Even During COVID-19, Amazon Fresh Saves Me Time and Money

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This piece is by contributing writer Chelsea Jensen.

This sounds like it just may be worth the subscription fee to not have to go to the grocery store and have food delivered to my door.

Amazon Fresh is a grocery delivery service owned by Amazon. It works mainly with Whole Foods Market and offers free grocery delivery to Amazon Prime members in select regions on orders that meet the local free delivery threshold. To check your region’s eligibility, sign in to your Amazon account, or enter your zip code here.

You can shop Amazon Fresh online or with the Amazon shopping app as long as you are logged into your Amazon Prime account. 

How I Use Amazon Fresh Regularly

I have been using Amazon Fresh as a grocery delivery service minimum once a week for about two years. It saves me so much time and money! 

On the Amazon Fresh website (or app), I save my grocery lists so that all I have to do is add the grocery item from the list into my cart. I have a list saved as “The Basics,” or the things I order every week. 

I also have separate grocery lists saved based on my favorite recipes, which makes it easy to add the items for that recipe to my cart. My order is in by 9 PM, and it’s delivered on my front porch before 7 AM the next morning. I unpack the groceries, recycle the bags, and I’m done! Using Amazon Fresh takes me about 10-15 minutes versus spending hours at the grocery store. 

Where can you get Amazon Fresh?

Amazon Fresh is unfortunately not available everywhere. However, it is currently available to Amazon Prime members in the following cities.

  • Atlanta
  • Baltimore
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • Denver
  • Houston
  • Indianapolis
  • Las Vegas
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • Minneapolis
  • New York
  • Philadelphia
  • Phoenix
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle
  • Washington, D.C.

Amazon expanded its Fresh service to Germany, delivering in Berlin, Hamburg, Potsdam, and Munich in 2017.

How much does Amazon Fresh cost?

As an Amazon Prime member, the Amazon Fresh Attended Delivery and Doorstep Delivery is free to customers on orders over the local free shipping threshold before tax. Delivery addresses in eligible regions will receive free shipping on orders of $35 or more before tax. Other regions receive free shipping on orders of $50 or more before tax. If your region is eligible for the $35 local free shipping threshold, you will see it automatically apply during checkout. 

Delivery fees also may vary depending on the delivery method you choose. For example, if you select a 1-hour delivery window, you will incur an additional cost. The total fees will show when you go to place your order. 

Is Amazon Fresh worth it?

Amazon Fresh is worth it for me because it’s free with my Amazon Prime membership. My Prime membership costs me $119 a year or roughly $9.92 per month. I would have a Prime membership regardless of the Amazon Fresh delivery service as I use the Prime perks on lots of other things!

Amazon Fresh has helped my husband and I stay on track with our weekly grocery budget. Which, ultimately, has helped us stay on track with paying off a lot of our debt. What I love is that you can see what your total grocery cost will be when you start the checkout process. 

There have been so many times that I have gone back and deleted a tub of ice cream or that $8 organic snack to stick to my budget. When shopping at the grocery store, you don’t have the advantage of instantly seeing your total as you add items to your cart. I recommend looking for the sale items on the “Fresh Deals” page. The items with orange labels under them show you how much you save.

It May Not Be Worth It If

  • You think you will only use your Amazon Prime membership for Amazon Fresh. If that’s the case, it’s probably not worth the cost. Some of the other grocery delivery services have lower or no membership fee (see below). 
  • You will only use it as a filler between trips to the store. It may not be worth the extra cost. 
  • You are particular about picking out your produce items. 

And, I get it, and some of you love the experience of going to the grocery store. The end cap displays, new product offerings, and of course, the samples! If you like any of those items, Amazon Fresh probably won’t be your cup of tea. 

How to Get an Amazon Fresh Time Slot During the Pandemic

If you haven’t ever used Amazon Fresh, there is a chance that you will be put on a waitlist because of the increased demand for online grocery shopping due to COVID-19. Although, it appears that Amazon is working through that list pretty quickly— more than 80% of eligible Prime members can shop without having to request an invitation. 

