As the gig economy continues to grow, more and more services are being offered to provide you with the opportunity to never leave your house. One of the delivery services that continues to grow and is being provided by more and more companies is grocery delivery. Some of the top companies are Instacart, Shipt, and Walmart. Thrive Market is a great organic option.
But the big question on our minds is – is it worth it?
Does Grocery Delivery Service Save Time?
Yes, it does.
Consider the time it takes to drive to the grocery store, plus park, grab a shopping cart, and walk up and down the aisles. Depending on the time you visit the store, you may have to stand in line, then walk back to the car, load up your groceries, and drive home.
With grocery delivery service, you need to spend a few minutes with your computer, selecting your items and putting them in your virtual cart. Thus, the time doesn’t decrease from 60 minutes to 0, but the savings are tremendous.
Does it Save Money?
The short answer is it depends. Considering it saves time, then yes, because time is money.
Yes, if you’re an impulse shopper. Having your groceries delivered can bring savings to your budget. Consider how often you’re going down the aisle and toss a few things in your cart. Each time you deviate from your list of groceries, you hike up the total cost — usually resulting in exceeding your food budget.
Where I believe a grocery delivery service does not save money is if you are NOT an impulse buyer and are good at spotting deals, shopping from the discount aisle (especially meat). Or, if you’ve got the time and the desire to shop multiple stores.
Also, any fees you pay for the service and any tips you give to your shopper will eat into your savings and possibly cost you more. In this case, it will be your decision whether the time savings, avoidance of crowds, and convenience factors make it worth it. At this point, it becomes a personal preference.
Because personal finance is personal.
An Alternative to Grocery Delivery Services:
If you love the convenience of grocery delivery services, but don’t want to pay the fee, or the tip, consider something similar – grocery pick-up services. Walmart, Target, and Harris Teeter all offer grocery pick-up service. Walmart and Target are free; Harris Teeter charges a nominal fee.
It follows the same concept as a delivery service – you order your items online and schedule a time for pick-up.
Pick-up is my personal preference as I’m an impulse shopper. Ordering online allows me to avoid purchasing things I don’t need, yet I still save time. I pick up my groceries while I’m in the area. Often there is a longer wait than I prefer, but I use that time to read a book or get some work done.
Do you use a grocery delivery service? Let us know in the comments below.
Kate Fox is a former CPA, with twenty years of experience in public accounting and corporate finance. Born and raised in Alaska, Kate is currently based out of southeastern North Carolina. She loves coaching others on personal finance and spends her free time traveling with her family or relaxing by the pool with a good book, probably about money.