10 Cheapest Ways to Order Groceries Online
If you’d rather spend your weekend relaxing and recovering than roaming the aisles of the supermarket, it’s time to consider online grocery shopping.
What are you shopping for?
Different online stores specialize in different types of products, so if you need to fill your pantry with specialty crackers and gourmet pasta, you’ll have different options than somebody who needs to replenish the milk and vegetable supply. Plus, if you need your groceries delivered before a dinner party you’re throwing tonight, you’ll have to consider timing more carefully than someone who just wants to stock up on canned goods for the future. All prices included here were accurate in November 2018 in the New England region. Make sure you’re not still falling for these 50 supermarket tricks.
As the grand-daddy of online shopping, Amazon offers many non-perishable grocery products, which you can order just like you would a mystery novel, handbag, or Nerf Blaster. Lots of the grocery items, however—particularly those that aren’t bulk-sized—are only available to members of a special service called Prime Pantry, which costs $4.99 per month (on top of the Amazon Prime membership fee of $12.99 per month or $119 a year). If your household goes through large quantities of snack foods, canned goods, and paper products, it’s probably a great deal: You can get a box of Cheez-Its for $3.27, Quaker Oats for $2.44, and five boxes of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese for $4.59. Prime Pantry membership includes free shipping on all orders that run more than $40. Check out these 19 tips frugal shoppers use to save money on groceries.
The retail behemoth is Amazon’s main competitor, and also offers plenty of bulk-sized pantry items by mail through its regular search engine. However, because of its extensive brick-and-mortar presence, Walmart is more advanced than Amazon in its ability to sell you grocery items direct from its stores and warehouses, according to a New York Times report. On the Walmart Grocery sub-site, you can buy some regular shelf items for prices that undercut Amazon’s Prime Pantry in some cases—Cheez-Its cost only $2.58 and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese costs $4.50. Rather than having them mailed to your house though, you drive to the retail location and pick up your groceries, which will be packaged and waiting for you.
What’s more, at about two thousand Walmart stores, you can buy groceries online—including frozen items, produce, dairy items, and meat—and pick them up the same day, for free. The chain is in the process of expanding a grocery-delivery service too; each delivery costs $9.95 (for a minimum order of $30), but there’s no subscription fee. Learn the 14 things nutritionists always do while grocery shopping.
Amazon Prime Now
Amazon is gearing up its grocery pickup and delivery model too, particularly since its purchase of Whole Foods Market in 2017, according to Supermarket News. In more than 60 cities, Amazon Prime members ($12.99 a month/$119 a year) can buy fresh and refrigerated items online from Whole Foods through the Prime Now app, and have their purchases delivered to them at home within an hour for $7.99 (the order must cost at least $35) or two hours for free—and the company is focused on bringing the service to more of its locations.
Prime Now curbside pickup service is offered at more than a dozen Whole Foods stores so far, and it’s also expanding. Where it’s available, Amazon Prime members can order through the mobile app and swing by their local Whole Foods store an hour later to grab their order, for free. It costs $4.99 if you want to pick up the order in 30 minutes.
Walmart is evolving their online grocery options: The company purchased online retailer Jet in 2016 and has recently announced plans to upgrade the site as an urban shopping specialist, according to Winsight Grocery Business. So far, the project has only rolled out in New York City, where shoppers can access local bakeries, butcher shops, and cheese specialty stores, but it’s expected to expand to other cities over the coming year. You can schedule delivery of your groceries within a three-hour window on the day you order. These are 50 of the healthiest foods you can buy at the supermarket.
In many East Coast and Midwestern regions, where Stop & Shop and Giant grocery stores are common, Peapod has become a major player on the delivery scene. Pantry items, produce, and products requiring refrigeration or freezing are available and prices are reasonable (a bunch of bananas—at least five—goes for $1.99, and a box of Quaker Oats costs $3.19, or you can take advantage of a special offer of two boxes for $5). There’s no membership fee for Peapod, and deliveries cost $6.95 when your groceries cost at least $100—or you can pick them up at a store location for just $2.95. Deliveries can be scheduled within a two-hour window starting the day after you order—the company says most customers use the service for their weekly household grocery haul rather than to collect last-minute ingredients for a dinner recipe.
ShopRite, Safeway, Kroger, Albertsons
Many grocery store chains allow customers to shop online at their websites, where prices and inventory match what’s in the brick-and-mortar local store. They might let you pick up your purchases in a special area of the store, or they might offer delivery, depending on policies at each location. If you have a favorite, it’s definitely worth checking its website to see what your options are, but be sure to make note of any fees. Here are 13 things you should know about shopping online for groceries.
A number of grocery chains that don’t have their own delivery services up and running are making their products available via an app called Instacart. If you need items at Shaw’s, Food Lion, Wegmans, Aldi, Publix, and even Costco, Instacart can get them for you. It won’t necessarily be a bargain, but it will be speedy—Instacart personal shoppers get on the case as soon as your order has been submitted, and if they can’t find something from your list they’ll call you from the store to suggest alternatives. Delivery fees can vary based on time of day; if you end up using the service a lot you can join Instacart Express—$8.25 per month gets you free delivery, and if you’re an Express member, you can even get items from more than one store in a single delivery. Make sure you’re not guilty of the things that frustrate every grocery store employee.
This even-more-personalized personal shopping service was developed as a way to help seniors get groceries—Envoy shoppers will go to any local store for you, and they’ll bring the items home and put them away as well. Multiple contacts are allowed on an account, so you can keep on eye on Grandma’s list and make sure she’s getting some fresh fruit when her delivery day rolls around. You pay $19 per month for a membership, and then a per-visit fee or an hourly fee for extra services. It’s not cheap, but the Envoy assistants can also help with tasks around the house, drive a client to a medical appointment, or pick up prescriptions. The service is available in 22 cities, primarily on the west coast but also in Texas and Florida.
This online-only grocery retailer has been big in the New York City area for several years and has recently been pushing into new markets including Washington, DC, and Philadelphia. FreshDirect gets fresh food direct from farms, fishermen, and artisans, so the selection tends toward the high-end (read pricey), but you can also buy your staples (Quaker Oats run $3.69 a box, bananas cost $1.69 for a bunch of five to seven). You have to spend at least $30 on each order, and delivery fees start at $5.99. Take a look these 40 smart ways to save at the grocery store.