Your Guide to Grocery Delivery Services

While you’re pondering yet another night of takeout Chinese food, many Americans are enjoying a gourmet meal that never required them leaving the house. Magic? Not quite. Online grocery delivery services are popping up everywhere, and if you’re not taking advantage, you’re missing out.

Large cities like Los Angeles, Chicago and New York have had grocery delivery for years, it seems that the rest of the middle class is finally catching up to the benefits of having groceries delivered, and for less than you might think.

Services like Peapod, Shipt, and Instacart (and its 2-billion dollar valuation) are popping up everywhere, and you no longer have to live in a major metro area to take advantage.

Services differ, but the model is typically similar: you log on to their website (or that of your local grocer), make your list, and within a few hours, you’ll have groceries at your door for a few bucks on top of your normal grocery bill.

Prices range from $5 to $10, which makes it well worth not spending an hour in the grocery store, at least in my opinion. In fact, if you factor in the impulse buys that you didn’t necessarily plan on, you’re probably coming out ahead. The range of prices typically depends on the amount of groceries you buy, with smaller deliveries being more expensive than larger ones. For example, one major delivery service charges a $6.95 flat rate on any order over $100, while it charges $7.96 on a delivery of less than $100… even more if your order is under $50.

So, the price is right, and it may just be available in your area, but why should you be using a grocery delivery service?

Benefits of a Grocery Delivery Service

grocery-delivery

Photo: Shutterstock

Reduced Impulse Spending

For the approximately $5 to $10 you’d pay for a grocery delivery, you could easily burn through that just buying chips, candy and soda at the register. And if you splurge on that US Weekly or Cosmopolitan magazine, the savings would actually be quite significant.

These examples are just at the register. How often do we find ourselves as the victim in the ice cream aisle, the bakery, or just grabbing additional snack items without really thinking that much about it. The service you choose will grab exactly what you ask them to, and without a box of amazing-looking brownie mix right in your face, it might just save your waistline as well as your wallet.

Great for Meal Planning, Budgeting, and Calorie Counting

Many of us like to plan meals, budget, and even monitor nutritional information for diets or specialty meal plans. Delivery services are great for all of these things. In addition to foregoing our impulse sweets and splurges, the ability to grocery shop in front of your computer helps you to instantly add things from a list, recipe, or even a chat window as you’re sharing recipes with friends.

Outstanding Value for the Injured/Disabled/Elderly

In addition to convenience, the value provided by allowing those with injuries, disabilities, or advanced age to remain in the home, rather than risk further injury or discomfort by shopping at their nearest grocer is priceless. For just a few dollars extra, you can remain at home and let someone else do the work.

It Saves Time

For the rest of us, the $5 – $10 delivery service typically saves us at least an hour or two a week perusing the aisles of our local grocer. I don’t know many people that couldn’t find value in an extra hour or two relaxing at home with the family.

Grocery delivery services are typically a great value, but it’s also important to understand that it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. But if you can deal with not picking each produce item by hand, and running to grab those items you left off your list, they can be a godsend for those of us that constantly find ourselves pressed for time.

If one of the services listed – or even your local grocer  – offers delivery in your area, it can’t hurt to spend a few bucks and find out how you like grocery delivery.