Saving significant money on groceries, used to mean hours spent perusing newspaper ad circulars, clipping coupons, and writing out detailed shopping lists! Fortunately, there are some great alternatives to this time-consuming approach for frugal shoppers, and you can find almost all of them on your smartphone or computer. If you’re looking for an easier (and more fun!) way to cut costs at the grocery store, here are 9 new tools and online resources (for free or little cost) to help!
One we have recently started using at One Good Thing By Jillee is Ziplist.
Organize Your Shopping List
Ziplist is a great way to organize recipes, plan meals, and create grocery shopping lists based on recipes you save.
Once you create a free account you can start saving recipes immediately from your favorite web sites.
On OGT, for example, if you like a recipe you can click on the “recipe card” at the end of the post, save it to your Ziplist account, and then you will automatically have all the ingredients saved in a convenient shopping list for your next grocery trip!
They even offer a web clipper that you can drag into the tool bar on your browser to make it even more convenient to save recipes to your ZipList recipe box.
There is a ZipList app for all of your devices so that you can access your recipe box easily and conveniently. You can even sync up with the lists of friends or family members who have the same app.
Mobile coupons are fast becoming the popular option to find bargains. Simply download an app like Cellfire or Coupon Sherpa and it will detect your location and display the best coupons around you. Most coupons are scannable straight off your phone at the register.
Printable coupons are also available online and can be found on coupon sites like Coupons.com by searching a type of product, like “toothpaste,” or by searching for your preferred brand. This is an easy way to find coupons for exactly what is on your shopping list – just hit “print” and you’re ready to go.
Most grocery stores even have their own free mobile apps now that give you instant access to weekly sales. Search for your preferred grocer in the app store and you might be surprised by what you find.
It’s likely that you will need a loyalty or rewards card in order to make the most of a grocery store’s mobile app. If you’re like me and carry 20 different loyalty cards in your wallet (or on your keychain) for all your favorite retailers…there is a better way! Now you can keep all your loyalty/rewards cards virtually on your phone using apps such as KeyRing and CardStar. Just download the app, take a photo of the barcode on each card and you’re good to go.
Online Meal Planning
You no longer need to wait until you’re at the store to see what’s on sale each week. Whether it’s on a store’s app, website, or a coupon site, there are plenty of places to look at a grocery store’s weekly circulars before you get to the store itself. Once you know what’s on sale you can make up your meal plan for the week which can save you SOOOOOOO much money! See this previous post: What’s For Dinner: Meal Planning 101.
Connecting with your favorite grocery store on social media can also save you time and money. Stores often post recipes in conjunction with what is available in the store or on special, making it easier to come up with meal ideas and ensuring you don’t waste perishable items when you just can’t think of what to make. Other benefits include giveaways, contests and access to exclusive deals.
Another “social” way to save is to become a follower of @CheapTweet on Twitter and get instant deals tweeted to you. Cheaptweet collects all the latest coupons that people are buzzing about on Twitter.
The Blogger Connection
There TONS of blogs with tips on making the most of coupons, finding the best sales, making food last longer and so on, as well as blogs that are explicit about where they shop, like I Heart Kroger (iheartkroger.com) etc. Blogs are an excellent resource for finding new ways to save money. Don’t you agree??? :-)
Check What’s on Sale…All In One Place
Websites like My Grocery Deals collect all the current sales and specials from your neighborhood grocery stores and make them searchable. For example, a quick search for ‘eggs’ found that Target near me is having a 2 for $3 sale on Market Pantry eggs through Saturday. You can also get additional coupons and special alerts when your favorite foods go on sale.
With the Apples2Oranges app, you can compare the prices of two products to see which one gives you the most for your money. It allows you to compare two similar items, such as a 12 oz. bottle of pasta sauce offered for $2.50 vs. a 16 oz. bottle of pasta sauce offered for $3.50, to quickly determine which option is the better deal.
You’ll save money by buying locally and shopping in season. Some farmers have year-round greenhouses so they can offer out-of-season produce, but you’ll pay a premium for it. In-season produce is the cheapest during peak harvesting times when everyone is competing with the same stock. Locavore, is a free app that helps you find local, in-season food.
Using technology has GREATLY improved my overall grocery deals shopping experience! It has actually turned what used to be a chore into a more efficient, effective, and enjoyable experience.
What kind of “technology” have you tried to help save money on groceries (or anything else for that matter?)