Do You Really Save Money When You Order Groceries Online?

Woman at home paying online for a food delivery with a credit card stock photo
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You can get almost anything delivered to your front door, from snacks to meals or even a car. But is it cheaper to order groceries online?

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After factoring in membership and delivery fees from grocery delivery services like Amazon Fresh and FreshDirect, CNET reported that buying groceries online costs about the same as going to the store or even less if you consider gas.

Many grocery delivery services have a membership fee and/or delivery fees plus tipping, which is optional. For example, Amazon Fresh is available to Prime members throughout the U.S. Members receive free two-hour grocery delivery on Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market orders of $35 ($50 in some areas) or more. An Amazon Prime membership currently costs $14.99 per month, or $139 per year.

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CNET noted that the biggest downside to shopping for groceries online is that you can’t judge the quality of the fresh food with your eyes. However, ordering online is a big convenience and can prevent impulse buying which typically happens when shopping in stores.

“Online grocery shopping may come with some fees such as increased prices on certain foods and delivery fees, but there’s a big savings opportunity that can help a lot of people and families stretch their food shopping budget and limit impulse purchases,” said budgeting expert Andrea Woroch, as reported by U.S. News & World Report. “Shopping online for groceries makes it easy to stick to your list.”

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For extra savings, you can also apply digital coupons to eligible items in your cart or use apps to find additional discounts or get cash-back on your purchases.

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About the Author

Josephine Nesbit is a freelance writer specializing in real estate and personal finance. She grew up in New England but is now based out of Ohio where she attended The Ohio State University and lives with her two toddlers and fiancé. Her work has appeared in print and online publications such as Fox Business and Scotsman Guide.
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