SHOPPERS have to pay a fee for supermarket food deliveries – but there are ways to cut the cost.
Families are looking for ways to reduce their spending as the cost of living soars.
You’ll have to pay a delivery fee when you buy groceries online but there are ways to make it cheaper.
The time you choose will make a big difference to the delivery charge – the more flexible you can be, the more likely you are to get a cheap slot.
There are plenty of ways to reduce the overall cost of your online food shopping, too.
We explain how to get the cheapest delivery slot and shrink your online shopping bill.
What times are the cheapest delivery slots?
If you can be flexible with your booking, you can get a cheaper slot.
Some supermarkets offer a lower fee if you choose a four-hour time slot rather than a one-hour period.
You will get a cheaper delivery at less popular times of the day, such as late evening.
If you’re organised and book ahead, you’ll have a wider variety of time slots to choose from.
At Sainsbury’s you can get a saver slot that gives you a four-hour delivery time frame.
On the day of your order you’ll be told when it will arrive.
These bookings can be as cheap as £1 before 10am or after 7pm.
Standard slots were listed at between £3.50 and £6 when we checked online, depending on how popular your chosen time is.
However, if you spend less than £40 on your order, you’ll be charged an extra £7 for delivery.
The cheapest time slot we found at Morrisons was £2 on a Sunday evening.
Fees were as high as £5.50 between 12pm and 2pm on a week day – perhaps because more people are getting deliveries during their lunch break while working from home.
At Morrisons you can’t check out until you’ve put at least £40 worth of items in your basket.
Tesco charges the same amount for delivery across most of its stores – £5.50 in London and £4.50 elsewhere.
But if you don’t mind having a four-hour window, and waiting until the day for a specific time, you can get it as low as £3.
If you spend less than £40, an extra £4 will be added to your final bill.
Asda said its cheapest slot is £1 and is usually on a Wednesday afternoon.
It is most expensive on a Saturday morning, when you’ll have to pay £4.50.
There will be a £3 additional charge for orders worth less than £40.
Meanwhile, Iceland offers free home delivery and has dropped its order threshold from £45 to £30.
Annual delivery passes
The big four UK grocers offer a monthly or annual delivery pass for shoppers, meaning you pay a flat fee and then get your deliveries for free.
If you’re a regular online shopper, this could be a way of reducing costs.
But it does remove some flexibility – for example if you’re a Tesco member but you want to take advantage of a deal at Sainsbury’s.
Before you subscribe, make sure it will result in savings for you.
Work out how many deliveries you will need a month, and how much you would pay without a membership.
Bear in mind that some supermarkets will make up the difference if you don’t make a saving, but this will be a discount on future shopping rather than cash.
Make sure you read the small print to check if there’s a limit on how many deliveries you can have or if there are any exemptions.
Sainsbury’s shoppers can pay £7.50 for a monthly pass or £80 for annual membership.
The supermarket will give you a voucher if you don’t make the money back from your membership.
Tesco’s delivery saver programme is £7.99 and you’ll also collect Clubcard points on your subscription fee.
You’ll get access to slots a week before non-members and you’ll get priority for Christmas bookings.
If you don’t make a saving, Tesco will send you a grocery voucher to make up the difference after you cancel the plan.
Morrisons says you can save up to £167 a year with its delivery pass.
The cheaper Tuesday to Thursday pass is £5 a month.
You’ll save more if you can pay for a longer pass up front: it’s £20 for six months or £35 for a year.
If you want the Monday to Sunday option, it’s £8 a month, £40 for six months or £65 a year.
Asda also has different levels – it’s £6 for a monthly anytime pass or £72 for the year.
You can pay for an annual Tuesday to Thursday membership for just £35.
All of the major UK supermarkets offer you the option to collect your online shopping order, rather than have it delivered.
If you have a car and the supermarket isn’t too far away this could be a cheaper option – but remember to factor in your own fuel costs.
Asda collection slots cost 50p and Tesco’s start at £1.
It is free to click and collect at Morrisons and at Sainsbury’s it costs 50p.
Aldi doesn’t offer home delivery but you can click and collect from the budget supermarket for £4.99.
Amend your basket
Supermarkets will let you change your order once you’ve placed it, within a certain timeframe.
The cut off point is usually the night before your delivery is due.
So if you book on Monday and it’s scheduled for Friday, you should be able to change it until Thursday evening.
If you go through your order just before the cut off point, you might be able to axe things you have decided you don’t need.
You’ll also be able to check if there are any new deals, discounts or promotions on items you want.
At Tesco, you can amend your order until 11.:45pm the night before your slot, and at Sainsbury’s it’s 11pm.
For Morrisons and Asda customers, the deadline depends on when your order is booked for.
Check for substitutions
If the supermarket doesn’t have the item you asked for, they might substitute it for a different product.
But if you don’t want the swap, make sure you hand it back to the driver.
You’ll get the amount knocked off your order.
If you do decide to keep the substitution, the amount you will be charged depends on the supermarket.
Tesco and Asda won’t charge you more, even if the substitution is more expensive.
Sainsbury’s will send you a voucher for the difference.
But Morrisons says it will charge for how much the item cost when it was packed.
You should get the difference repaid if the substitution is cheaper than your original choice.
Don’t forget your loyalty card
Just because you’re not in the store doesn’t mean you can’t use your loyalty card, if you have one.
You will be able to attach the card to your online account to collect points and benefit from any discounts or offers you’re entitled to.
Morrisons has it’s My Morrisons app with personalised offers and Sainsbury’s customers can collect Nectar points online.
Tesco allows you to use your Clubcard while online shopping, so you’ll get lower prices and collect points.
Asda is currently trialling a loyalty scheme across 48 stores, so if you live near one of those branches you can try it out.
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