Insider Picks writes about products and services to help you navigate when shopping online. Insider Inc. receives a commission from our affiliate partners when you buy through our links, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.
- Ordering groceries and household items online has saved me so much time and money — I haven’t been to a grocery store in months or a drugstore in years.
- I buy groceries via Instacart and use Amazon Subscribe & Save for household items like laundry pods, toothpaste, contact-lens solution, and more.
- In addition reclaiming my time, I’ve also never run out of anything I need since I’m forced to take inventory of items before I put in an order.
I am, by no means, an Adult who has her life together, but I’m actually proud to report that I haven’t gone to a grocery store in months or run out of toothpaste in years. Not because I forage or have questionable personal hygiene, but because I’ve been using Instacart and Amazon Subscribe & Save.
With the exception of going to Costco on weekends for its endless samples and surprisingly good assortment of succulents, I haven’t gone to a grocery store in months. Instead, I use the online-delivery service Instacart. The stores in which you can shop at are determined by your location, but major chains like Whole Foods, Fairway, and Costco are available in most metropolitan places.
There are monthly and annual Express and Non-Express plans starting at $9.99; my fiancé and I have a $99 annual Express membership that gets us unlimited free delivery over $35. We’re able to hit the minimum easily since we do a bi-weekly Costco haul.
All you have to do is select the grocery store you want to shop, choose a delivery window, and put whatever you want in your virtual cart — it’s really just like the in-store experience but without the physical aspect. I’ve been able to buy nearly every item I want from fresh produce to frozen fruit to pantry staples and have never felt like the online selection is smaller than what’s in stores.
The delivery is also equally impressive and seamless. You just choose any two-hour window in which you’re home to accept the groceries; sometimes I’ve been able to get them within two hours of ordering.
One of my favorite things about the whole service is its customer service. If produce isn’t fresh or a boxed item gets dinged up badly during transit (which isn’t often), you can contact customer service and they’ll refund you for the amount of the item. I‘ve also had maybe two instances where delivery was delayed, but they were around the holidays and I was notified early on in the process so they weren’t an issue for me. Instacart and the shopper assigned to your delivery will also regularly update you between when you put in the order and actually receive it, so you always know where your avocados are.
I’m also fully aware of Instacart’s track record of bad management and taking from tips from its shoppers, so I make sure to give an extra tip to my shopper and driver through the app after delivery or directly in cash.
For household items and pantry items like dishwashing liquid, matcha powder, batteries, and toothpaste, we use Amazon Subscribe & Save. It’s an overlooked Amazon service in which you subscribe to certain items for regular deliveries — basically a customized subscription box in which you’ll actually use all the items.
We set up a three-month subscription for the 25+ items that we’re subscribed to, but we really just get the same five or six items each month. It’s so annoying to realize that you’re out of everyday items like contacts solution, toothpaste, and toilet paper right before you need it and then be forced to go out to the pharmacy at some weird time of the evening. That never happens to me now. I’m so well-stocked that it’s like I’m running a mini-mart out of my living room.
If you have five or more items in your Subscribe & Save shipment, you can get up to 15% off on your whole order. On top of that, if you have an Amazon store card (which I highly recommend getting), you also earn 5% cash back on your order. I won’t/can’t do the math, but it’s a great deal. And because it’s Amazon, it comes in just a few days.
I really like the fact that both services give us our time back and help us save money in the long run. I no longer spend 30 minutes browsing through aisles at the grocery store or pharmacy for things I don’t need or picking up three boxes of pasta because they’re on sale for $0.79. I will however hit up Costco this weekend for some more succulents.
Sign up for Instacart starting at $9.99 here
Sign up for Amazon Subscribe & Save here
SEE ALSO: The 32 best things we ever bought on Amazon for under $25
Join the conversation about this story »