Costco In-Person vs Costco Instacart vs Amazon Fresh : Battle of Cheapest Groceries

Earlier this year, I shredded good amount of body fat. Once the fat loss period was over, I started my “gain” phase with goal of eating more calories than what my body needs to put on muscles. I’m into 3 months of gain phase now and I eat about 3000 calories per day.

Eating such amount of calories has definitely increased my grocery needs. As I try to eat healthy high quality food as much as possible, I’d like to keep the costs down too.

Signing up for Costco membership for my groceries was a no brainer. But I never analyzed how much of a difference it would make compared to other options like Amazon Fresh.

This is analysis of my today’s grocery run.


Costco In-Person shopping wins.

Costco In-Person $121.13
Costco via Instacart Express Membership$153.03
Amazon Fresh$189.57

The Items and Cost Matrix

ItemCostco In-Person Costco via Instacart Amazon Fresh
*Items are Amazon Fresh version of the same product
Organic Bananas, 3 lbs1.692.182.53
Nonfat Milk, 2 gal4.995.466.19
Oikos Greek Nonfat Yogurt, 18 x 5.3 oz7.998.7315.99
Blueberries, 5 lb9.8910.8119.81
Canned Pumpkin, 3 x 29 oz6.897.5319.17
Mission Soft Taco, 2 x 8 ct5.996.559.58
Roasted Veg Melange, 4 lbs15.4916.9314.40
Salmon Milano20.8626.7424.47
Bread Organic 2 x 24 oz8.399.1710.98
Kodiak Cakes Flapjack Mix, 4.5 lbs8.499.2825.56
Organic Strawberries, 2 lbs8.499.289.98
Mini Peppers 1.5 lbs5.996.557.28
Organic Salsa, 48 oz4.995.4611.31
Organic Medjool Dates, 2 lb8.4912.0112.32
Total 14 Items$121.13$136.68 Cart Total

$139.35 With Instacart Express Fee

$153.03 With 10% Delivery Tip

$208.52 With 10% Delivery Tip

Notes and Thoughts

  • This is not a scientific methodology and specific to my use case. But overall, I do find Costco the cheapest option.
  • Why Amazon Fresh and not other grocery stores like Fred Meyer/QFC/Safeway/Walmart?
    • I did analysis sometime back about this. Amazon Fresh has the best selection of all and has more-or-less same prices as other big selection grocery stores. Walmart is definitely cheaper in most cases, but I’ve had problems with the product quality from Walmart.
  • Costco product quality is great. Their return program also helps if something is off.
  • The $60 Costco membership fee can be recovered with one single trip to the warehouse.
  • Selection of items at Costco can be limited. I have about dozen items which are not found at Costco but are available on Amazon Fresh. e.g. Ezekiel Bread
  • I’d be going with model of weekly trip to Costco and order-when-needed from Amazon Fresh.
    • Instacart Express membership is not worth it for me. With Amazon Prime, I get no-nonsense free delivery of Amazon Fresh.


Costco In-Person

Instacart Cart

Amazon Fresh Checkout






One response to “Costco In-Person vs Costco Instacart vs Amazon Fresh : Battle of Cheapest Groceries”

  1. James Avatar

    Your post was posted in the reddit for Costco –

    It’s kind of crazy that you would proceed to pay some of the exorbitant prices on AmazonFresh for certain items that are nearly 200% of the cost of the product found locally in-store at Costco. For me, those items would simply be left off my order and I’d order them elsewhere or I’d look for an alternative more reasonably priced product. Amazon is notorious for constantly changing prices as well with wild fluctuations, while Costco tends to keep prices relatively stable.

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