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A Review of Instacart: Pros, Cons and Tips From 2-Years of Shopping

Updated: Mar 5, 2022

Click on a category to jump forward:

How it Works || Pros || Cons || Stores || Cost || How Does it Compare

Summary || Tips || Get $10 Off + Free Delivery


BRIEF: HOW DOES IT WORK

Instacart is a grocery delivery services that provide groceries delivered to your door in about 2 hours from several groceries in your area. You order on www.instacart.com or through their app adding items to your cart and then you choose what day/time you want the items delivered. They also have several retail stores as well: see the list here





PROs

  • no need to navigate to several grocery stores

  • ability to shop at another store, if you're item is out of stock at one store

  • saves time for those that have special diets and need to get certain ingredients

  • makes meal planning a breeze

  • same-day delivery available

  • real-time chat with your shopper that allows you to choose to replace or refund items that are out of stock

  • make comments to items

  • how many lbs total you need of an item

  • the size of the produce you want

  • several grocery stores and retail stores

  • big bulk stores included: Costco and Sam's Club

  • Instacart customer service is easy and quick:

  • easily mark an item that was not delivered or delivered damaged and it will be refunded

  • alcohol delivery to your door!

  • ability to schedule when your groceries are delivered

  • accepts EBT

  • has group carts where members of your family can add to the cart

  • ability to add items before your shopper starts shopping

  • ADDITIONAL SAVINGS with: BoujCrew hacks: Instacart Express and additional deals using both Rakuten and Chase's credit card (more info here)


CONs

  • delivery fees and 5% service fee applies (without Instacart Express)

  • need to meet minimum $35 cart (with Instacart Express) to get free delivery

  • some shoppers may not be as familiar with the groceries

  • (ex: difference between flat-leaf parsley and Italian parsley)

  • you MUST be available while your shopper is shopping

  • in case items are out of stock or they can't find things

  • shopper error:

  • incorrect orders delivered

  • items missed upon delivery

  • packing issues

  • holes in packages

  • notes are not always followed = receive incorrect lbs of meat

  • sometimes groceries are delivered BEFORE the time you choose

  • so your groceries may be sitting outside if you don't plan to be home

  • not available in rural areas


STORES

As of 03.04.22. the stores available in the Phoenix area are:

GROCERY STORES

RETAIL STORES

OTHER

Sprouts Farmers Market

Michaels

7-Eleven

Costco

Dollar Tree

Jacksons Food Stores

Fry's

The 99 Store

HMart

Safeway

The Container Store

Sur La Table

Bashas'

The Body Shop

ButcherBox

Aldi

Big Lots

Sunbasket

AJ's Fine Foods

Staples

Quicklly Indian Meal Kits

Target

Target

The Vitamin Shoppe

Sam's Club

Best Buy

Five Below

7-Eleven

Family Dollar

Sephora

Smart & Final

buybuy Baby

Bed Bath & Beyond

Natural Grocers

Dick's Sporting Goods

BevMo!

Restaurant Depot

Total Wine & More

El Super

CVS

Food City

Walgreens

Von Hanson's Meats AZ

Petco

COST

Delivery fees start at $3.99 per order PLUS an additional service fee starting at 5% of your grocery total. NOTE: It is also customary to tip your shopper. Get $10 off your first order PLUS free delivery with our referral code here


Instacart Express is an optional subscription service that provides access to unlimited free deliveries for orders over $35. We found it worth it for the last 2 years, as we've used deals to get us a discount


Layer your SAVINGS by applying Chase savings as above as well as using Rakuten, which gives you cash back for your entire order. In the past month, it ranges from 1-10%.

NOTE: Most links on our website are affiliate links, which means that The Bouj Crew collects a little bit of money or points when you click on certain links. This is to help us with the upkeep and fees associated with running a website, offering products, etc!

COMPARISON TO OTHER SERVICES

With the deals that we propose, I think it's hard to even compare Instacart to others. It offers so many grocery store options than their competitors and the ability to chat with your shopper is a game changer in that it is real-time shopping from your phone. I go MORE in depth with the comparisons in an upcoming blog post



SUMMARY

For me, Instacart has saved me a significant amount of time with the ability to meal plan and add items to your cart as you plan. Being keto (most of the time), it has made finding the more difficult keto items a breeze, as I am now sending someone to do the painful task of searching for lesser known items. I have also found that, in general, the prices are comparable to going to the store (Costco actually has some items CHEAPER on Instacart). You also buy LESS of what you do not need, since you are not in store, although Instacart will advertise some similar items


I also feel like the fact that you are sending shoppers in real-time makes a HUGE difference as you can change/make substitutes at will. For instance, with Walmart, if they are sold out, you cannot get the item. This has been especially helpful during COVID as so many items run out at random items (toilet paper, eggs, etc). Quite frankly, just the ability to reap the benefits of Costco and NOT have to fight the crowd AND parking lot is already worth it, in my opinion (Note: you DO need an active Costco membership)


Our time with Instacart has not been without it's CONS. I once got the completely wrong order - which they let you keep the groceries, but half of the stuff we wouldn't eat! However, customer service immediately remedied, resending another shopper to buy our correct items but you still had to wait all that time. Reporting issues IS easy - you just report on the app if something was broken or missing and customer service refunds you almost instantly.


Of most notable, having Instacart when you're hosting a part is one of the most amazing things ever! I was busy prepping for the party and realized we were out of Solo cups, so instead of having to text all your friends and ask them to grab something for you - you can just have Instacart do it!


TIPS

  • TAKE ADVANTAGE OF INSTRUCTIONS

  • You can leave notes on how much weight you need: example weight of meat or produce

  • I have also left notes on difficult to find items, directing the shopper where they are

  • You can also leave notes on the produce: the greenest bananas, largest possible jalapenos, etc

  • CHOOSE AHEAD YOUR REFUND/REPLACE OPTIONS:

  • Instacart allows you to choose your refunds or replacements before your shopper starts. This will help lessen how much your shopper messages you as they are shopping

  • DON'T RUN OUT OF SPICES, CONDIMENTS, ETC

  • as I am cooking and notice that I am almost out of a certain spice or condiment, I will add it to my instacart cart, so that I know next time I need to purchase it

  • MEETING MINIMUMS

  • To meet the minimums for delivery or free delivery, I add items that don't expire and we eventually need: toilet paper, dish soap, etc

  • PICK-UPS SAVE EVEN MORE MONEY

  • Pick up is an option at some groceries. We have used this at Sprouts and it was amazing. You just drive up to the designated spots and our shopper was already waiting outside with our groceries!

NOTE: Most links on our website are affiliate links, which means that The Bouj Crew collects a little bit of money or points when you click on certain links. This is to help us with the upkeep and fees associated with running a website, offering products, etc!
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