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How to Save Time and Money on Instacart

4 min read

By Katherine George

We all need to shop for groceries, but not everyone has the time or ability to shop in person. This is why there has been an increase in demand for grocery delivery in the U.S. One of the most widely accessible services is Instacart. They are a grocery delivery service that employs personal shoppers to pick items from the store and deliver them straight to our doorstep.

Same-day delivery is often available (in some cases, within an hour) depending on location, and the store options are extensive. Anyone curious about using Instacart or any grocery delivery service, here are some expert tips to save shoppers time and money while using the Instacart app…

Choose the Right Delivery Time

If you want to order fresh grocery items such as produce, proteins, and dairy products, the optimal time to do so is in the morning, preferably when your local grocery store opens. This is because grocery stores tend to restock items overnight, resulting in a higher chance of finding what you need.

You should try to plan ahead and order before the intended delivery date and during off hours to avoid paying extra fees. According to, Instacart has delivery fees that vary depending on the time. Orders placed during peak hours may encounter additional charges. This is known as the “busy pricing fee.” To avoid this, plan ahead and request delivery during off-peak hours or the “fast & flexible” delivery option.

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Filter Dietary Restrictions on App

Do you have specific dietary restrictions (i.e. gluten-free, vegan, or plant-based foods)? If so, Instacart can assist you. The app’s filters allow you to customize your grocery shopping experience by displaying gluten-free, kosher, vegan, organic, or other options for individuals with allergies or dietary restrictions.

Using this feature is significantly more convenient than attempting to decipher product packaging in person. You can also use the filters to view items on sale or sorted by price point. Simply search for the item you require (e.g., milk) and select the filter icon next to the search bar to refine your search based on your preferences.

Use Digital Coupons and Promo Codes

Instacart offers hundreds of thousands of new deals and coupons for those seeking to save money on groceries. To view items on sale or those with available coupons, select a store in your area, click on the “Savings” icon, and choose between the “Sales” tab or the “Stock up & Save” tab.

You can also search for additional coupons on the internet. Other sites that often have Instacart coupons are Retail Me Not, Coupon Chief, and Coupon Follow. Don’t forget to add any promo codes. To redeem a promo code, tap “Credit and promo codes” on the mobile app and select “Redeem.” Alternatively, on the website, open your Account menu located at the top right corner and click “Add promo code.”

Repeat Past Grocery Orders

If you frequently order the same foods, there is a more efficient method to reorder than starting from scratch each time. Rather than reconstructing your entire cart, you can access any of your past orders and select “Add All Items to Cart” for a speedy new order creation.

Following this, you have the option to modify the cart further by adding or removing items as needed. Alternatively, you can browse the “Buy it Again” carousel or tab at the bottom of the screen for your preferred store on the app, and promptly add your most frequently purchased items to your cart one by one.

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Consider Grocery Pickup

Already own a car or will be out during the desired pick up time? Consider curb side pick up. Instacart Pickup allows customers to stop into the grocery store on their way home from running errands or work to pick up their groceries themselves.

This is more cost-effective than choosing home delivery. The amount saved varies depending on location and the distance traveled by the delivery person. According to Real Simple, the difference in fees can start at $1.99 verses $3.99 for delivery (on orders over $35). And Instacart Pickup is free for Instacart Express members.

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Instacart Express Membership Program

For people who use Instacart frequently, the Instacart Express Membership offers the best value. Members get free delivery on all orders over $35 (bewfore taxes, fees, and tip). Plus a reduced service fee for only $99. There are monthly or yearly subscription fees.

A writer on TheKitchn said she and her husband signed up for the Express Membership and got five-percent credit back on eligible pickup orders. They also had lower service fees versus non-membership pricing. After using the service regularly over a two year period, Instacart told them they saved $632.

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Senior Managing Editor

Katherine is the Senior Managing Editor of ActiveBeat and Childhood. She is constantly striving to live a more active and healthy life, from eating healthy, exercising, and just spending more time outdoors. She enjoys cooking (with wine), walking her dog, reading, and recently joined a yoga studio!