll receive free shipping on all orders over $35. Orders under $35 are shipped for $5.99

Get started with Amazon Pantry here.

AmazonFresh

Amazon Fresh

Amazon Fresh is a little different from Amazon Pantry in that it delivers groceries from local stores. Right now, Amazon Fresh is only available in select cities. Unfortunately, it's not easy to see where it's available. It wasn't available in my city, but Portland, Maine isn't typically considered a large enough city to have much of anything.

Best For

Amazon Fresh is best for Amazon Prime members who want fresh food delivered from their local grocery store.

Cost

You have to be an Amazon Prime member to shop from Amazon Fresh. Prime membership costs $119 per year, and with that you will receive free shipping on orders over $35. Orders under $35 are charged a $4.99 delivery fee.

Features

  • Schedule your delivery: With Amazon Fresh, you can schedule a delivery that's convenient for you, so you can get your food when it's at its freshest.
  • Easy reorders: Items you've ordered in the past are set in a special page on the site so you can quickly find them again.

Get started with Amazon Fresh here.

Instacart

For those who live in a city where Instacart delivers, you'll get access to groceries delivered from local stores.

But there's plenty of other features that may make you want to go with Instacart.

Best For

Instacart is best for those looking for organic, everyday products, and who want same-day delivery. Compared to Amazon Fresh, Instacart is cheaper–their membership is just $99 a year versus Amazon's $119 Prime membership.

Cost

There are two ways you can pay for access to Instacart. You can pay for Instacart Express, which gets you access to free shipping on orders over $35. Instacart Express will run you $99 per year.

Or, if you don't want to pay for a membership, you can pay $3.99 per delivery. This is a better option for those who may only use Instacart every once in a while.

Features

  • Coupons: If you think you can't be a master couponer with an online grocery company, think again. Instacart offers a variety of coupons you can use during
  • Organic, everyday products: Instacart focuses on fresh, organic products, which is why they deliver locally sourced food. They offer thousands of your favorite, everyday products, so while you might not be able to find everything you need, you can find most of it.
  • Same-day delivery: Perhaps one of the best features of Instacart is the fact that they offer same-day delivery. It's a service that caters to busy folks, so this is no surprise.

Related: 12 Ways To Save Money On Grocery Shopping

Walmart

Walmart

Walmart has two ways you can buy groceries online–you can either have them delivered to your home, or you can get them brought out to your car at most Walmart locations.

Best For

Walmart is best for those who shop at Walmart frequently. It's also best for any location. Many of these other services are available in limited location, but there's a Walmart in most cities, and even many rural locations.

Cost

You can sign up for Delivery Unlimited for $98 per year, or $12.95 per month. This gets you free delivery on all your orders. Without Delivery Unlimited each delivery will cost between $7.95 and $9.95.

Grocery pick up is free but does require a $30 minimum order.

Features

  • No fees for pickup: If you need to save time, but can take a few minutes to pickup your grocery order, Walmart should be your go-to. They don't mark up their prices for pickup customers, and there's no service fee.
  • Affordable delivery: The per order fee for delivery is very low and the annual membership is just about the average price of what you'll pay anywhere else.
  • Available country-wide: Out of all of the services on this list, Walmart by-far has the most pickup locations. Within a few miles of me are three Walmart pickup locations. In larger cities there are even more Walmart grocery pickup locations.

Get started with Walmart Delivery here.

Related: Best Credit Card For Buying Groceries: Earn More Miles, Points, And Cash Back

Shipt

shipt

Shipt is one of the best grocery delivery services, and it's definitely geared towards the tech-savvy. You can order products from your local stores through the Shipt app, and then you can connect through text with your shopper in case you need to make any changes.

I was surprised that Shipt delivered to my area, considering most of the other services don't. In my area specifically, Shipt will deliver groceries from stores like Shaws, CVS, Target, and Petco.

Best For

Shipt is the best option for those looking for groceries and household products from stores they already know. It's also great for those who want fast delivery. When drivers are available, you can get your groceries in as little as an hour!

Cost

With Shipt you have two options for membership–yearly or monthly. The yearly subscription is $99 a year, while the monthly subscription is $14 per month.

Delivery for members is free for every order over $35. For orders under $35, you'll be subject to a $7 delivery fee, so it's really in your best interest to spend more than $35 each time you shop.

In addition, Shipt is open and honest about their prices and points out that you'll pay about $5 more on a $35 order that you order online rather than pick up at the store. The extra you spend goes towards paying your shopper and delivery driver.

Features

  • Delivery in as little as one hour: You may be able to get your groceries delivered to you in just one hour. The delivery time, of course depends on where you're located and how many Shipt shoppers there are available.
  • Your Shipt shopper learns your preferences: Shipt claims that after a few orders with Shipt, your shoppers will learn your preferences when it comes to produce, so if you're picky about what your vegetables look like, Shipt is happy to help.

