As a college student living in a sorority house, it’s up to me to provide myself with adequate food. What’s stressful about that is not having a car on campus. Yes, the V-Line is available, as are friends and family within close proximity. But it would be so much easier to go to the store myself.

A solution for me was to try out a grocery delivery service through Instacart. Instacart sends out a personal shopper who will drive to the selected store the service partners with and shop for the food on the list given.

I signed up for Instacart on their website and was given a two week trial of their delivery service. This free trial gave me access to $10 off my first purchase of $35 or more, as well as free delivery. After the two week trial, you have the option to cancel the subscription or pay $149 for a year of delivered groceries, three times a month.

Purchases have to be over $35, which isn’t hard to do when shopping for groceries. The Instacart in Valpariso also partners with CVS, which can deliver toiletries and groceries. The express package that costs $149 a year allows you to pick from different stores to shop at all at once. Different locations partner with different stores, such as Strack & Van Til, Petco and Whole Foods.

As far as shopping for the foods, it’s incredibly easy. You can search if you know what you’re looking for or go through categories. Once you’ve picked everything out, you’re allowed to pick substitutes if they’re out of a particular item or leave notes for the personal shopper. Once the shopper starts shopping, you’re notified via text message. Texts are also sent for approval of item swaps if the item you asked for is gone. Once done, you can track the shopper to your house.

Prices on Instacart vary. When selecting a store, it states that prices are either lower in store or higher than in store prices on Instacart. Overall, you pay a yearly fee and pay for the groceries you buy as well as an optional tip to the shopper. Unfortunately, you may not use coupons, but Instacart has some deals via their website to chose from.

From my perspective, this is a great option for college students. It’s something to ask for as a gift from family, or even receive a giftcard for. It’s convenient if you’re sick, without a car or just too busy to spend an hour or more in a grocery store. Even in the winter months this option would be incredibly beneficial.

Another pro is picking out the exact date and time for delivery and knowing where your shopper is at all times. Some cons to Instacart are not having authority over your produce selection. Although you can add notes such as “give me green bananas,” sometimes things can be misconstrued. Also, you’re unable to use rewards or redeem coupons through Instacart.

Overall, this is a service I think I would go back and subscribe to perhaps for next school year. I think the price is doable, and it’s convenient for college students and has already been recommended to all my other friends.

The views expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily of The Torch.

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