When you’re too busy to go grocery shopping, using a grocery delivery service like Instacart can be a lifesaver.
With the added service fees, delivery charge, and driver’s tip, the cost can skyrocket.
But with these ten hacks, you’ll learn how to save money on Instacart.
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Can You Save Money Using Instacart?
You can save money using Instacart in many different ways.
Some people think that having groceries delivered automatically makes them expensive.
While it’s true that having groceries delivered will feel like a luxury, you don’t have to overpay for this privilege.
Because you’re ordering groceries online, you can stick to your list.
You don’t have to worry about impulse buying items because you’re hungry or they’re right there in the checkout aisle.
Most stores keep their prices on Instacart the same as you’d pay in the store.
While you’ll pay extra fees for grocery delivery and the driver’s tip, you won’t overpay for the items themselves.
And with the hacks in this article, you’ll learn how to save even more so the Instacart charges won’t break your budget.
How to Save Money on Instacart
If you want to learn how to save money on Instacart, these ten hacks give you the insider’s advantage.
1. Use an Instacart Promotion or Coupon
Instacart often runs special promotions so you can save money on your next order.
Sometimes you’ll input a promo code, but the site or app usually has a button you click to apply it to your account.
Any credit you don’t use stays on your account for later use.
You can see Instacart’s current coupons on their website.
They usually offer free delivery on your first order if you’re creating a new account.
They often provide a promo code on free delivery for specific time limits if you sign up for trial offers with their sponsors.
You can also find Instacart coupons online.
Search for coupon websites to see if anyone has an Instacart coupon code to get $10 off your order, free grocery delivery, or other perks that will save you money.
View our list of Instacart promo codes for new and existing customers to claim your discount.
2. Use Store-Specific Coupons
In addition to Instacart coupons, you can use coupons directly from the store.
Manufacturers’ coupons show up on Instacart, but you have to click on them to apply them to your order.
Some stores run special promotions, like Buy One, Get One (BOGO) sales or Stock Up & Save.
For BOGO offers, make sure you add the correct amount of the item to your cart, so you get it for free.
Stock Up & Save requires you spend a certain amount to get the reward, like a discount or free grocery delivery.
These offers vary from store to store.
3. Order from Cheaper Stores
Many people think that Instacart sets the prices and upcharges items on the platform.
In reality, the stores set their prices.
Instacart does charge each retailer for personal shopping, though, so some stores inflate their own prices to offset that fee.
To spend less on Instacart, shop around at the different stores in your area.
You might find that one store charges more, so you can get your groceries from a different store for a lower price.
While you’ll always pay Instacart fees, delivery charge, and the driver’s tip, you’ll save on the cost of your items.
4. Pick Up Instead of Having Groceries Delivered
Getting your groceries delivered is nice if you’re not able to leave the house, but you’ll cut costs if you can use Instacart Pickup to pick up groceries while you’re already out.
You can still have an Instacart shopper fulfill your order for $1.99, but the fees end there.
With delivery, you have to pay $3.99 for delivery and add on a bit more for a tip.
When you pick up your order, it’s like doing curbside pickup at the store you ordered from.
Your Instacart shopper isn’t necessarily the person who brings out your groceries—it might be a store employee.
You can still tip the person who loads your car, but it’d have to be with cash because there’s no option in the app.
The tip is specifically for delivery drivers.
The pickup option saves you money on Instacart and saves money if you’re already out of the house.
Picking up groceries on your way home from work or other errands won’t use much more gas.
Plus, you’re saving your time by not having to go into the store and shop yourself.
5. Pick the Best Time of Day to Order Groceries
The beauty of Instacart grocery delivery is that you can order groceries at any time of the day.
You have the Instacart app at your fingertips so that you can order late at night, early in the morning, on your lunch break—anytime!
But that doesn’t mean that someone can deliver your order right away.
The time of day you order also impacts the groceries you can get.
So many manufacturers are having supply chain issues that stores aren’t getting as many items as they used to.
Once something is sold out, they might not get another shipment for a week or two.
Therefore, picking the best time of day to order groceries is crucial.
Early morning is best because the shoppers are starting work just as the grocery store opens.
