Save Money at the Grocery Store…Using Your iPhone
Humans need first and foremost to eat, and what we spend on food accounts for a huge portion of our budget. We’re in the grocery store every week, spending hundreds of dollars per month (maybe thousands for those with a couple of kids) on groceries.
For those looking to save some cash on those visits to the local supermarkets, the days of clipping coupons from the newspaper are gone. Thanks to the iPhone, saving money at the grocery store has never been easier. Here we take a look at some of the top apps for grocery store savings. Some are free, some cost a few bucks, but all of them will help you save.
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Stick to a Strict Shopping List
Without a strict shopping list, you’re likely to buy on impulse and purchase unnecessary items, thereby racking up a huge bill at the checkout counter.
The free Grocery Gadget Lite – Shopping List app allows you to make a shopping list showing the price of each item right from your phone. It will even automatically display any active store coupons to save on items on your list. The app has a social feature too: It will let you scan the barcode of items in the store to share and sync your shopping list with friends and family.
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Buy Food Locally
Buying locally grown food is not only cheaper, but also better for the environment. The $2.99 Locavore app will search for farmers’ markets in your local area, and will tell you which produce is in season. There’s nothing like supporting small businesses in your community...
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Stop Clipping Coupons
Tired of spending hours thumbing through the newspaper to clip coupons, only to arrive at the store and realize that you left them all at home. Download the free Coupon Sherpa iPhone app and find coupons using the app, which displays a barcode that the cashier can scan to give you the discount. You’ll never worry about losing coupons again.
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With the free Ziplist app, users can organize their shopping list by category and aisle in the grocery store, saving time once in the store. Spending less time in the store will prevent you from wandering around and spending money on things you don’t need, and will help you get in and out and on the way back home in no time.
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With the Apples2Oranges app (99 cents) you can compare the prices of two items, even if the sizes and amounts are different. The app will even convert units (like meters into feet) to see which one gives the more bang for your buck. This app will be a huge help the next time you’re wondering whether it’s cheaper to buy 10 rolls of paper towels for $12 or 15 rolls for $16 (it’s the latter by the way).
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Stop Wasting Food!
Ever overcook food and then have to throw it out? Wasting food is wasting money, and it always feels like an offense to all the starving children of the world when food goes into the trash. With the CookIt iPhone app, you can plan the cooking and timing of your meal more efficiently to ensure that all food is cooked to perfection - all for only 99 cents.
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Track Your Expenses
How can you save money if you don’t know how much you spend each month? For $4.99, the iXpenseIt app will let you take a picture of your receipt and store the data, allowing you to track exactly how much money you’ve been spending. While you’re at it, use this online expense calculator to determine how much money you save each month.
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Scan the Barcode
The RedLaser app allows users to scan barcodes as they shop, and the app will browse thousands of retailers, including eBay and Half.com, to find out where a product is cheapest. Scanning the barcode will also allow you to read product reviews and get more detailed information about the product. This sophisticated app is free.
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Just because a certain recipe suggests a particular spice, doesn’t mean you must use it. In fact, many times there are substitutes for spices or other ingredients that are cheaper and serve the same purpose in your meal. For 99 cents, the Food Substitutes iPhone app will find cheaper substitutes for different ingredients from your recipes.
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Follow the Recipe
Imagine you’ve had a long day at work and can’t think straight enough to decide what to cook for dinner tonight. So you decide to eat out at a restaurant, but that quickly gets expensive. Thankfully, the free iFood Assistant LITE app has thousands of quick recipe ideas with easy to understand videos on how to prepare certain dishes.
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Coupons Near You
Use the Yowza!! iPhone app to find mobile coupons near you. Type in your zip code and in seconds, hundreds of coupons will appear that are redeemable at stores in your local area. There’s no need to print the coupons out, since a barcode appears on the screen for the cashier to scan. You’ll save money another way too because, by the way, this app is totally free.
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Vegetarian and Vegan
For the serially organized, make your shopping list using the Green Grocer iPhone app, a fully functional list app for $4.99. Just shake the phone to sort your list or remove items as you shop. The app also has a vegetarian and vegan feature to help create specific shopping lists.
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Buy What’s On Sale
With the free Grocery Pal app, you can see which items are on sale at your local supermarkets. You will save money immediately by selectively shopping at different stores and for different products. Whichever foods are on sale is what you should buy to prepare for dinner that week. The app allows you to compare prices among local supermarkets too, so sale or not you will always know where to go to get the cheapest food.
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Save Money on Gas
The money you spend on gasoline from your weekly trips to the grocery store can add up. Priced at $2.99, the GasBuddy app will find the cheapest gas stations in your area, based on your zip code. Now you can drive home from all of those shopping trips comfortable with the knowledge that you saved money at every stage of the process.
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- Scott Gamm is the founder of the personal finance website HelpSaveMyDollars.com. He has appeared on NBC’s TODAY, MSNBC, Fox Business Network, ABC News and CBS.