Online Grocery Shopping 101



I have a love/hate relationship with grocery shopping.  I thoroughly enjoy the trips when I am sans children, yet take the opportunity to help build valuable life skills for my kids by making letting them comparison shop.  It was all well and good until I had my second baby and developed postpartum depression and anxiety. I couldn’t leave the house without having some sort of nervous breakdown.  Meal planning and shopping were overwhelming.  Luckily, this coincided with the emerging availability of online grocery shopping options in the Cedar Rapids area.  

Cue the “Hallelujah” chorus.

Now, I’m cheap and love a good deal.  So, what’s a anxious mom to do when Cheerios scattered like chicken feed across the kitchen table is no longer considered a meal?  You make it work.  So, here are 4 popular grocery delivery/pick-up services and my experiences with them:  

Hy-Vee Aisles Online

Hy-Vee is an Iowa staple.  I mean, cheap is cool but have you had their spicy orange chicken?  They have a great selection of natural and organic products in addition to the name brands you find in most grocery stores.  Hy-Vee rolled out their delivery and grocery pickup services in 2015 with options for free pickup at their stores or free delivery to your home with an order over $100.  If your order is under $100, a $4.95 delivery fee applies.  You have the option to either let your shopper choose a substitution for you or they can contact you for you to choose your own substitution should the item you requested be unavailable.  You should also consider a tip for your delivery person.  Hy-Vee is by far the most expensive option, but their delivery/pickup options are available in-house (versus a third party).  Hy-Vee’s grocery service can be found via the app and at www.hy-vee.com/grocery 


Wal-Mart is a cultural experience that one may or may not need a Valium for.  However, their selection is unmatched by any other retailer.  It’s true–you can get underwear and spark plugs under one roof!  While Wal-Mart does not offer deliver in our area, their pickup procedure is fairly simple.  Select a pickup time and choose your items on the app or grocery page.  Substitutions are selected by your shopper and at pickup you can choose to accept or reject the substitution.  For grocery pickup, your order must total $30.  There is no pickup fee, however.  Pickup is fairly easy; when your order is ready, you will be notified via the app and can “check in” when you’re on your way.  Pull into the bright orange pick up spots and wait while the store staff bring out your order.  It’s more cost-effective than Hy-Vee but doesn’t have the perk of delivery yet.  Plus, they pick better produce than I do!  They do not accept tips for pickup service but do ask for a good review of their services, so remember their names if you’re able.

Instacart (Aldi, Natural Grocers, CVS, Petco, Sams Club and Hy-Vee)

Truth be told, I’ve only used this once at Aldi.  For both Instacart and Shipt, prices per item are slightly higher for their services because you’re paying for the convenience.  You can count on paying about $5 more with these services than you would if you did the shopping yourself.  Instacart has two options for handling delivery fees: You can pay $9.99/month (or yearly membership of $99) to get free delivery for all orders over $35 and no extra delivery fee if you have your shopper go to several stores.  If you opt out of Instacart Express you can expect to pay $7.99 for orders under $35 and $1.99 for orders $35 and above without a membership.  You can add tipping onto your total, so it pays to make an order from one of these stores a significant one because you’re likely paying extra fees for delivery regardless of how much you spend at the store itself.  There is also an admin fee. You can check them out via the Instacart app or the Instacart website.

Shipt (Hy-Vee and Target)

Shipt operates in much the same way as Instacart.  For their membership (which is required with Shipt versus optional with Instacart) you can expect to pay $99 per year or $14 per month.  This gets you free delivery on orders of at least $35 and your order can be delivered in as little as one hour.  My sister is my hookup for this service as she doesn’t drive but loves Target.  Her Shipt membership has paid for itself over and over again in trips to Target.  Tips are welcome!  They have an app or you can use the Shipt website.


So there you have it– as brief a synopsis of the 4 major online grocery shopping services as you’re gonna get from this gal. 

Happy shopping, my friends!

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