Get started with Shipt here.

Kroger Grocery

Kroger

Kroger has expanded beyond other traditional grocery stores and now offers pick-up at select locations and delivery to your home or office.

Best For

This service is obviously best for Kroger customers. If it's your grocery store of choice and you want to save time by having your groceries delivered or picking them up at your local store, you should definitely consider using Kroger Grocery Pickup/Delivery.

Cost

If you choose to pick up your groceries, there are no additional fees.

If you choose delivery there is a delivery fee of between $9.95 and $11.95, depending on your location.

If you choose to have your groceries shipped to you there is no fee on orders over $35. You cannot have fresh food shipped. This service is for boxed or canned foods, such as cereal or laundry detergent.

Features

  • Several delivery options available: Kroger is fairly flexible on how they deliver your order to you, offering pickup, delivery, and shipping. You can schedule your delivery or pickup for whatever time works for you, as long as there are drivers available (it's becoming more popular, so usually there are plenty of drivers).
  • Great coupons: Coupons aren't just reserved for Kroger customers that shop in-store. There's a huge section of “digital coupons” that you can apply to your cart at checkout.

Get started with Kroger here.

Is It Cheaper To Buy Groceries Online?

Buying groceries online isn't usually about the savings, it's about convenience. And you'll need to pay a little more for that convenience. That's why buying groceries online is often not cheaper than going to the grocery store. Although, you may save money overall by doing less impulse shopping and more cooking at home.

With that being said, if you want to pay for the convenience of buying groceries online, some services are better and cost less than others. Below is a chart that easily compares the above online grocery services, so you can choose which one is cost-effective and best for you.

 CostDelivery or Pick up?Grocery OptionsDelivery Time
Amazon Pantry$199 yearly Prime subscriptionDeliveryThousands of everyday groceries4 business days
Amazon Fresh$119 yearly Prime subscriptionDeliveryLocal, fresh, organic produceScheduled delivery (2-3 hour time slot)
Instacart$99 for Instacart Express (which comes with free delivery) or $3.99 per delivery.DeliveryLocal grocery stores9am and run as late as midnight (can get your grocery 1+ hours after you order)
Walmart$99 per year for Delivery Unlimited or $7.95 - $9.95 per delivery.
Pickup free
BothAnything from Walmart stores8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., 7 days a week
ShiptUnlimited deliveries for $99/yearDeliveryLocal stores1+ hours
Kroger$9.95 - 11.95 delivery fee
Pickup free
BothAnything from Kroger storesScheduled delivery

Which Should You Choose?

Location

There are a couple of ways to pick the best place to buy groceries online. The first is obviously about location. Unfortunately, many of these services only deliver to large cities. Walmart is your best bet if you live in a more rural community.

Types Of Groceries

Which one you choose will also be determined by the type of groceries you're looking for. If you want local, organic food, go with AmazonFresh or Instacart. If you just want delivery from your local grocery store, choose either Kroger or Shipt.

If you're a die-hard Amazon Prime member, both Amazon Fresh and Amazon Pantry should be your go-to.

Want to hear what others in the FI community think about online grocery shopping? Check out the Facebook thread that inspired this article.

Final Thoughts

Most folks shop for almost everything online, including groceries now. In most cases, buying groceries online to be delivered or picked up won't be cheaper than going to the grocery store, but you may save by limiting your impulse purchases and you'll simply have more time.

Related Articles

 

How To Start Buying Your Groceries Online

Your Financial Resilience Toolkit

Affiliate Disclaimer

ChooseFI seeks to uncover helpful services that help you be financially resilient. However, we may receive compensation, at no cost to you, from the issuers of some products mentioned in this article, including from CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Opinions are the author’s alone, and this content has not been provided by, reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of these entities. See our disclosures for more info.

Save on Existing Loans

Save On Living Expenses

Save & Invest

Financial Emergency Prep

4 thoughts on “How To Start Buying Your Groceries Online”

  1. Your charts are showing Amazon Prime membership as $199 but in the article it is saying it is $119. Is one an error?

    In the Instacart features under “coupons” the sentence is not finished.

    I have been using Wal-Mart pick-up and have been pleased with how efficient it is. I am caring for my mom now and am looking into letting them pick my produce also. I am kind of picky with produce so I have just been ordering everything else which has still been a time saver.

  2. Hi Chris,

    Great breakdown of the different options. I wanted to let you know that there are a few spots in the article that list Amazon’s Prime subscription at a $199 cost instead of $119.

    Thanks for putting this together!

Leave a Comment