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InstaCart is a grocery delivery service, and when you sign-up for their service as a new member you get $10 in free credit. They partner with local stores in your area. Registration is 100% free.
What Is InstaCart?
Put simply, InstaCart is a grocery delivery service for grocery stores in your area. Most of these stores are names you’ve already heard of, such as Safeway, QFC, Costco, and even Petco. You can choose to receive your groceries at a certain time, or have them delivered within an hour.
While this service can help save you some time during a busy day, there can be up to a 15% markup on all products depending on the store. InstaCart will warn you before you shop whether there’s a markup, and if there is they’ll tell you how much. So far I’ve only seen a markup of either 15% or the same price as in-store.
We took a look at the selection of products available, and they were actually quite abundant. Expect to be able to purchase almost anything that you’d get in-store to be available on their website. This includes toiletries, diary products, fruits, vegetables and more. You need a minimum of $10 in your cart to place an order.
If you’re not near a computer, you can also use their mobile app. Right now it’s only available for iOS devices.
One feature I do find handy is that you can create a shared cart with friends. You’ll receive a unique link that your friends can edit so that they can also choose what they want. This is great for families, as you can simply pass on the link to other members so that they can add to the shopping list.
Coupons Are Also Available
Just like any store, InstaCart often has coupons available on certain products. They do all of the clipping for you, so all you have to do is add the product to your cart. This includes discounts as well as buy one get one free deals. Right now they’re holding a summer special that gives you $5 off any purchase of $35 or more with select products.
Are There Any Hidden Fees?
Here are all of the included fees that you might encounter using InstaCart:
- Markup – We already mentioned above that there can be up to a 15% markup of products depending on the store. You’ll always be warned before you make a purchase if this is the case.
- Delivery Fee – Your first delivery is absolutely free. After that it depends on how much you order and where you’re delivering to.
- Tip – The tip is automatically included in your order, so there’s no reason to tip the delivery man. The tip is always going to be a minimum of $2 or 10% of your total purchase price, whichever number is higher.
The $10 Sign-Up Bonus And $5 Referral Bonus
When you sign-up using a referral link, you’re given a $10 just for trying out InstaCart. Not only that, but each time you refer a friend you get a referral bonus of $5. The one downside is that you can only refer a maximum of 5 friends, meaning you can only refer a maximum of $25 in referral bonuses. I’d definitely be a lot more inclined to refer friends if there wasn’t a cap.
How Do I Get Started With InstaCart?
Getting started with InstaCart is incredibly simple. Just to make sure you don’t miss any details, we’re going to break it down for you in 5 easy steps.
1. Register. You can register for free by clicking this link here. All you need to sign-up is your email address and to create a password.
2. Add to cart. Select the items that you want and add them to your cart. In order to make things easier, you can also browser by category or select products based on whether they have a coupon or not.
3. Checkout. A tipping fee will automatically be added at 10% of your total purchase price or a minimum of $2. The first delivery is free. Be sure to use the promo code JWUERCH1 to get $10 off your first order.
4. Refer friends. Each time you refer a friend that uses your referral link or promo code, your friend gets $10 in free credit and you get $5 in credit. However, there’s a maximum of 5 referrals you can earn. This means you can only earn $25 from referral bonuses, which is a little bit disappointing. Thank you to everyone who uses our referral link!
Installer can be a great service for those needing groceries and don’t have the time to get them on their own. But is it worth it? For me personally, I’ll probably only use InstaCart once due to their initial $10 sign-up bonus using a referral link and first free delivery.
The reason for this is because there’s usually a 15% markup (depending on the store), a delivery fee and a tip included. This can add up quickly. The only stores that don’t have a markup are the ones that are more expensive such as Whole Foods.
I might be inclined to use them again if enough people sign-up using my referral link. However, since there’s a cap at $25 in referral bonuses, at most I might use the service only 2-3 times. Have you tried InstaCart? Let us know your thoughts below. Thanks for reading and happy grocery shopping!
My name is Jason Wuerch and I'm currently located in Madrid, Spain running a personal finance blog called Frugal For Less. My goal is to help everyone and anyone willing to make and save money through easy and simple ways that don't require much effort. Just because you're frugal doesn't mean you have to give up life's luxuries.