I Got Costco Groceries Delivered with Instacart — Here’s What It Cost and How It Went

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: a katz)

I’ve always been against shopping online for groceries; not because I don’t think it can be valuable, but because I just really love grocery shopping and selecting products in-store versus online. I’m also, admittedly, a bit of a control freak when it comes to my produce and super picky about expiration dates. Nothing gets under my skin more than the thought of getting something delivered that’s wilting or near expiration!

As services like Instacart grow in popularity, however, so does my curiosity. So I decided I should really do some experimentation before I passed judgement. I set a small budget and started with Aldi, a great place to save money. You can read all about it here, but the CliffsNotes version is that I did like it!

Because my Aldi experimentation went pretty well, I was interested in trying some of my other favorite stores. Obviously, Costco was next on my list. Like Aldi, Costco is also in partnership with Instacart, so I gave it a try.

Here’s how it went, what I learned, what you should know, and how much I spent.

My Costco Budget

Before even hopping onto the Instacart website and navigating to the Costco section of the site, I set a budget just like I do with my other Costco shopping trips. This is key! It’s way too easy to click, click, click your way to $100 or more without even blinking an eye, so setting a reasonable $50 budget kept me in check before I got started.

(Image credit: Heather McClees)

What I Bought

First, I navigated to the produce section. There, I picked up several items I figured would hold up well during delivery and last a while in my fridge. Oranges, bananas, cucumbers, and a couple of pineapples all went into my cart, as well as a container of organic spinach, a large bag of baby carrots, and some celery. These are all items I regularly use each week in smoothies, soups, homemade juice, snacks, salads, and more. I also tend to freeze some of these things to prevent them from spoiling, which also saves a lot of money over time.

Next, I navigated to the frozen section where I selected a couple of bags of my favorite fruits as well as a bag of frozen veggies. Nothing too exciting here, but I wanted to see how well these items were delivered and how it would compare to getting them in-store.

(Image credit: Heather McClees)

Finally, I added unsweetened vanilla almond milk, organic raisins, and nonfat Greek yogurt to test out how each of these items arrived. That maxed out my budget, but I felt pretty good, considering I got a bunch of bulk fresh and frozen items along with a couple of pantry staples to give me a well-rounded account of how the delivery works. I decided not to order something I normally wouldn’t buy in-store, even as tempting as that organic vegan dark chocolate may have looked!

The Delivery and Cost

I had a coupon for Instacart (they’re great about sending you these if you subscribe to their site!), so I got a free delivery, which was pretty awesome. I went with next-day delivery, aka the earliest my order could be delivered. I checked out and hoped for the best!

The next day right at noon (the latest my order said it would arrive by), my doorbell rang with my order. I am so pleased to say that all of my items arrived in perfect condition and it was evident the shopper had done a great job of selecting items that customers would pick themselves in-store. I tipped the delivery person (that didn’t hurt, considering I got free delivery) and felt confident that I would definitely do this again if I couldn’t make it to the store. Very nice to know!

One thing to note is that prices may differ from what you would pay in the store. Some items are the same, but most are more expensive by at least $5 to $10, so I wasn’t able to get nearly as much as I would have for $50 if I had been shopping in the store. If you don’t have a membership, though, you can still shop Costco through Instacart, so you may be willing to pay up in order to get the access.

How Costco Delivery Differs from Aldi Delivery

One thing I really love about Costco’s website is that you can look up the ingredients and nutritional information on many of their products. This information is also listed on Instacart’s website from Costco, which is a huge difference compared to what Aldi’s storefront offers. Aldi doesn’t offer any ingredients or any nutritional information on their website or the Instacart Aldi storefront. This is key if you’re someone who likes to know this information ahead of time; I know I wouldn’t feel comfortable ordering a new-to-me grocery if I didn’t know what the ingredients were and what the label says.

Costco, however, does. Even though I went with items I already use and love, I still looked up the information on many products just to make sure I was getting what I wanted. I didn’t find the information for every product, but I’d say it was there for about 90 percent of the items I was looking at. Just something I wanted to call out.

(Image credit: Heather McClees)

My One Complaint

My one complaint with ordering any groceries online is that you can’t check the expiration dates. I hate the thought of having to return something or go through the hassle of getting a refund if someone picks something that’s expired. I realize most people aren’t this picky, but if you’re with me on this issue, then this is something to think about. My advice? Quickly check all the items once they arrive at your home so you can address the concern before the delivery person leaves. Luckily, I had no issues at either of my Instacart shopping experiences at Aldi or Costco.

Now I’m curious to try even more stores through Instacart!

Have you ever ordered Costco groceries through Instacart? How did it go for you?