I’ve Been Getting Costco Groceries Delivered Through Instacart — Here’s What I Like About It

published Jan 20, 2020
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Costco is high on the list of places you couldn’t pay me to go to on a busy Saturday. Even if the most capable babysitter was watching my kids at home. I have made that trip and I will never make it again. So when I realized that I could get my Costco groceries delivered, I was very excited! The best part? You don’t even have to be a member.

Credit: Meghan Splawn

Getting Costco Groceries Delivered

There are a few ways to get Costco groceries delivered to your door. If you’re a member, which I am, you can shop on the site and get same-day or next-day delivery, depending on what you order. If you’re NOT a member, you can still get Costco groceries delivered! You can shop certain Kirkland Signature items on Amazon (just know that you will pay a mark-up, as these items are usually listed by third parties looking to make a buck). Alternatively, you can shop Costco on Instacart (that’s actually how same-day groceries are sent out for members!) as long as it’s available in your area (read: there’s a Costco within driving distance).

Start your Instacart account here.

Again, I am a Costco member. I’ve also been using Instacart (for other stores) on and off for two years, so I was curious to use Instacart to have Costco groceries delivered, as if I was a non-member. How would it compare to in-store shopping or using the warehouse’s website as a member? Would it be a good option for people who want Costco goodies without having to shell out the cash for a membership? Here’s what I found.

What to Know About Ordering Costco Groceries on Instacart

You don’t need to be a member (with Costco OR Instacart) to get Costco groceries delivered. But if you have Instacart Express — starting at $99 for the year or $9.99 if you do it by the month — you get free delivery on every order. Otherwise, there’s a $5.99 delivery fee, which does not include the tip for your driver. You must meet a $35 minimum for your Costco order and some items are more expensive via Instacart than they are in store (this is the case with shopping online as a member, too, though!).

After placing your order you can select a delivery window within two hours OR later in the day. You must be home to receive the delivery, so don’t try to schedule delivery when you might get stuck in the school pick-up line.

One of the best things about using the Instacart app to shop Costco is that there’s an opportunity for a back-and-forth with a real shopper, which is not the case when you shop as a member through the site. This means you can make special requests. For example, one of my kids’ favorite snacks was in a recent Costco circular but I wasn’t able to find it on Instacart, I just snapped a picture of the ad, and with a few notes, my shopper was able to find it at our local Costco. Plus, you can choose item alternatives (in case something is out of stock) or leave notes for your shopper.

Depending on what you buy from Costco, your delivery order may be significantly more expensive or it could net out pretty similarly, while also saving you time. For example, I’ve found that milk, eggs, and avocados are usually similarly priced on Instacart, while things like blueberries, salmon, and Costco’s infamous rotisserie chicken are more expensive.

I haven’t had any issues with delivery (no timing problems, no melted frozen stuff, no sub-par produce). For me, not dragging my family to Costco means we aren’t wasting money on impulse buys or buying bribes at the food court. I might miss out on the free samples, but I’ll happily be getting my Costco groceries delivered each month from now on.

If you have been thinking about getting a Costco membership but aren’t quite ready to dive in, I’d say that Instacart is a great way to dip your toes in and test the water. You can get all the great groceries (from the comfort of your couch) and if you decide not to spend the $60 on a Costco membership, you can put that money toward Instacart Express, which will get you free delivery on all your orders — from Costco and beyond.

What would you rather have? A Costco membership or Instacart Express?