But groceries are one of the variables we can control.
Choosing generic products over name-brand products can sliver a bit off the grand total. And so can looking for sticker deals on items that are about to expire.
But one of the easiest – and most effective – ways to spend less at the grocery store is by using the apps designed for this very purpose.
Grab your phone, sit back, and I’ll share my favourite digital apps for saving money on groceries...
Saving money at the grocery store starts long before you actually get there…
Proper planning is the difference between loading up a cart with impulse items, treats, and good deals you may not actually need or want.
From making a list to tracking your grocery spending over time, here are a few apps that can help you trim the fat from your food budget each month – while still sitting at home in your PJs.
1. Big Oven
Families that plan their meals in advance have significantly lower grocery bills – and less food waste – because they’re taking the time to get organized.
Apps like Big Oven allow you to search for new recipe ideas and create collections of your favorites. And you can also follow friends and family members to get inspiration from what they’re cooking up.
2. Out of Milk
Scribbling down a grocery list on a piece of paper means you run the risk of forgetting in on the kitchen counter – ugh!
List-making apps like Out of Milk allow to make virtual lists and share them with family members so everyone knows what needs to be picked up.
It’s easy to overspend on groceries without even realizing it.
Apps like Mint for Canada keep all of your financial accounts in one spot so you can set budgets and categorize your spending in each area of your life.
The app also includes money-saving tips and spending alerts.
Never miss a sale
While there are still shoppers who swear by sitting down with a pile of flyers and snipping the coupons they plan to use – maybe even sorting them into plastic folders or binders, if they’re really dedicated – it’s not an ideal system.
The coupons can become lost or damaged, or we might not realize they’ve expired until we’re at the cash register. Then you have to make a split-second decision: “Did I really want that item? Or was I just buying it because I had a coupon?”
Of course, an easier solution came in the form of many couponing apps.
If you hate clipping paper coupons from the flyers in the newspaper, Coupgon is a way to keep your hands newsprint-free.
Just “clip” the virtual offers within the app, scan the blue sticker at the cash register, and your cashier can apply the savings right away.
In our digital world, we’re often more comfortable browsing online…
Flipp is a way you can virtually flip through hundreds of flyers from your favourite stores – and hey, you’re also saving lots of trees from being turned into newsprint!
Flipp makes it easy to “circle” items from multiple flyers into one easy shopping list. You can also quickly search for “apples” and find the best price available in seconds.
Scroll through the offers in Snap by Groupon and you could score a discount on your entire purchase.
The offers change every week and usually don’t include grocery stores, but you could get a great deal on clothing or housewares – which puts more cash back into your grocery budget.
Coupons aren’t the only way to save money at the grocery store.
Rebates are like after-the-fact coupons that refund a portion of what you paid for a particular item, and there are apps that make it easy to recoup that cash.
This was the first cash-back rebate app and it’s still one of the most popular in an ever-growing market. There are new offers each week on Checkout51 and all you need to do is purchase your groceries, snap a photo of the receipt with your phone, and start collecting rebates in your account.
Similar to Checkout51, Zweet also has weekly offers and requires you to submit a photo of your receipt in order to qualify for rebates. Once you hit the $20 mark, you can transfer the cash to your bank account. Free money? YES, please!
You favourite grocery app?
Do you have a favourite grocery app? Tell us in the comments below.