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The Best Grocery Coupon Websites and Apps
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You know the old-school strategies for cutting food costs—plan weekly menus, scour circulars, clip coupons, build stockpiles of sale items. And, yes, we know that's easier said than done (we're busy parents, too). Thankfully, there are genius new tools that take the sweat—and scissors—out of saving. Two words: free money!
Classic Saving Strategy: Cook around the sales.
Modern Upgrade: With the Food on the Table app, punch in your fam's food preferences (no fish, crazy about Italian) and your fave stores, and, using your phone's GPS, it'll comb through the circulars for you and suggest recipes built around that week's bargains. Already have a menu? Type in any ingredients you don't have home at shortcuts.com to find the lowest prices at local stores. It'll even look for coupons and add them right to your grocery-store loyalty card.
Classic Savings Strategy: Make a list and stick to it.
Modern Upgrade: There are plenty of cool list apps, but Grocery IQ kicks it up a notch with integrated coupons from coupons.com. When you add something, it alerts you if there are coupons available to print or load to your grocery-store loyalty card. The newer PushPins app (linked with 6,000+ stores) automatically loads coupons to your loyalty card and suggests weekly specials when you build your shopping list or scan bar codes in-store.
Classic Savings Strategy: Never pay full price (coupons, baby!).
Modern Upgrade: Let coupons come to you. Safeway (Just for U) is among the chains rolling out apps that offer personalized digital coupons based on your shopping habits (with SCAN IT!, you can scan and bag groceries as you shop). No matter where you shop, link your plastic loyalty card to the store's digital coupon center (most chains have one on their website now) so you're not missing no-brainer savings at checkout.
Classic Savings Strategy: Stack coupons on top of sales
Modern Upgrade: The Grocery Smarts Coupon Shopper app makes this savings twofer simple by matching up circulars (for chains such as Target, CVS, Rite-Aid, and Walgreens) with available coupons to show your ultimate bottom line (it'll hook you up with printable coupons or tell you newspaper circular dates). Make it a trifecta by using your store discount card, too. Always forgetting the one you (d'oh!) need? Consolidate them all on your phone with the CardStar app.
Classic Savings Strategy: Get the most bang for your bucks.
Modern Upgrade: If you're the type to pay off your credit card bill each month (a key “if,” experts warn), browse “grocery rewards” card options at a comparison site like nerdwallet.com or cardbenefit.com to see if one's right for you (some offer 6 percent cash back). And register your store loyalty cards at tuition-savings site upromise.com to earn an effortless 1 to 3 percent back on groceries toward your kid's college account; download coupons from the site to nab extra college bucks.