3 Free Smartphone Apps that Help You Save Money on Groceries and Other Goods
By Joe Pawlikowski
The smartphone has brought many conveniences to our lives.
It allows us efficient communication through any number of channels. It can tell us where we’re going, or where to go. It can recommend to us any number of services that we seek at the moment. But that convenience comes at a relatively steep price. Is the added convenience really worth that monthly cost? When I was a young child, one highlight of my week was going through circulars with my mother and picking out coupons and pointing out sales. It was our little bonding moment.
Those circulars, for the most part, came from the Sunday paper. Unfortunately, many people no longer receive newspaper delivery and so don’t get this opportunity. But they can get the same experience in a different way, thanks to the modern smartphone and the hundreds of thousands of available applications.
1. Grocery Pal (iPhone) The Grocery Pal app is like an entire circular shrunk down to fit an iPhone screen. It contains everything you’d see in a paper circular, including sale items, promotions, and coupons. Unlike a paper circular, though, there’s no need to clip anything. You can mark down sales and bookmark coupons for use when you visit the store. Most grocery coupon apps provide these functions, but Grocery Pal takes things a step further. The app allows you to:
- Make a complete grocery list, including sale and coupon items. Going into a store with a list can save money, since it lends focus to the trip.
- Organize the list by aisle, so you’re not running back and forth to get items further down the list.
- Share the list with other app users, so you and your spouse can stay updated on what still needs buying.
Perhaps the greatest feature of Grocery Pal is that it uses cloud hosting services, so your lists will be available no matter what. If you need to get a new iPhone, or if you need to delete and re-install the app, all of your information remains on Grocery Pal’s cloud servers.
2. Grocery Smarts (Android) Have you ever picked up an item at a grocery store and wondered if you could get a better price at another store? Once you’re at a particular store, though, it probably doesn’t make sense to visit another, especially just for a single item. What if you knew ahead of time which stores had better deals? You could plan a value-laden trip. The Grocery Smarts app aims to help you find the best deal on every item in your shopping list. It scans weekly circulars from major national retailers such as Target, Walgreens, and Walmart to find what’s on sale at any particular time. It is also adding grocery stores for the same purpose. The process works like this:
- Enter your shopping list.
- Find out which outlets have the best prices for your items.
- Enter in any coupons you plan to use, including coupons available through the Grocery Smarts app.
- Calculate your bottom line total.
- Email yourself coupons to print out and use in stores.
The app will show you a shopping itinerary that will save you the most possible money on your items. You can then manually edit the itinerary to cut out unnecessary trips; it’s unlike you’ll want to make a 5-mile drive to Target to save 50 cents on paper towels.
3. SnipSnap Coupon App Most major retailers and supermarkets are equipped to handle scanning your smartphone screen. So why are you still clipping coupons? If the answer is, you’ve always found the deals in the circulars, then there is still a smartphone solution. SnipSnap Coupon App is your personal physical coupon manager. And it’s so much better than just clipping from the circular.
Instead of taking scissors to the circular, you’ll snap a picture with your iPnone’s camera. Snip Snap Coupon App then organizes all information from the coupon, including text, expiration date, and barcode. The coupon is now stored in your phone, ready for redemption at the register. This works with any coupon, even the ones you get at the supermarket check-out. The app will let you know when those coupons are about to expire, too, so you can make sure to redeem them in time.
Two features of SnipSnap stand out above the rest. First is the ability to view coupons that other users have photographed. That makes it like an enormous coupon base. You add to the community with your own coupon pictures. Second, it can provide in-store reminders. When you have coupons for a store you enter, SnipSnap can send you a notification letting you know, so that you won’t forget to take advantage.
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