The price of buying groceries from home starts with a Prime membership, not to mention delivery fees.

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Amazon Prime Pantry grocery food delivery allows you to scroll, rather than stroll through the aisles. You can easily load up on any one of hundreds of nonperishable items, from cereal to soap, that will be delivered to your doorstep.

The service eliminates one of the most tiresome responsibilities of adulthood: grocery shopping. But is it really worth it? Depends on what type of relief you’re looking for. According to the USDA, the average family of four spends between $200 and $300 a week on groceries. Will ordering pasta and dish soap from Amazon chip away at that total? Not necessarily.

But, if you’re already an Amazon Prime member, some items may be worth your time to check out.

How does it work, and how much will you pay?

From the Amazon website, drop into Prime Pantry and begin filling a virtual box. As you choose items, Amazon will alert you to how full your box is. The box will hold up to 45 pounds, but you don’t have to fill it. Ship two items or 20 — if you have room — it ships for the same price. Amazon will pick a box that best fits the final order.

They call it Prime Pantry for a reason. Amazon’s grocery food delivery Pantry is available only to those who pay for a Prime membership. That’s $99 a year or $12.99 a month. Probably not worth it if all you’re doing is buying toothpaste and toilet paper. But if you’re already paying for the membership, this is another perk.

Even though the big draw of Prime membership is free shipping, Grocery food delivery from Pantry comes with a flat $5.99 per box delivery fee. You can, however, get around that. Choose at least 5 qualifying items for the box and the fee is waived. Amazon will direct you to the listing of those items. When I’m loading up and just trying to get to free, I seek multiples of something small like mints or wipes — cheap stuff you use all the time.

Don’t forget to cut back with some coupons.

Before you shop online, clip coupons online. Amazon has screens full of them that you can sort by popularity or by category — baking, breakfast foods, etc. $5 off razors, 20 percent off vitamins. Chances are if you’re seeing it in the Sunday flyers, it’s online too.

Just because you may not save on any particular item doesn’t mean you’re not saving. Ordering online eliminates the impulse buy, and at least one mom I know calculates savings in the double digits for each trip avoided. Plus you’re saving on gas, too.

How’s the selection?

This is not a bulk-buying-makes-it-cheaper affair. And you can’t purchase your meat or dairy, but Amazon is selling regular-sized goods at more-or-less street prices. Remember, these are nonperishable items. But if you can find it in an aisle at the grocery store, you can find it online. Boxed cereal, candy, condiments — check. Cleaning items. Toiletries. All there.

Amazon also is not offering generics, nor is it selling luxury brands. But the standards are here: Nabisco, Heinz, Betty Crocker.

Armed with a standard list that includes Dove Body Wash, Corn Chex, Planters Dry Roasted Peanuts, Head N Shoulders, and the like, I find most prices within pennies, but sometimes cheaper by as much as a quarter to competitor Target Restock. (More on that in a minute). They weren’t much cheaper or more expensive than my corner grocer, either.

The Pantry’s pros and cons

One survey clocked the average American grocery store outing at 43 minutes — not including travel time. And the typical family sends someone to the grocery store more than once a week. Imagine the time saved by skipping a couple of aisles entirely.

The downside is immediacy.

Prime delivers by ground only, which means the standard 2-day is out and the 1- to 4-day wait is in. Deliveries are shipped only within the continental U.S. so you guys in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Canada are out of luck.

Finally, while other Amazon items can ship to a P.O. box or Amazon Lockers, Pantry deliveries go to residential or business addresses only.

Prime comes in handy when you have a kid in college (remember students get a discounted Prime membership), especially if they don’t have a car on campus. Many people who use grocery food delivery from Pantry use the service to deliver to the elderly or those who can not drive or have trouble getting around.

Looking for other ways to save? Make sure to check out more Money Tips here. 

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Michelle Bryan

Michelle Bryan

Public Relations and Communications Manager

Ms. Bryan is the Public Relations and Communications Manager for Debt.com.

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Article last modified on July 30, 2018. Published by Debt.com, LLC .