Instacart is a complicated beast. While it provides an unparalleled level of convenience when it comes to grocery shopping, it definitely isn’t cheap. Much like Postmates, DoorDash, and any other third party delivery service, you’re going to deal with hefty fees and upcharges that may not always feel worth it.
In 2022, Instacart rolled out its own subscription-based initiative, Instacart+. Formerly Instacart Express, the service is meant to save you money by charging a subscription fee in order to reduce overall costs.
Is Instacart's membership fee worth it? How much can you even save? I signed up and found out.
Instacart+ Features & Pricing
So, what does Instacart+ do for you? There are two membership options, one billed annually and one monthly. Like most subscription services, the annual membership plan will save you a bit of money — $99 for a year, rather than a monthly membership fee of $9.99.
As for benefits, this is where Instacart starts to get vague. The flagship perk for Instacart+ is free delivery on any order over $35. You’ll also get “reduced” service fees, though Instacart is unwilling to provide a specific number for that. The big claim Instacart makes is that you’ll save about $7 per order.
One thing is certain: You shouldn't bother with Instacart+ if you are planning on any orders under $35. Even with an Instacart+ account, orders that don't hit the minimum will land you several fees, as seen in the receipt above.
Here’s an order that meets the minimum at $48. You’re skipping the $8 delivery fee and you’ve got $1.50 off in fees, for a savings of about $10. That said, “free delivery” seems to be a bit of generous wording, as there are still plenty of other fees to deal with.
lmao my instacart shopper replaced a dozen roses with A POTATO pic.twitter.com/VZTa6NDOUV— jürden🐞🌿 (she/they) (@polyam_princess) February 14, 2023
For the average shopper, Instacart+ probably isn’t worth it. I, however, happen to fill my body with junk food for a living and write about it right here on this website. For somebody like me who can’t look a checkout clerk in the face while buying nine different kinds of hummus and nothing else, it’s wonderful to be able to pass the buck to some other poor sap. If you, like me, need to go to the grocery store multiple times a week, this might be worth it.
But just because you’re not paying extra Instacart fees, it doesn’t mean you’re saving money. Some of the fees — like service fees — are still there. The only thing you’re really saving when it comes to Instacart+ is time. Not to say that time isn’t worth something — it’s our most valuable commodity. But if you're primarily looking to save a few bucks, then Instacart+ simply isn’t worth it.