Can Grocery Shopping Online Save you Money?

Jen SmithFrugality, Personal Finance12 Comments

Grocery Shopping Online

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more information.

Who hasn’t fallen victim to catchy marketing jingles and beautiful branding in the grocery store? I’m an avid meal planner and 99% of my trips still find me bring home something that wasn’t on my list. So I thought about trying online grocery shopping.

At first, I thought online grocery shopping seemed really weird and something for wealthy business people or moms of 4. But after some research, I found quite a few benefits of online grocery shopping that would help any average person looking to save some money.

Related: How to Start Meal Planning

Avoid Impulse Buys

You can literally shop while eating ice cream so there’s no way the Ben & Jerry’s display can have power over you. This is the easiest problem grocery shopping online fixes. If you make a list and stick to it there are fewer marketing gimmicks to trip you up.

All Deals at Your Fingertips

I feel like I’m piecemealing coupons and discounts together when I grocery shop. Online they’re all laid out before you so if you’re visual, like me, it makes taking advantage of them much easier.

Easily Track Spending

Have you ever gotten up to the counter and been surprised at the number on the screen? People are waiting behind you and you have to decide if you’re going to be that person who checks to see where it all went wrong. Did I just give you as much anxiety as I have thinking about it? Grocery shopping online allows you to see your price go up as you add things to your cart so your pits never have to suffer the sweat of “price check on aisle 5” embarrassment.

Related: How to Save $27K by Eating Out Less

3 Ways to Grocery Shop Online

1. Completely Online

God bless Amazon. I mean, they’ve taken the menial task of grocery shopping and turned it into fun and exciting legal shoplifting! This company has taken savings and made it a science.

My first question was, can I buy milk through Amazon Grocery? Turns out you can only get nonperishable items shipped to your door unless you’re in select areas. Their Subscribe & Save feature offers you discounts for setting up scheduled deliveries of any product in their S&S store. You can skip or change deliveries for free so you don’t have to worry about looking like a hoarder if you miscalculate usage.

My favorite deal is their $25 off $75 section. You get free shipping on orders over $75 and that’s calculated before the discount. It’s like getting 2 deals! The con is they don’t have a “store brand” so you’re buying all name brand but if there’s something you prefer name brand anyway (toilet paper anyone?) Then amazon is not only convenient, it’s a better deal than in-store.

2. Local Home Delivery

Shipt charges a membership of $99 annually (with $15 in free groceries) or $14 p/m. With that comes unlimited free delivery on orders over $35, an Android and iOS app for on the go ordering and same day delivery. And there’s a two-week free trial available if you’re in a pinch and just need it as a one-time thing.

Instacart doesn’t require a membership to shop through but does offer one. It’s $149 annually or $14.99 p/m. The membership grants you unlimited free deliveries on orders over $35, even during peak hours, allows you to shop from multiple stores (including Total Wine!) Without a membership you pay $7.99 for 1-hour delivery, $5.99 for 2-hours or more, and even more during peak hours. Tips are automatically added to every order.

If you’re thinking about joining PlateJoy they offer a $20 credit on your first Instacart order. They’re both great options and luckily most people won’t have to choose between them but if you do I like that InstaCart doesn’t require a membership. I still think most grocery shopping should be done the old fashioned way and Aldi is so much cheaper than mainstream grocery stores.

Home delivery is a great resource for a lot of people but it’s most cost effective if you do it occasionally and on big orders.

3. Order and Pick Up In Store

Walmart may not be my favorite store in the world but they top my list when it comes to online grocery shopping. You order a minimum of $30 online, select your time, and pick it up (no subscription or delivery fee!) The service is only available in certain markets (surprise, surprise) and the closest to me is 40 minutes away. ☹ If it’s in your area you can sign up here to get $10 off first $50 order.


Online grocery shopping isn’t for everyone but it’s not just for rich people either. I believe normal couples and families can benefit from the ease and even save a little money by grocery shopping online. And it’s sure cheaper than eating out 3-5 times per week.

And if you’re looking for ways to cut down your grocery bill definitely check out Erin Chase’s (of $5 Dinners) free Grocery Savings Workshop on January 2-4. She is the master of grocery shopping and can help you make the most of your money in store and online.

This post contains affiliate links. Using these links helps fund my trips to the online grocery store. Cheers!

Grocery Shopping Online

12 Comments on “Can Grocery Shopping Online Save you Money?”

  1. Maybe 15 years ago, there was a site called I think my parents still have the free glass from the first delivery.

    1. Awesome! It’s weird to think it’s been a normal thing for some people for a while now. I just found out about it this year!

  2. In the UK (where we used to live), online grocery shopping is extremely popular and we did it a lot. I am so surprised is hasn’t caught on as much here. I have tried it, but I find the deals aren’t the same as in the store, and I end up being forced to by bigger packs of things like meat that I don’t necessarily need because the available goods are not the same as the store. I have halted on it for the moment but I’m sure it will be improving over time!

    1. I’m surprised too. It seems even in the last year to have improved a lot and become more widely available. Hopefully 2017 is the year it blows up!

  3. We’ve kicked this idea around several times, but what kills it for us is that unplanned trip to the grocery that kind of ruins the whole idea of doing it all online. Maybe there’s a happy mix of impromptu and online? As you point out, planning the online purchases could really make budgeting easier and make us aware of what we are spending.

    Anyway, we may take another swing at it. Thanks for the great resources you provide in the article!

    1. You’re welcome Jeff! The planning is really essential to making online grocery shopping worth it. Let me know if you find something that works for you. I’d love to hear it!

  4. Unfortunately our online shopping scene isn’t great here! We have 2 main chains and only one (the more expensive one) offers online shopping, and you need to spend TONS to get free delivery.

    BUT a ton of smaller companies offering food/ingredient/grocery delivery have been popping up! I’m planning to try one of the new ones this year.

    1. We’ve tried that before. It’s still cheaper than eating out and definitely easier than shopping and meal planning! We liked it a lot!

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