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By Carol Church

MonkeyBusiness Images/Photospin

In Part 1 of this series, we went over some useful and time-tested ways to save on groceries. In this second installment, we’ll give you more ways—but this time, we’re focusing on savings methods involving apps and the Internet! There’s so much technology out there these days to help us save money. We hope these methods are helpful.

  1. Use budget-minded recipes. If you want to cut down on your food costs but aren’t sure where to start, following some of the many price-conscious recipe and grocery bloggers out there can be a huge step in the right direction. For instance, check out 5 Dollar Dinners, Good Cheap Eats, Budget Bytes, and others like these.
  2. Try an online grocery service. If you’re like me, you may have assumed that the online grocery ordering and delivery services now available in many areas (such as Peapod, Shipt, Fresh Direct, Instacart, Amazon Fresh, and so on) charge a premium and aren’t worth it. However, some budget shoppers recommend these services highly, saying that the ability to compare price per ounce, avoid impulse buys, watch the running total in your cart, and save on gas are well worth slightly higher prices and delivery fees. If you’re curious and have the option available, you may want to check out the possibilities. (There’s also no denying that delivery can be a lifesaver for parents, especially those who are “single-parenting” due to the military lifestyle.)Consider couponing and savings apps. In today’s brave new world, tons of apps and programs vie for our attention as well as our consumer information by offering tempting savings and rebates on various items, including groceries. Some of these apps, like Favado, offer relatively instant rebates on products, which can be redeemed for cash after you watch an ad or complete a survey related to a product you purchase. Others, like Ibotta, point you to coupons you can print out on items you tell them you’re interested in. Still others, such as Ebates, will give you cash back when you shop at selected stores with their app. While these apps have many advocates, and may well save you or make you money, so consider how they work before making the choice to use them; their goal is typically to obtain consumer information from you for marketing purposes. Like couponing, these apps also use time and might influence your spending in ways that surprise you.
  3. Menu plan. One of the biggest culprits when it comes to spending too much on groceries is food waste. And one of the biggest causes of food waste is…let’s face it…not planning a menu. It’s a lot of work all at once, but once it’s done, it’s done, and you can buy exactly what you need, maximizing your food dollar. Need some other ways to cut back on food waste? Got some ingredients at home and not sure what to do with them? There are many tips and recipes out there to help with this. For instance, soups and stocks can help you use up meats and vegetables that need to be eaten. Other “catch-all” meals that use small amounts of unclaimed food include fried rice, quiche, and savory bread puddings. Or try the Use Up Leftovers Tool at BigOven or the recipe finder at Supercook. For more on avoiding food waste and using up ingredients, check out The Kitchn’s Ultimate Guide for Using Up Every Type of Food and these Tips to Reduce Food Waste.

Good luck saving money on food costs and helping others to do so.