Getting a delivery time slot has proven to be more difficult due to the increased demand for grocery delivery services. Before the pandemic, there was a lot more availability for 1-hour delivery time slots.

Now finding the 1-hour time slots is more difficult. For the past few weeks, I’ve had good luck with the 2- hour delivery time slots. You could also try this computer program that tells you when a delivery time slot opens up — I have not tried this yet. 

At the start of COVID-19, when many people started to panic shop, I placed an order and was lucky enough to get a time slot. It was delivered hours past the original delivery time window I selected. In recent months, I have also had items in my order that were no longer available at the time of my delivery, and I was refunded. 

Also, certain items are still tough to find. For example, toilet paper always tends to be out of stock, and hand soap usually only has one or two brand options. Amazon has been hiring people like crazy; hopefully, they are on track to keep up with the demand. Especially if we are hit with a second wave of the virus and stay-at-home orders later this year. 

Alternatives to Amazon Fresh

There are a few other grocery delivery alternatives to check out if you don’t live within the service area of Amazon Fresh or are having difficulty getting a time slot. 

Your Local Grocery Store or Co-Op

A food co-op is a grocery store owned by people in the community. The majority of co-ops have good relationships with local farmers that provide them with natural and organic produce, meat, and dairy. 

Here are some resources to help you find a co-op in your area:


Instacart connects you with shoppers in your area to pick up local groceries for you. Instead of shopping by product (like with Amazon Fresh), you’ll choose a store in your area and shop from that store’s inventory. Retailers set the pricing. 

The amount of the additional costs can vary based on the size of your order and the designated delivery window. Instacart is available in a much wider geographical area than Amazon Fresh. Instacart only carries items from the specific store you choose from, while Amazon Fresh offers a mix of their store brands, the Whole Foods 365 brand, and others. 

Typically, the standard delivery fee is $3.99, and the service fee is 5% of your order total. You do not need to be a member to shop with Instacart. However, if you sign up for Instacart Express (starting at $99 for the year or $9.99 a month), you’ll get free delivery on orders more than $35. 

The annual cost of Instacart Express is cheaper than Amazon Fresh when you account for Prime membership fees. 


Shipt offers same-day delivery from stores in your area. If you want to use Shipt, you’ll have to choose a membership plan. The options include an annual plan for $99 (which works out to be about $8.25 per month) or a monthly plan for $14.

Once you’ve signed up, you can shop online or with an app on your iOS or Android device. With your membership, orders over $35 are eligible for free delivery. Amazon Fresh currently services a larger geographical area than Shipt, but Shipt is cheaper. 


Last year, Walmart launched Delivery Unlimited, and it currently delivers from 1,400 stores. If you’re eligible, you can sign up for a $12.95 monthly membership or a $98 annual membership and avoid the per-order fee. If you order more than once per month, this may be a great way to save over time. The Walmart annual membership fee is the cheapest option out of all the grocery delivery services mentioned above, including Amazon Fresh. 

4 thoughts on “Even During COVID-19, Amazon Fresh Saves Me Time and Money

  1. Terri

    One big problem! Since this Covid 19 virus has everyone shopping online, I have waited two weeks for a time slot to open, no luck! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, as I have high risk people in my house and the risk us too great to do the shopping myself. Please let me know if you have any suggestions. I’m at the desperate point of needing groceries. Thanks in advance.

  2. Dita Basu

    It is horrible now. I have Prime membership yet it’s been three days…I can’t find a window when tAmazon Fresh could drop my groceries. I understand it is a strange time now…but three days and no windows are available? Give me a break.

    I am disappointed.

  3. femmefrugality Post author

    I hear you guys. Nothing about this is good; our local grocers that deliver are significantly backed up, too. Honestly, in this time, I’m not aware of a tech solution that has hit the markets to combat this demand. If you cannot leave the house, my best suggestion is to reach out to a neighbor. I know it’s hard and you might not necessarily be super close. But someone in the neighborhood must be going to the store, and if they know your situation I’m sure they’d be willing to help.

    Probably going to have to put that advice to the test here myself this week. If I can find another solution, I’ll be sure to let you guys know. Please keep us posted here, as well! What helps one can help many.


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