Thrive Market: Money-Saver, or Money-Spender?


My introduction to Thrive Market began on social media. Somehow, the cookies on my computer knew that I’m into natural food. So, I began to see ads to try Thrive Market, but didn’t give it much thought. However, over the months, I’d been hoping to simplify my shopping. I really appreciate items coming directly to my home (especially if shipping is free!), rather than me having to drag my passel of children to various stores to compare prices as I did traditionally. And so, I asked my Facebook friends if there’s a food marketplace online where they like to shop, similar to what Amazon is to books, but especially for health foods. Thrive Market was recommended.

Over the next few days, I spent a few minutes here and there reading on the website and trying to figure things out. Let me simplify for you:

  1. You need to be a member to purchase from Thrive Market. There is an annual fee of $60, which they guarantee you will make back in savings. (Alternatively, you can apply for a free membership, called Thrive Gives. I qualified for this, either due to low-income, high number of dependents, or my status as a teacher. It didn’t really specify.)
  2. Once you are a member, there is nothing to keep track of. You don’t receive or pay for anything monthly; you just place orders throughout the year whenever you want. (The website states that once you become a member, you can cancel for membership refund within 30 days. One friend of mine online mentioned that she found the membership difficult to cancel.)
  3. New members receive 15% off their first purchase. (So make that first order worth your while!) There is free shipping for orders over $49 dollars, and the website currently has a promo that orders over $59 receive a free gift.

My Personal Experience

The website breaks down its products into 6 categories: Food, Beauty/Bath/Body, Health, Babies and Kids, Home, and Pets. Each category also has several subcategories. I was mostly concerned with ordering food and body products.

I received my box 5 days after placing my order. This is a little long to wait for groceries, but if you menu-plan and shop in advance, it isn’t too bad. I ordered 25 items, at a total of 30 pounds. That box was much harder to get into the house than a grocery bag!

My items were well-padded and wrapped securely inside on my box; however, I still had 6 items that were significantly dented! I don’t know how they became dented, however. It must have been during the shipping process, but not for lack of padding. I emailed the company that evening, and received a return email from customer service two days later, stating that they would replace my items and ship them at no additional cost.

This was a wonderful offer, considering that the dented items were (mostly) still usable. The total replacement was valued at about $30. However, I did have to wait 5 more days for the delivery to arrive, and I hadn’t given myself that extra padding in my menu plan for the beef tallow I was hoping to use for a recipe. (I had to throw away the original tallow, since, somehow the jar’s lid had come off in transit. And it stunk.)

When the replacements arrived, they were wrapped and padded the same way, this time with no dents. However, only 5 items were shipped, and 6 had been damaged. At that point, however, I figured that since I could use the original (though dented) and they had already replaced $25 worth of groceries, I wasn’t going to gripe anymore.

Was It Worthwhile?

All of the items we’ve opened and used up until this point have been great! I especially like the coconut aminos that cost about 1/3 less than the stores and other websites. Since Thrive Market considers itself a wholesaler, they can pass on significant savings to (you) the customer. I did notice significant savings from shopping in local stores, such as saving $3–4 a bottle on natural soaps and various canned goods.

I made use of all of the special offers: the free membership, free shipping, free gift (avocado oil!), and 15% off my first order. My original bill was $175. After the specials, it came down to $152. However, somehow Thrive Market tells me I saved “$125.” I’m not sure how that works; it must be estimated from savings I would have received at a distribution center. (However, I wouldn’t have paid that much to begin with!)

If I had to pay for a membership, I’m not sure if this would be worth it. I’d want to make sure I factor in my time and effort with contacting customer service and the extra days I needed to wait for the tallow that was originally damaged. It depends a lot on how often I will order in the next year. But I do appreciate their willingness to guarantee the membership, and I like the products and brands they stock. Overall, I do believe I’ll be ordering again from the comfort of my own computer during the children’s rest-time. So much easier than lugging every body around the store in the shopping cart! (Although, if you need tips for managing the kids in the grocery store, see chapter 1 of my book!)

If you would like to try Thrive and see for yourself, I’d appreciate you joining up through my link, as I will receive credit to my Thrive account to use to help feed my family! Thanks!

 

Mrs. Marie K. MacPherson, vice president of Into Your Hands LLC, lives in Mankato, Minnesota, with her husband Ryan and their children, whom she homeschools. She is editor of Mothering Many: Sanity-Saving Strategies from Moms of Four or More (2016).

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TAGS: Healthcare, GAPS, Product Review

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