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11 Hacks to Save Money on Instacart

When it comes to grocery delivery, Instacart is one of the platforms that provide a valuable service to both consumers and grocery stores. Consumers can order groceries online and get them delivered to their doorstep, and grocery stores can offer delivery and pickup services by partnering with Instacart.

This convenience comes at an additional cost on both sides, though. Consumers usually pay higher than in-store prices when they order groceries through Instacart. In addition to higher prices, there are also delivery and service fees. 

I have used Instacart delivery many times over the years, and I know these fees can add up quickly.

In this article, I’ll share with you 11 hacks that I use to save money on Instacart.

1. Use Digital Coupons on Instacart

When you log into your Instacart account, you’ll first select a store before starting shopping and will be directed to the store’s landing page. 

You’ll see manufacturers’ coupons listed under each item, and these coupons are applied automatically to qualifying items in your cart. 

If you’d like to see all available coupons, click the “Savings” tab on your desktop or the mobile app. Instacart updates digital coupons regularly, so you may see new discounts each time you click the “Savings” tab.

A word of caution about the grocery prices on Instacart, as there’s usually confusion.

Most people think that Instacart marks up every item to make an additional profit. But Instacart makes it clear on its website that grocery stores set their own prices on Instacart.

Instacart charges grocery stores for its “personal shopping” service.

Some grocery stores set higher prices to offset this service charge. At the same time, some stores continue to honor in-store prices.

2. Use Instacart Promo Codes

Sometimes, Instacart sends out promo codes to customers. If you received a promo code, you can apply it to your future orders.

If you’re using the mobile app, tap “Credit and promo codes” and then tap “Redeem.” If you’re shopping on the website, open your Account menu at the top right corner and click “Add promo code.”

3. Link Ibotta to Instacart and Earn Cashback

Ibotta announced in August 2020 that you could start earning cashback on Instacart purchases using Ibotta.

It is a great way to save money on groceries because Ibotta has great offers available all the time. To earn cashback on Instacart purchases, you need to link your Ibotta account to Instacart.

I wrote a separate article about this topic, and it gives you more in-depth information. I will put the link here so you can check it out.

4. Search For Additional Coupons on the Internet

At times, you may find Instacart discounts on other coupon websites. Retail Me Not, Coupon Chief, and Coupon Follow are some examples.

I recommend searching for Instacart coupons on Google to find out what discounts are available.

5. Place Your Order Ahead of Time

One other way to save money on Instacart is to plan your order ahead of time.

When you put the items in your cart and are ready to place the order, you will pick a delivery time.

If you’re not in a rush to receive your groceries, you can select the “fast & flexible” delivery option to avoid any additional delivery charges.

6. Choose Delivery During Off-Peak Hours

Instacart delivery fees start at $3.99 and vary depending on the delivery time you choose.

If you place an order during peak hours, there may be an additional charge. Instacart calls it the “busy pricing fee.”  

Most people do their grocery shopping on the weekends, and that creates a surge of demand.

There may not be enough shoppers during peak hours to deliver all orders, so you may end up paying an extra $1 or more.

To avoid the busy pricing fee, plan your order ahead of time, and request delivery during off-peak hours.

7. Refer Five Friends and Earn Up to $50

You can refer five friends to Instacart and earn up to $50. If they sign up through your referral link and make a purchase, Instacart pays you $10 per referral.

You can apply this credit to your future grocery orders with Instacart.

8. Get Free Delivery on Your First Order

Are you wondering how to get free delivery on Instacart? Instacart offers free delivery on the first order.

This offer is for new customers only and helps to save money on your first order!

9. Become an Instacart Express Member

If you’re using Instacart regularly, you should consider signing up for the Instacart Express membership. Instacart Express members get free delivery on all orders over $35.

There’s also no busy pricing fee for Instacart Express members, even during peak hours.

The annual membership for Instacart Express costs $99. You may also choose monthly membership at $9.99.

If you’re using Instacart at least three times a month, Instacart Express is worth it to save money on delivery fees.

10. Add Your Store Loyalty Card to Instacart

This hack will not save you money directly on Instacart, but it will allow you to receive store benefits and save money over time.

If you have a loyalty or rewards card from your favorite stores, you can add them to your Instacart account.

This is a no brainer because you will be able to earn points for items purchased on Instacart and redeem them later at stores.

11. Always Tip Generously

You can use the hacks above to save money on Instacart, but you should always tip your driver generously.

Remember that your driver keeps 100% of your tip, and it’s a great appreciation of their hard work.

In addition, most Instacart drivers make the minimum wage, and tips make up the majority of their income.

Instacart suggests a minimum 5% tip at checkout. However, you should increase that amount if you order heavy items or buy from multiple stores in one trip.

I recommend 10% minimum, especially if you received a decent service. You can increase the tip after delivery on the Instacart app or give your driver cash at the time of delivery.

One thing worth mentioning is that Instacart drivers can see customer orders, store locations, and the tip offered for each order before they accept them.

This also means if you put in a decent tip amount when placing an order, there’s a higher change your order will be picked up right away.

If you want to learn more about tipping, check out our Instacart Tipping Guide.

Final Thoughts

There you have it – 11 hacks you can use to save money on Instacart. I always use these hacks when I order on Instacart, and they helped me save quite a bit over the years.

I will also mention that if you want to find out the store’s pricing policy, you can click the “More info” link at the top of their page on Instacart. This way, you can find out if they offer in-store prices on Instacart before you start shopping.

For more information about Instacart, check out the articles below.

Related Articles:

Instacart Gift Cards: Where to Buy and How to Use Them

Can You Order From Multiple Stores on Instacart? (Yes, Here’s How)

Walmart vs. Instacart: Which Is Better for Grocery Delivery?

Does Instacart Accept EBT? (Yes, Here’s Where)

Can You Choose Your Instacart Shopper?

About the Author

Eril Eti is the founder of He has over a decade of experience in consumer goods and launched many products sold at retailers like Walmart, Costco, Amazon, Target, Kroger, Publix, and more.

Eril loves food, traveling, and trying out new restaurants. Outside of work, you can find him on a hiking trail in New England or playing soccer with his kids.

June 21, 2023