We’ve been living in our Vintage Tiffin Allegro for almost two years now. We have not had a separate vehicle for that whole time, so we’ve had to get creative with how we get supplies and food. With a good searching of various websites, we’ve reduced our total stores to Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Boxed.com, Brandless.com (sometimes), Target.com (not so much lately), and now added Instacart.com to that mix.
We have used Instacart a few times now. While we were using Walmart Grocery pickup, that required setting up a time, asking someone for a ride, getting to the store, and then waiting to get everything. We don’t really like begging rides from neighbors, so Instacart has proven helpful.
At a previous campground, Publix delivery was available and we used it nearly a year ago. It worked fine for our first experience. Then we moved campgrounds a few times, and at our current location, there was nothing available for delivery. After about two months, Publix and CVS Pharmacy were available. Sometime in the last few weeks, Aldi was added.
How it works
Up to this point, we’ve only gotten deliveries from Publix. The website and smartphone app allow you to monitor what the shopper is finding in the store and make any changes if needed. For Publix, the shopper then puts the food in the cooler or freezer until it is loaded in a vehicle to be brought to you. Once it is on the road, the driver’s GPS lets you know where the delivery driver actually is and how close to you they are. You can send the driver a message if they seem to be having trouble finding your location, as well as give them a gate code or any other info.
Usually, the driver was able to find us fairly quickly. We are not in a very large campground, but it can still be a little confusing. With the ability to text the driver, we can direct them and get them here easier.
When they arrive, they have the dry goods in bags and the cold items in bags within a cooler to stay cold while on the road. They do not bring items inside, but we usually take them straight from the car to the front door. We’ve never had a driver be anything but friendly and helpful.
I don’t know if it is the same for Aldi, but for Publix, Instacart does charge a little more for each item above the regular store price.
There is a $3.99 delivery fee, though with Publix at least, there are so many deals to get free delivery on the entire order if you spend enough (usually $20 or $35) on a certain brand. This can be something like Frito-Lay, or Nestle, or Tide, depending on the day.
There is a 5% service charge and an automatic 5% tip to the driver.
If you spend $100 at once, then it’s a $14 fee to have it brought to you, in addition to the normal sales tax.
If you do use the service frequently, there is an option for Instacart Express which waives the deliver fee. At the time of writing, it is $14.99. That would mean you would have to have four orders for it to pay for itself. Since we only use it once a month or maybe twice, the $3.99 (or $7.98 if we use it twice), is still less than the $14.99 for the express.
Is it worth it?
For us, it is. By selecting our groceries at home, we are not tempted as much to buy random things we see and can stick to a budget and not overspend. The roughly $15 in fees is affordable if it means we can schedule our delivery when we want it to arrive and not have to beg for a ride from someone.
I think Instacart is available throughout the US. The stores that are available to you will depend on your actual location. I assume they have Pick’N’Save and Kroger in the Midwest, Publix throughout the South, and I have no idea about the rest of the country. Since Aldi is now available here in Florida, I assume it is an option anywhere else Aldi stores are located.
They also do expand their list of stores, so if a store is not available right now, it may be in the future.
Help us, help you
If you do go to Instacart and sign up using our link, you will get $10 off your first order and we get $10 off our next order, so please use our link!