OH MY LANTA! I am super excited about this post! I am sharing my secret (now not so secret!) mommy superpower with you. Wait for it………. I can be in two places at once! Ok, ok, I am kidding…well…sort of. Seriously though, my superpower allows me to be at work and still shop for groceries, get them to the house and still stay within our monthly budget! How do you do it, you ask?
My secret is INSTACART!
For the last 3 years, we have set our monthly grocery budget and meal planned for 6-7 days at a time. We used to order our groceries online, but we would still have to drive to the store and pick them up. Working parents, a new baby in the mix and a fixer upper house, it was nearly impossible to be at the grocery store within our allotted 15 minute window of pickup. Since I also could only order groceries from that one store, I would still have to make a special trip to Aldi to save money on our fresh fruits and veggies.
Enter Instacart! I speak truth (and other Instacart users could definitely back me up on this) when I say this has been a game changer for our family. Recently, we have even been experimenting with ordering groceries directly to our RV at our campsites. Since we are gearing up for our month long RV trip in December 2019, we wanted to start testing how feasible it would be to order with Instacart on the move. During our trip, we anticipate ordering groceries while we are traveling and having them delivered within the hours after we expect to arrive. It is hard enough to remember what is in every isle of different grocery stores in my hometown, let alone finding certain items in completely different states every week for a month. Instacart will literally save us countless hours– no more googling a local grocery store, driving there and back, walking each and every isle to find the items you are looking for, towing your kids with you, checking out, having that particular grocery store savers pass for deals, all while trying to stay on budget!
So…we tried Instacart while RVing and below you will see a picture with our awesome and super friendly Instacart Shopper after she delivered our groceries to our campsite- MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
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What We Love About Instacart!
There are a few grocery delivery services out there but here are all the reasons our family loves Instacart:
- We can order from all of our favorite local stores- from Costco, to Petco, to CVS, to Food Lion.
- Shop at wholesalers like Costco and BJ’s without the membership!
- Grocery items do go on sale similar to circular prices.
- Order bananas from Aldi every week? Instacart saves your top/recent items for easy shopping.
- They have a user friendly app!
- The item replacement feature allows you to set a certain replacement item if yours isn’t available.
- The chat feature that allows you to connect directly to your Instacart shopper.
- The real-time map feature shows where you Instacart shopper is on the road so we can see how far away they are!
- Multiple store shopping within 1 Instacart order.
- Delivery in as little as 1-2 hours!
How Instacart Works
If you are at all familiar with any kind of grocery delivery or online ordering and pickup in store offer that most big box stores now have, Instacart works in a very similar way.
With Instacart, you are able to pick your favorite stores in your local area for delivery or pickup. Add all of your items into the shopping cart and place your order. Once you place your order through Instacart’s mobile app or website, a personal shopper is assigned to your order. They do all the shopping and heavy lifting for you. In as little as an hour, your groceries can be delivered directly to you- whether it be to your house, apartment, a vacation house or even your RV!
So how does Instacart stay in business? Instacart makes its money by taking pennies off of each item ordered. This is why you might not see prices on Instacart exactly reflect what you might see in store or in a store’s weekly sales ad. However, sometimes these items are only pennies more than the store or weekly sales price. I am the queen of discount shopping, but even I have found that items are not that much more. In fact, because I can plan out meals, see exactly how much is going into my cart and only checkout the absolute necessities for the week, our family saves money each week! For us, the small price increase on certain items doesn’t outweigh the benefits that Instacart provides for us.
Step by Step Guide- How To Order directly To Your RV
So let’s get to it! Follow this easy step by step guide on getting your first order delivered.
First, click on the Instacart “Shop now” button below to get started.
1. Enter your zipcode
2. Sign up with email once you see that Instacart is available in your area of interest.
3. Click on the stores drop down menu to find the stores participating with Instacart in your local area. Click on the button for either delivery or pickup. Finally, pick your store of choice!
4. If choosing the delivery option, change your address with the address search bar or in your account settings. We have multiple delivery addresses on file in our profile.
