How Grocery Delivery Can Save You Money

Want to cut your food budget? Online grocery shopping can mean big savings, even when you account for delivery fees and tips.

Find the right coupons

Another downside to grocery delivery is that you can’t use paper coupons or virtual ones downloaded from sites like CouponMom or AFullCup.

However, companies that deliver groceries have their own digital coupons. Take a minute to search for them, and watch your savings grow.

“Shop the online sales and use the online coupons and you may beat the price of shopping sales at your local store, without the hassle of going there,” says Stephanie Nelson of

She also suggests combining free shipping provided to Amazon Prime members with that site’s sales and digital coupons, or to sign up for its Subscribe & Save service, which provides a 20 percent discount for regularly scheduled deliveries.

“You can frequently beat the cost of your local stores,” Nelson says. “We’ve seen great deals for bath tissue and paper towels, and it’s nice to get those big, bulky items delivered free.”

More tips to come out ahead

Grocery delivery could be a potential money-saver as well as a tremendous convenience. A few more tips for an optimal experience:

Plan carefully: Prepare just as you do with in-person grocery shopping — read the ads, decide on a menu, check your cupboards and make a list. (Pro tip: Each time Birken runs low on a product she adds it to her grocery order right away.)

Be flexible: Some retailers give discounts for choosing a less-popular delivery window or a broader one (e.g., four hours instead of two). Others reduce the fee for a bigger order, so you could have staples delivered once a month and produce and dairy dropped off every couple of weeks (or, as noted, you could go get those yourself).

Look for other discounts: When you join, you’ll likely get a period of free deliveries. Coupon sites like RetailMeNot and regularly offer discount codes.

Online grocery shopping isn’t for everyone. But since you can generally get some initial deliveries for free, consider giving it a try. When you’ve finished making your shopping list, check the total and see if it’s noticeably different from what you usually spend. If so, congratulations on having skipped the add-ons that can make in-store shopping so pricy.

One use for some of the money you save: tipping the driver. No hard-and-fast rule exists, and a gratuity isn’t required, but the consensus seems to be $3 to $5, possibly more for orders that are particularly difficult. Could you really stiff a guy or gal who made three trips up and down the stairs to bring an order that included cases of bottled water and a jumbo box of cat litter?

Do you get some or all of your groceries delivered? What’s your experience with that service? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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