They’re able to get in and find well-stocked shelves.
Ordering early in the morning gives you a better chance of getting everything from your list.
It also ensures you’ll get a shopper to compile your order and deliver it without waiting too long.
If you’re not an early bird, don’t worry—you can still take advantage of the morning hours.
Simply fill out your order the night before and schedule it ahead of time so you can pick an early delivery slot.
6. Schedule an Order Ahead of Time
As the last tip mentioned, scheduling an order ahead of time will save you money.
When you’re scheduling the order, you have the option of avoiding peak times.
Just like how rideshare drivers charge more during busy times, Instacart’s delivery fees increase.
For example, Sunday evenings are busy because everyone needs groceries for the week.
If you schedule your order ahead of time, you can avoid that rush time, so you’re not paying extra delivery fees.
These fees during peak hours can double from what they usually are!
If you’re not sure what peak hours are in your area, the app will tell you.
There’s an orange alert that says your order will have busy pricing.
When you’re scheduling in advance, you can pick the best delivery time from several options to save on the service fee.
7. Sign up for Instacart Express
Using Instacart makes things so much easier because you don’t have to make time to go to the grocery store.
You can take advantage of this service by signing up for an Instacart Express membership.
Anytime your order is over $35, you get free delivery.
As an Instacart Express member, you pay a monthly fee unless you pay for one year in advance.
If you use the grocery service two or more times a month, you’ll save money on delivery fees in the long run.
8. Refer Friends and Earn Instacart Credit
Instacart has a great referral program.
You can give five friends $10 in groceries.
When your friend uses the app to place their order, they use the $10 you gave them, and you get $10 in return!
The referral is an easy way to earn $50 in groceries without much effort.
9. Use a Cash-Back App Like Ibotta
Ibotta is a rebate service that recently partnered with Instacart to make saving money easier than ever.
In the Ibotta app, choose Instacart from the retailer section, tap to link accounts, and input your Instacart information.
Choose the option to share purchase history.
It might take a few hours to link accounts, but once you’re connected, you’ll get Instacart rebates within 24 hours of each order’s delivery.
Because you’ve shared your shopping history, you don’t have to do anything else to get your money back.
Pro Tip: Use an Ibotta referral code at signup to claim lucrative promotions and discounts.
10. Check Your Email for Offers from Instacart
Make sure you don’t send Instacart emails to spam—the mailing list is the first to get discount codes and coupons.
If you have an Instacart account, you’ll automatically get these emails.
Check periodically so you can save the most money on your orders.
Regardless, Tip Well
It’s important to tip your Instacart shopper well.
They’re doing a job you didn’t want to do and making grocery shopping easy on you.
It’s worth tipping well for the luxury of not having to go to the store yourself.
Instacart defaults to a 5% tip if you don’t leave your own.
The site recommends tipping at least $2 per store your shopper visits.
If you left a tip for your last order, the app will use that same percentage applied to your recent order.
You can manually change the tip for each order.
When you tip, you can add it during checkout or add one within 24 hours of getting your groceries.
Tipping During Checkout
On the website, visit the “Say thanks with a tip” page while you’re checking out.
You can input the tip amount and then place your order.
Through the app, you’ll go to the checkout page and then scroll all the way down.
You’ll see “Delivery Tip” with the option to change the amount.
Input the tip, click “Save Tip,” and continue checking out.
Tipping After Delivery
Visit Instacart.com and click the three lines in the top left corner of the site.
Select “Your Orders” and pick your most recent order.
Remember, you must do this within 24 hours of delivery.
Click to see the order details.
At the top of the page, there’s an option to “Rate order.”
You have to rate it first, then update the tip before you finish.
The app also has three lines in the left corner.
When you click that, you’ll see your orders.
Pick the latest order and select the option to rate and tip.
You can input the tip amount and then finish the rating.
Using these ten hacks gives you a great start to saving money on Instacart.
Whether you take advantage of an Instacart promo code or manufacturer’s coupons, there’s always a chance to cut costs on your order.
Hacks like picking up your order instead of paying the delivery fee and tip will keep more money in your pocket.
If these tips help you, make sure you share the resource with your friends, just as you should share your Instacart referral codes to save even more!