1+ Years of Using Instacart: An Honest Review with Pros & Cons

July 11, 2020

Pros & Cons of using Instacart groceries delivery, after using it 1+ years. An honest review.

recipe: loaded sweet potato fries
Healthy snack ideas (kid-approved too)
Trader Joe's Healthy Items
Now Trending:
I'm Lauren

Your Holistic Nutritionist and a mom to 3 girls. I love quiet mornings, homemade chocolate chip cookies, colorful meals & helping moms find joy in healthy eating. Thank you for stopping by!


Are you ready to feel healthier?

tell me more

A holistic wellness plan just for you that fits into your already busy mom-life.

Sharing my pros & cons of using Instacart

I’ve been an Instacart customer consistently since October 2018 and so I’ve tried it long enough to give it an honest review. Instacart isn’t perfect but it saves me SO much time and that is SO valuable to me. I am always telling my friends about how convenient Instacart is … have you tried it? I definitely recommend giving it a try if it’s available in your area and you have the means to try it. The pros outweigh the cons in my opinion.

If you’re considering using Instacart, here’s my honest review with my personal pros and cons and why I keep using it. If you have any questions about it too, comment below and I’m happy to answer them. 🙂 

If you’d like to try Instacart, here’s a promo code link that gives you $10 off your first order, plus free delivery.*

Instacart: Using Sprouts Farmers Market

I order groceries through Instacart at Sprouts Farmers Market about once a week, or once every other week. Sprouts has a lot of organic produce and high-quality products and also has a bulk section, which is great for ordering nuts and flours and some spices.

I’ve tried using Safeway a couple times, but I find that Sprouts Farmers Market is less expensive and the produce is just as good. 

My pros and cons of using Instacart:

Instacart Pros

It saves me SO much time

I used to spend half a Saturday or Sunday grocery shopping. After meal planning and making the list, I’d drive 15-20 minutes each way to Winco where I’d spend about an hour shopping, then 15 minutes driving back home. That’s 1 ½ hours every weekend at least … if I only went to one store. If I made a stop at Trader Joe’s or Costco too … the whole day was pretty much spent grocery shopping. 

So, weekly, Instacart saves me about 1 1/2-2 hours. Monthly, that saves me about 6 hours! Yearly that saves me about 78 hours! Holy cow. That’s a bunch of time I’d rather be spending doing something else … like writing this blog, or taking my girls somewhere fun. 

It’s easy to use

Once you get the hang of it, the app is super easy to use. I can search for an ingredient, add to the cart and pick a replacement (or not) if the store happens to be out of something. I can pick the delivery day and time, the tip amount, and add a note to the shopper if needed. I find it super user-friendly.

It’s super convenient

Usually I can place my order and have groceries delivered within two hours. I can also leave a note asking the shopper to please leave the groceries at our doorstep and not to ring the doorbell (if you’re purchasing alcohol they need to scan your ID). This is so convenient because I can have groceries delivered while kids are napping/doing quiet time!

You can also place your order and select a different day and time for delivery.

It helps my sanity 🙂

I don’t know about your kids, but my kids can be horrible at the market. They complain about how long it takes, or want in and out of the cart, want to run down the aisles, grab everything … it’s stressful to say the least, annoying at best. 🙂 With Instacart, I avoid all of that craziness.

Reordering the same items weekly is easy

There’s a section the app that includes the items you’ve ordered in the past. So if you frequently order the same items, they’re easy to find, and reorder again.

Replacements are easy

If a store is out of a product, there are a couple of really great options. You can select a replacement while ordering, in case the item happens to be out of stock during shopping. Or the shopper will select a replacement item while shopping that you’ll be able to either approve or deny. If an item is out of stock and you choose no replacement, you’ll be refunded the amount.

So, for a couple examples: every week we order organic fuji apples. As a replacement, sometimes I’ll select organic gala apples, or fuji apples. Or if I order frozen blueberries for smoothies, if I don’t select a replacement, the shopper may suggest frozen strawberries for a replacement (that again you can either accept or deny), via chat. It’s really convenient and you still have options if something is out of stock.

