Saving Time and Money With Grocery Shopping Services

Updated on May 7, 2018

Our family lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. My husband and I both work full-time jobs, have 2 little ones at home, and recently bought a new home (that is taking forever to get in order). Needless to say, we could use all the extra time we can get. I have been able to put more hours in my week by using different grocery shopping services that are available in the area.

When I mention the different services I use to friends and family, I usually get a lot of questions. Mostly, people are really interested in the cost. Being a frugal one, I certainly pay attention to the cost of services in addition to what savings programs I am able to use with them.

I’ll break down my experiences with each service I have tried that are available to West Michiganders. The upsides and downsides are simply opinions based on what works for my family.

Shipt

How it works:

Shipt is an app in which you shop via your smartphone or desktop computer. In the Grand Rapids market, the retailer they are partnered with is Meijer. Through the app, select a time slot for your shopper to deliver your groceries. Once your order is placed, the credit card associated with your account is temporarily authorized for a few dollars more than your order total (to account for any order changes, produce weights, etc). Once a shopper has claimed your order, they will text you when they begin shopping for it. They will ask if you have forgotten anything you would like to add. Additionally, you will receive texts from your shopper about any substitution needs. Your shopper will text you when they are checking out and are en route to deliver your groceries. When your order is complete, you are charged the exact total and a receipt is emailed to you. You may also tip your shopper with cash or through the app. If you choose to tip through the app, you will also be emailed a receipt for this.

What it costs:

  • You may choose an annual membership for $99 or a monthly membership for $14. (I have seen specials where the annual membership is offered at $49)
  • Shipt prices items differently than the store. On an average $35 order, you will pay approximately $5 more than you would in the store.
  • From Shipt’s FAQs - “For example, a loaf of Wonderbread costs $2.29 in the store and $2.59 using Shipt”.
  • There is a minimum order of $35 or a flat $7 delivery fee for orders less than $35.
  • Tips are not required but are appreciated.

What savings can be applied:

You can link your mPerks account to accumulate towards rewards, but you cannot apply mPerks rewards or paper or digital coupons. Also, you cannot get a paper receipt and therefore cannot submit for rebates through apps like Ibotta.

Upsides:

  • Groceries are delivered directly to your home so you save the travel time and fuel.
  • You have a dialog with the shopper so are able to make changes on the fly.
  • You are able to accumulate rewards through your Meijer mPerks account.

Downsides:

  • Membership fee
  • Higher item prices
  • Unable to use paper or digital coupons
  • Unable to submit a receipt for rebates through apps like Ibotta

If you’d like to try Shipt: You can get $10 in free groceries on your first order when you sign up using referral code D1C3BC

Text message from my Shipt shopper asking me about a substitution preference.
Text message from my Shipt shopper asking me about a substitution preference.

Meijer Curbside

How it works:

You can shop for Meijer Curbside orders via their app on your smartphone or their website on your desktop computer. Prior to shopping, you select a time slot to pick up your order. Once your order is placed, the credit card associated with your account is temporarily authorized for a few dollars more than your order total (to account for any order changes, produce weights, etc). You will receive a notification when your order is ready. When you arrive to pick up your order, you go to the Curbside lane and let them know you are there via a call box. An employee will bring your order out to your car and load it. When your order is complete, you are charged the exact total and a receipt is emailed to you. Your mPerks digital coupons and rewards are automatically applied. Also, you can get a paper receipt and therefore can submit for rebates through apps like Ibotta.

What it costs:

  • There is a flat fee that varies by store - I am finding most are $9.99 in my area.
  • Prices are the same as in the store.
  • There is no minimum purchase.
  • Tips are not accepted for this service.

Upsides:

  • Your mPerks digital coupons and rewards are automatically applied.
  • You are able to submit receipts for rebates through apps like Ibotta.

Downside:

  • Flat fee

Family Fare Fast Lane

How it works:

You can shop for Family Fare Fast Lane orders via their website on your desktop computer. I suppose you could also do this on your smartphone though I have not tried it. I do not believe there is an app at this time. Prior to shopping, you select a time slot to pick up your order. Once your order is placed, the credit card associated with your account is temporarily authorized for a few dollars more than your order total (to account for any order changes, produce weights, etc). You will receive a notification when your order is ready. When you arrive to pick up your order, you go to a designated Fast Lane parking space and call the number on the sign to notify the store you have arrived. An employee will bring your order out to your car and load it. When your order is complete, you are charged the exact total and a receipt is emailed to you. You can apply your Yes Rewards digital coupons and rewards when you place your order. Also, you can get a paper receipt and therefore can submit for rebates through apps like Ibotta.

