As common as it may be, a trip to the grocery store can be a hassle for car-less college students. Taking campus-provided shuttles limits the amount of groceries you can purchase, relying on your friend with a car reduces your grocery-shopping agency and taxis are just too expensive. No one likes feeling cornered by campus dining, but what can you do without a car?
Well, transportation-troubled students, meet your new best friend, Instacart. Instacart is a part of the app-to-doorstep delivery service movement that has reshaped how consumers receive products and services. The grocery-delivery service allows anyone with a valid email address and credit card to access its convenience, allowing the start-up to virtualize the grocery-shopping experience and saving students across America a headache-inducing trip.
Here’s how it works: after downloading the Instacart app, users are able to choose a preferred shopping location; popular stores like Wegmans, ALDI, Tops, Costco, Publix, Petco and others are all available for hungry buyers. After selecting a location, users can skim through digital shelves, swiping through the plethora of products available, as almost every item in stores is on the app. By the end of the digital trip, your selections will magically appear on your doorstep.
Well, it’s not actually magic. You see, once you make your digital grocery list, your order gets sent to an official Instacart shopper who does all the shopping for you. This whole process takes less than two hours.
Although the products on Instacart may be pricer than in-store products, it’s totally worth it. Instacart delivery has no quantitative purchase limit, so one large order on Instacart can stock you up for weeks. The app is currently available in 50 states.
Plus, given how limited of a resource time can be in college, setting aside time to scour the aisles of a vast grocery store can be difficult when you have stacks of assignments due. Because of the efficiency of their process, Instacart has essentially expedited the shopping process, freeing your time to complete other tasks.
In addition to getting you your groceries in a time-effective manner, the San Francisco-based company also helps you reduce impulse purchases. In-person shopping almost always leads to throwing random items in a cart because they look useful and cheap; in reality though, you are just throwing money away. According to a new CreditCards.com report, over half of Americans have spent $100 or more on an impulse buy, and 20 percent of Americans have spent at least $1,000 doing the same thing. By helping students be selective about what they need, Instacart is saving them several trip to the money garbage can.
The app is also ideal for college students with strict dietary regimens. Unlike grocery stores, college dining options are not as dietarily inclusive as they could be. Students who are gluten free, allergy prone or vegan/vegetarian can suffer from anxiety if they are unable to find a meal that meets their nutritive needs.
Instacart alleviates this anxiety by providing a hassle-free avenue for students to access grocery store options, as the thousands of choices at Costco, for instance, vastly outweigh the limited variety of the prepared, pricey meals on campus. There is a feeling of comfort that comes with knowing what is in your food and how it will affect your stomach hours later.
Whether or not you are interested in using the delivery service, Instacart can also be a godsend for harried college students looking for a convenient part-time job. Personally, I have been an Instacart shopper for five months now, and I have found the gig to be a dream job. Working for the company has perks that go way beyond spending a few hours in your favorite grocery store.
The application process is simple: If you are over the tender age of 18, have consistent access to a vehicle and use a smartphone then congratulations, you can be a full-service Instacart shopper, which means you are in charge of someone’s order from start to finish. In other words, in under two hours you are responsible for picking off shelves the products customers request, maintaining insightful communication if something goes awry and delivering the order.
I’ve been an Instacart shopper for five months now and take it from me, the key to being a successful shopper requires human compassion and reliable communication. Instacart doesn’t require anything out-of-the-ordinary so you won’t find yourself exerting too much brain power on a day-to-day basis. Being an Instacart shopper is the simplest way to make money moves while juggling school work and other extracurriculars.
Compared to other part-time jobs, Instacart allows shoppers to create their own schedule. Yes, you read that right. That means no more pleading with your boss to take a day off to study for a big test. Shoppers select which days and hours they want to set aside to deliver. If something comes up last minute, shoppers can cancel their hours within six hours of the start time with no penalty. While these flexible hours are helpful in a pinch, they can also fill up quick if you live in a busy zone. Make sure you take advantage of early access hour selection, in order to cash in as much as possible.
After working as a full-service Instacart shopper for one week over spring break I was able to make $250 while only actively working 15 hours total. Of course, while that wasn’t the case every week I did make a considerable amount of cash just shopping and delivering.
The job didn’t feel like a regular part-time job because I was my own boss and set my own customer-service standards. There was something enjoyable that came with completing a pre-set “treasure hunt” in each grocery store. Instacart enabled me to discover new products, listen to new songs with each daily commute and take responsibility for making my free time profitable.
As a college student who juggles a heck of a lot, Instacart was a discovery that I tell all my friends and family about. Not only does the delivery service provide users with hassle-free access to local stores but it is a great side hustle for debt paying students. Instacart needs to be utilized more often by both job seekers and food craving students. So, what are you waiting for?