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Which grocery stores have the lowest home delivery fees?

Some chains raising the minimum purchase for free delivery.
Online grocery delivery service Instacart to add 300,000 full-service contractors
Posted at 5:00 AM, Feb 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-20 16:30:35-05

There's nothing more convenient than groceries showing up at your door, but depending on where you shop and how much you spend -- you'll likely pay a little extra.

Amazon's recent announcement that it'sraising the minimum for free deliverythrough Amazon Fresh has some families wondering if there are more affordable options.

To find out how to get the most out of grocery delivery, we visited a Walmart store where delivery has become a science.

From the pro shoppers who scan your items as they grab them, to the staging area where your order is sent out to waiting trucks, everything is timed out for a delivery within a one-hour window of your choosing.

"The one-hour window is so important, so getting that delivery when they need it most is the important thing," said Walmart's Patrick Perry.

Perry says if you do it right, delivery saves you time, gas money and keeps you from in-store impulse buys.

But while many stores advertise "free delivery," there are costs and membership fees you need to ask about before you start building an order.

What will grocery delivery cost you?

  • Amazon Fresh, for example, recently raised its threshold for free delivery from $35 to $150. That means if you buy less than $150 worth of groceries, there's a fee. Plus you have to be an Amazon Prime member for $189 a year.
  • Walmart Plusmembers, meantime, have just a $35 minimum for free delivery. But you have to pay a $13 dollar a month membership.
  • Kroger, the nation's largest grocery chain, also has a $35 dollar minimum for free delivery, but that's if you pay for an $8 to $13 a month Kroger Boost membership.
  • Instacart partners with many other chains, like Publix, for delivery. Fees start at $3.99 for orders over $35.

But service fees vary by location and the number of items in your cart.

Shannon McCaig with Passionate Penny Pincher says there are some downsides, besides the initial cost.

She says shoppers who only do delivery might miss out on in-store savings, such as endcap sales not advertised on the store website.

Plus, she likes to see certain items in person.

"I am very particular myself with my meat for sure, but definitely produce as well," she said.

A few delivery pointers:

  • Be home for your delivery, especially if you ordered fresh or frozen items.
  • Take advantage of digital coupons.
  • Opt out of substitutions if you want something specific, such as a particular brand of spaghetti sauce.

Finally, if you worry about ending up with rotting bananas or nearly expired meat, Walmart's delivery supervisor Michelle Howard says there is no need to be concerned.

She says Walmart's pro shoppers shop just like you would.

"We have to make sure it's fresh, and it's of good color, with no bruising," she said. "It has to be something that we would eat."

In addition, she says workers check the date on meat to make sure it is not within three days of its expiration date.

That is reassuring news, so you don't waste your money.

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