Instacart while traveling tip: If you are vacationing or parked at an RV site, I suggest you write in specific delivery instructions for your driver. For example- “Enter campground entrance, turn left, follow signs for campsite 074, turn left and go around loop, site 074 is on your left.” These are the instructions I used from our last campsite and our driver found us easily.In
5. Once you choose your store, you can search for items using the search bar or use the department tab to search through virtual grocery isles such as Frozen, Canned, Dairy, Gluten Free, etc. Click the plus sign to add an item to your cart.
Bonus info: Some items will have promotions, coupons, or store weekly ad sales that you can use to help save a few $. This week, I can apply a coupon to Chex Mix for $0.50 off of 2. Be on the lookout for these items.
6. Click on the “Cart” button (or the little shopping cart icon on the app) to view your cart or head to checkout.
For delivery, Instacart does have a minimum order purchase of around $35. As long as your cart meets that, you are good to go!
7. Checkout is super simple! Enter or change your address (if it is not already correct). It will prompt you through a delivery time that you can set for up to a few days before your actual delivery. It will give you a 1-2 hour delivery window for each store to select from. I typically place my orders from 2 stores at the same time and set them both for the same delivery window.
Set your mobile number. This is the number that you will get real-time updates to. I set it to Dave’s number when I am at work so he knows that the grocery order is done and on its way so he can make sure he is home.
Set your payment, enter your promo code if you have one and change the driver’s tip. The driver’s tip is auto set to 5%. Depending on the order, we will up this to 10% and at some of the campsites we have even set it to 15% depending on how “out there” our campsite is.
Finally- place your order, sit back, drink that cup of joe and wait! It’s seriously that easy!
Instacart Express Membership
Express Membership Benefits
- Free deliveries on all orders with a $35 per store minimum.
- No price surging during high volume days and times. On a Saturday afternoon when grocery stores are jam packed, Instacart will have a higher delivery fee to account for all the extra time and hassle it is to get in, shop and get out (you know exactly what hassle I am talking about with peak time grocery shopping!!)
- Ability to shop from multiple grocery stores within the same order with waived delivery and service fee.
- Count all those hours of your life you just got back by using Instacart each time you placed your order. Seriously my favorite part! In just 3 months of ordering with express, I got 19 hours of my life back.
What does it cost
So, you might notice in the pictures above during checkout, the delivery fee and service fees for my account are crossed out and labeled as FREE. That’s because I finally signed up for Instacart’s yearly membership. It took me a while to actually take the plunge because I really didn’t know how much I would be using this service. Turns out….A LOT!
Without the membership, each store has it’s set delivery fee which ranges from around $3.99 to $12.99. This price depends on store (Costco is around $12.99 because of the larger items), while Lowe’s food is around $3.99. These prices can go up or down depending on peak hours. Saturday afternoon is going to be higher priced due to the high volume of people shopping at the stores. There is also the service fee and of course driver tip to be added on.
I started doing the math on how many times per month we were ordering. It just didn’t make sense to keep paying all of those fees and not pick up the membership. For $99 per year, the delivery fee and service fee are free each and every time you order on a minimum $35 order from each store.
As you can see, since picking up my yearly Instacart Express membership, I have saved over $185 and counting from additional fees. Soooo worth it!
Instacart Rating and Reviews
I mentioned before that we usually increase the driver tip percentage depending on how large the order is or where we are having the order delivered to. The experience with our drivers have always been positive whether it be 9 am or 9 pm. Our driver that came to our campsite told us it was her first time delivering to a campsite- so cool! She was more than willing to take a picture with us! Talk about super friendly!
After your order is successfully delivered, a box will pop up on your account that says “Rate your order”. Always rate your order, your driver and your overall experience. This rating helps the friendliest, best fruit pickers, and most reliable shoppers to pick up your placed order!
Click the button below to get a Free 14 day Express Trial including free delivery!
We want to hear about how much you love Instacart while traveling!
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In a world of instant gratification, we are finding ourselves at a level of personal debt never, ever seen before in this country. But why? I think this idea of defining your needs vs. wants in your budget and with your spending is becoming more and more important. Even though you CAN have an item show up at your door in 2 days or less for $6 cheaper than a competitor doesn’t make the purchase that much better if you can’t afford it in the first place. Let’s talk about your financial goals and how defining an absolute need vs. a want, or nice to have, can save your family budget!