Instacart Cons

Sometimes the shopper gets the wrong item

We use organic unsweetened almond milk and there have been a handful of times we’ve unloaded groceries to find sweetened almond milk or vanilla. It can be inconvenient, but I’ve found that adding a note to the shopper to please make sure it’s unsweetened helps a lot. 

Sometimes the quality of produce isn’t always the same I’d pick

For example, sometimes the shopper will pick avocados that are super ripe, when I’d prefer them to last a couple days. Or apples that don’t have a bruise … things like that. Overall I’ve been really happy with the quality of the produce though. And again you can add a note to the shopper asking them to double check apples aren’t bruised, or to pick avocados that are a little more firm, non-moldy berries … things like that. It’s usually not an issue when I leave a note like that for the shopper.

Sometimes the store runs out of product (but this happens with in-person shopping too)

This happens also when you’re shopping in person too, so it’s not a big deal. If something is out of stock, you can either pick a replacement or chat with the shopper to see if there are any other brands or similar products that might work instead. For example, if you order organic fresh thyme and they’re out of stock, a replacement could be non-organic fresh thyme or dried thyme. 

The cost is slightly more (but I save on gas money)

I’ve read some reviews of Instacart that mention some prices of items increase using Instacart, but in Sacramento through Sprouts, I haven’t noticed a difference in the price of an item. (Sometimes the shopper leaves the Sprouts receipt and I’ve compared the cost on the receipt to what shows in Instacart and very rarely do I notice changes.)

The cost of Instacart is slightly more than going in store, because of the monthly membership and tip for the shopper. But for me, it’s SO worth it because of the time it saves me and the convenience. (I also don’t have to pay for gas driving around shopping.)

I’ve signed up for the annual Instacart Express membership for $9.99 a month. With Instacart Express, I receive free deliveries on all orders more than $35, which is really easy to do; free delivery on the whole order even if I order from different stores; and no price increases during peak delivery hours.

Another cost with the grocery order is a tip for the shopper. The shopper is the one shopping for your items and delivering them, so they definitely deserve a tip. I usually tip between 15-20% depending on the order. For a larger order, I’ll tip more since it takes them more time. You can customize the tip amount too.

Overall, for me, the pros outweigh the cons of using Instacart.

Instacart has been something I tell my friends about because getting groceries delivered is such a great mom hack that saves time, sanity, is convenient and gives you more time to spend on things you want to do. (Making a trip to Trader Joe’s though is something I like to spend kid-free time doing, so I make time for that every once in a while too. :))

If you’d like to try Instacart, here’s a promo code link that gives you $10 off your first order, plus free delivery.*

Let me know if you have any questions about Instacart, I’m happy to share what I know. It has been a huge time saver for my family and it’s worth the investment for my family.

*I choose not to put ads on my blog, but do include affiliate links to products I genuinely love. With affiliate links, I earn a small commission on any order placed through the affiliate links on my blog, like Amazon. I promise to only share items my family and I use and love. Thank you for supporting and reading! ♥ Lauren

+ show Comments

- Hide Comments

add a comment

Your comments make me really happy. :) I'd love to know if you tried a recipe, have a favorite to add, or just want to share something. Thank you!

so hot right now

I'm Lauren, your Holistic Nutritionist.

I've been where you are: overwhelmed with healthy living and feeling guilt and shame around food. Now I'm helping fellow moms realize it's never too late to start living healthier!

 my journey


The Five Plates

Check it out

Wellness Tips & More

Healthy, Colorful & Delicious Recipes

take a look


 Free Resources

5 Easy Trader Joe's Dinner Ideas

If you love Trader Joe's too, these are my favorite dinners using TJ's items. Kid- and husband-approved, delicious and healthy.

get the recipes

Free download

Trader Joe's Dinners

I'm a Holistic Nutritionist helping moms find more joy in eating healthy through simple recipes & lasting habits.

nutrition coaching
About Me
the blog

lauren at
five plates

let's connect  
on Instagram:



@gibbslaurenm >

five plates 2021  |  Design by Tonic  |  Photos by diana Elena photos & Unsplash