Alright friends, I keep seeing it all over Instagram.
The Walmart Plus membership.
For $98/year or $12.95/month, you can enjoy free local delivery with a $35 minimum purchase, fuel discounts, free shipping with no order minimums and the use of Scan and Go in-store.
But is it really worth it?
I was skeptical, but also really tired of waiting over 45 minutes in the grocery pickup line every week.
So, I decided to test it out for you guys and here’s what I learned.
If you’re a military family and you have the American Express Platinum card (the card annual fees are waived for active duty military! ), the monthly subscription for Walmart+ is a covered benefit. This means that you get reimbursed $12.95 automatically every month on your credit card statement. You have to use your AMEX card when signing up and you have to do the monthly subscription plan, not the annual plan.
Would I continue to use the service if it wasn’t a covered benefit for me? Probably not.
Let me explain why as we go through each “benefit” of the plan.
But first, let’s chat about the Walmart+ experience.
I can only speak from my experience with the Aberdeen, NC Walmart but the whole experience is pretty frustrating. Because you can’t communicate with the employees that are hand-picking your groceries, you can expect to get less than stellar produce picks. In every single delivery I’ve gotten, there has been at least one moldy item. The deliveries can also be very delayed. Twice in one month, the deliveries were delayed over 6 hours and I ended up just canceling the order and using Instacart. So, that’s twice the work for one delivery, which is annoying. There have also been plenty of times that I’ve gotten items canceled from my order saying it was out of stock only to have gone in later the same day and found them in store. If you’re determined to use the delivery benefit, try placing your order the night before. You get better pickers and deliverers in the early morning. If you do get bad produce, calling the customer service line will usually get you a refund. Like I said, your local Walmart might have better quality pickers and DoorDash deliverers but if you’re local to the Southern Pines area, I’d pass. You can try the free 30-day trial to see if your local Walmart has a better track record!
On to the good stuff,
Less Impulse Spending
Listen, I hate spending money on nothing so the idea of tipping someone to do something I can very well do myself seems like a no-go for me. But I also know myself. I know that when I step into a store, all of a sudden, I start throwing things in the cart that have no business being in the cart. Iced sugar cookies decorated in this month’s holiday theme? Sure. Four variations of chocolate caramel ice cream bars. Yep, need that.
So, knowing myself, avoiding the inside of the store at all costs is absolutely a money saving tactic. Especially when it came to Back to School supplies.
And it’s not just something I’m imagining. I have the cold hard proof. The month that I solely did grocery delivery through Walmart+ and Instacart, I was under budget in the grocery category. I have never been under budget, ever, in our grocery category. However, in order to save money, you have to factor in all the costs associated with grocery delivery.
While you receive “free” delivery with the membership, you are still encouraged to tip the DoorDash drivers who bring you your goods. It does say “optional” when checking out but I think it’s best practice to do so, especially since DoorDashers primarily rely on tip income. However, the recommended amount they tell you feels high in my opinion. Depending on how often you get deliveries, these tips can add up. However, with the extended delays in the grocery pickup lots, it may be worth the extra $7-10 to not have to sit and wait for 30-45 minutes. Honestly, this was totally worth getting my time back, in my opinion. Walmart prices plus a max of $10ish for delivery and I would still be under budget? I was sold…until my orders kept getting delayed with no expected delivery time and that’s just not cool. That meant I wasted time putting the initial order in and spent even more time doing a duplicate order with Instacart.
This is one benefit that I really love! All you do is open the Walmart app at the pump, scan the QR code and it connects automatically. It saves you $.10/gal and depending on how much you fill up a month, it could make the monthly subscription completely worth it! For us, it’s not quite $12.95 in monthly savings but pretty dang close. And you don’t have to use the Murphy gas either – most Exxon and Mobil gas stations are included!
There are quite a bit of things on Walmart.com but I still find myself shopping more on Amazon for free shipping. However, sometimes grocery items are out of stock locally but can be shipped for free so that is a nice perk! This benefit combined with the fuel discount are the only reasons I’m keeping the subscription.
Scan and Go
This is where you can scan each item as you shop and then check out by scanning your phone at a register instead of having to scan each item. I really don’t see the appeal of scan and go because you still need to reach a register to fully check out. And reaching the register is the hardest part of shopping at Walmart. If they had registers solely for Scan and Go, then that would be cool!
But Also, So Much Plastic
The big drawback to grocery delivery with Walmart is the insane amount of plastic grocery bags that we receive! And if I’m not going into the store, it’s not as easy to recycle them. Thankfully we have a pet so we can reuse the bags but I’d love to not receive them in the first place. If you know of a workaround for this, I’m all ears! (By contrast, when you shop Instacart, you can request paper bags which are easier to recycle.)
So, is Walmart+ worth the cost?
For me, it isn’t worth $98/year or $12.95/month until they provide a better experience by improving the quality of their pickers and eliminating delivery delays. I feel like the allure of the subscription is giving you time back with grocery delivery but I felt like it took more time away from me with their delays. But that also may just be a product of our labor and supply shortage. In any case, I don’t feel like their benefits merit the cost of the subscription, (unless you have that AMEX card I talked about above ) If all of my orders had gone through as planned, my monthly cost would have been $12.95/month + on average $11/week for delivery tips. I would just take that money over to Instacart and have better communication with my shopper who is able to ask me questions while they shop. I also have never had a delay with Instacart and am able to get deliveries in less than 2 hours most of the time. The cost is marginally more ($9.99/month + on average $15/week for service fees and tips) but it’s always a much more pleasant experience and still saves me money by keeping me out of the store.
Want to try out your local Walmart to see if you have a better experience than me? Click here for $20 off your first order as a paid member.
Already swearing off Walmart+ but want to try Instacart? Click here for $10 off your first order.
For the month of August, I’m testing grocery pickup at Food Lion, Lowes, & Harris Teeter and comparing the experience & cost savings to Instacart delivery so stay tuned!