What it costs:

  • You may pay per trip (though I have not done so and have not found a price). You may also choose an annual membership for $99 or a monthly membership for $16.95.
  • Prices are the same as in the store.
  • There is no minimum purchase.
  • Tips are not accepted for this service.

Upside:

  • Your Yes Rewards digital coupons and rewards are automatically applied.
  • You are able to submit receipts for rebates through apps like Ibotta.

Downside:

  • Flat fee or membership fee.

If you’d like to try Family Fare Fast Lane: The fee for your first 3 orders is free when you enter the code FASTLANE at checkout.

Walmart Grocery Pickup

How it works:

You can shop for Walmart Grocery Pick Up orders via their app on your smartphone or their website on your desktop computer. Prior to shopping, you select a time slot to pick up your order. Once your order is placed, the credit card associated with your account is temporarily authorized for a few dollars more than your order total (to account for any order changes, produce weights, etc). You will receive a notification when your order is ready. When you leave to pick up your order, you can “Check In” on your smartphone. The app then works with Google maps and notifies the store how far out you are and when you will arrive. When you arrive to pick up your order, you go to a designated Grocery Pick Up parking space. An employee will bring your order out to your car and load it. When your order is complete, you are charged the exact total and a receipt is emailed to you.

What it costs:

  • There are no fees.
  • Prices are the same as in the store (or better if a more expensive substitute is needed, see examples below).
  • If a more expensive item needs to be substituted, you will be charged the price of the less expensive item you originally ordered. A couple examples - a few weeks ago, I ordered a 12 pack of Diet Coke. I was shocked, but for some reason, they did not have a 12 pack on the shelves at the time the order was being processed. They gave me a 24 pack for the price of a 12 pack. Last week, I ordered a 1 pound package of butter. This too was out of stock, so a 2 pound package of the same brand was substituted for the price of the 1 pound package.
  • There is a $30 minimum purchase.
  • Tips are not accepted for this service.

Upside:

  • No fees

Downside:

  • Unable to use paper or digital coupons
  • Unable to submit a receipt for rebates through apps like Ibotta

Ibotta

I’ve mentioned the shopping rebate app, Ibotta, several times. If you are not sure what Ibotta is, your are probably wondering by now.

How it works:

Simply add the Ibotta app to your smartphone. Once the app is on your phone, you can begin earning cash back on purchases.

You may earn cash back with offers for both mobile and in-store purchases.

Simply choose the retailer, select offers you would like, and shop for the items.

Mobile purchases are automatically credited as long as you shop the retailer through the app.

For in-store purchases, you are able to link some retailer’s rewards accounts directly to Ibotta and your purchases will automatically be applied. Otherwise, you will need to take a picture of your paper receipt (digital receipts are not accepted), and scan the item barcode all through the app.

Once you reach a minimum of $20 in rebates, you can request a payout in the form of cash deposited into either your Paypal or Venmo account, or in the form of gift cards from popular retailers.

If you’d like to try Ibotta: You can get $10 when you sign up using referral code dhnqahg

Questions & Answers

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      • Gregory DeVictor profile image

        Gregory DeVictor 

        8 months ago from Squirrel Hill, PA

        It is a big chunk of change, If you use it 50 times a year, that adds up to $647.50. And you can’t earn fuel perks on the charges.

      • Nikki Knack profile imageAUTHOR

        Nikki McClees 

        8 months ago from Grand Rapids, Michigan

        Wow! $12.95 seems high!

      • Gregory DeVictor profile image

        Gregory DeVictor 

        8 months ago from Squirrel Hill, PA

        Thank you for your informative article on grocery shopping services. I have always wondered how they worked. I live in Western Pennsylvania and Giant Eagle is the major supermarket chain for the region. At select stores including the one where I shop, they offer Curbside Express which now includes home delivery.

        While a Giant Eagle team member shops for your groceries, a third-party company (Deliv) delivers the order from the Giant Eagle store to your home. There is a flat $12.95 delivery charge, which is waived on your first order.

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