It’s easy for food costs to get out of control. I often find my family eats out more when we don’t have a plan for what to cook. The same goes for when we forget to take something out to thaw for dinner. This results in us spending more than planned on food.
Between your grocery bill and eating out at restaurants, this category of spending often has quite a bit of opportunity for savings if you haven’t been a disciplined budgeter.
Thankfully, successful meal planning, as well as some fantastic grocery and recipe apps and websites, can help you improve your food spending and your total finances, potentially by 1% or more.
If you make a sustainable reduction in your food budget, you’ll be that much closer to reaching financial independence. Here are some useful grocery apps and recipe websites. They can help you keep your food costs down, even when you forget to set something out for dinner.
Walmart Grocery App
If you live near a Walmart and are willing to shop there, the Walmart Grocery app is a must-have for those looking to save on groceries. The app allows you to see the current prices on any grocery item a particular Walmart store carries. You can use this information to price shop other stores sales against Walmart’s usually low prices.
If you’re willing to let Walmart pick your groceries, it also allows you to schedule free grocery pickup. You just have to you spend $30 or more. This saves you the time and hassle of navigating the Walmart crowds and aisles at the same prices offered in the store. It also reduces impulse purchases. And heck, it might encourage you to actually grocery shop when you'd rather not.
Your Favorite Grocery Store’s App
Walmart isn’t the only grocery store that offers apps. Chances are, your local grocery store has an app, too. While it may not show you the prices of everything in stock, most grocery store apps offer savings, deals, weekly flyers, and more. Some even offer loyalty programs.
Our favorite grocery store to get produce from, Lucky’s Market, has an amazing app that shows the weekly sales.
Additionally, the app gives you a loyalty reward of a $5 off coupon after your spending crosses the $100 threshold. Once you cross the threshold, you start at zero and build to the next $5 reward.
Grocery Pal App
If you don’t want to scan through various grocery store flyers to find the best deals on the items on your grocery list, you should check out the Grocery Pal app. Enter your location, and the app will show you which stores are around you. Then, select the stores you regularly shop at.
Grocery Pal allows you to search for sales at the stores you shop at. You can click on items from the sales to add them to your list.
However, this can be dangerous and result in buying things you hadn’t planned on. Instead, you can create your list first and search to see if the items on your list are in the sale ads for any of the stores you shop at.
Of course, going to multiple grocery stores just to save a couple bucks can be a big waste of gas, mileage on your car, and your time. That said, if there’s a massive sale you can stock up on that will save you quite a bit of money, it may be worth it.
Out Of Milk App
If you have a large family or you find yourself making paper grocery lists, the Out of Milk app may be able to help you grocery shop more efficiently.
Whenever we go shopping, it never fails that I’ve forgotten to add something we need to the list. Why? Because we make a list right before we head out the door to the grocery store rather than as we realize we need things.
You can avoid this by simply adding items to your grocery list in the Out of Milk app whenever you realize you need something. After all, we almost always have our phones with us.
You can share lists with your household members so they can add items they need to the list, as well. This way, you won’t get home from the grocery store and realize you forgot something you need to make dinner tonight. Instead, you can keep your food budget in control.
My Fridge Food And Super Cook
My Fridge Food and Super Cook are two excellent websites you need to be using if you want to save on groceries. These sites allow you to input the ingredients you have on hand and shows you a list of recipes you can make from those ingredients. This can help you out in multiple ways.
Let’s say you forgot to set something out for dinner as I do on a semi-regular basis. Rather than giving up and going out to eat, I can type in the ingredients I do have available to see what I can make. This easily saves me a ton of money versus eating out.
Another way these websites can help out is when it’s getting close to time to go grocery shopping. You’ll probably hear common complaints of, “There’s nothing to eat in our house,” but that’s rarely true.
You usually have plenty of food, just not the go-to items you’re used to eating. Enter what you have left in your fridge and pantry and see what meals these sites come up with and try one out.
It could save a couple more days before going grocery shopping. Or even help you avoid eating out if you’re not ready to make a grocery run yet.
Finally, these websites can help reduce your food waste. If you have something in your fridge or pantry that’s about to go bad, but you can’t think of a way to use it, plug it and your other ingredient options into the website to see how you can use the food before it spoils.
Being more conscious of the food you eat, as well as the food you waste, can help save you a ton of money on groceries.
Combine these actions with checking prices to make sure you’re getting the best deal on the majority of your grocery shopping could easily improve your finances 1% and move you closer to financial independence.