The 13 Best Grocery Shopping Apps That Will Save You Time and Money
Forget that list on the fridge—these grocery shopping apps make food shopping and meal prep faster, easier, cheaper and more convenient than ever
What are the best grocery shopping apps?
With rising food prices and shrinkflation taking a toll on our grocery budgets, every dollar counts. That’s why it pays big to use grocery shopping apps or websites like Mouse Print that will save you money and time. Not only can grocery apps help you find bargains on the items with the highest markups while shopping—they can also compare prices, plan your meals and more.
“Rising costs are stretching households thin, so anything you can do to save money on groceries will help free up money in your budget for other expenses,” says Sara Rathner, a personal finance expert at NerdWallet. “With grocery shopping apps, you can spend less with relatively little effort.”
To learn how to save money on groceries and spend less time planning meals, start by downloading these expert-approved grocery shopping apps. You can also cut costs by shopping at the best grocery stores by value and tracking your spending with these budget apps.
Get Reader’s Digest’s Read Up newsletter for more humor, cleaning, travel, tech and fun facts all week long.
Best for coupons
Say goodbye to the days of spending hours cutting coupons or forgetting to bring them to the store. With Ibotta, you can browse and unlock deals for grocery stores and brands electronically. “It’s like the 2022 version of clipping coupons—faster, easier and all on your phone,” Rathner says.
To start saving, simply snap a photo of your receipt and redeem the offers. The app verifies the purchase and delivers a cash reward to your account, where you can then cash out via PayPal, Venmo or a selection of gift cards. You can also link your loyalty program accounts and earn cash back on select items, according to Rathner.
The best part: It’s not only for grocery shopping. The company partners with leading brands and retailers to offer cash back on groceries, electronics, clothing, gifts, and home and office supplies. Score a $10 welcome bonus when you download and use the app for the first time.
Looking for other ways to save? Here’s the cheapest day of the week to do anything, from getting gas to buying a house.
Best for meal delivery
Why leave home when you can have groceries delivered in as little as an hour? Instacart, which partners with more than 300 retailers across the country, connects you with personal shoppers in your area who pick up and deliver your groceries from your favorite local stores, like Whole Foods, Costco (no membership required), Target and many others. The app also provides tons of special offers and coupons from leading brands that are instantly redeemed at purchase.
By grocery shopping online through Instacart, you can also prevent impulse buying and overspending. “When doing your shopping in the store, you may see a lot of things you want that you end up buying, without actually needing them,” says Jill Gonzalez, a financial analyst at WalletHub. “This can be avoided in the app and can save you a lot of money.”
Cost: Free to download, and delivery is free on your first order (over $35), but after that, the delivery fee depends on the size of your order and the delivery time you choose. The fee will be displayed when you set a delivery time during checkout, but before your order is placed.
Best for meal planning
If you want to change your grocery shopping habits to save money and eat healthier, consider downloading a grocery shopping app that can also do meal planning for you—and more efficiently. Mealime’s healthy meal-planning service uses advanced technology to create healthy meal plans based on your preferences. Better yet, they cross-utilize ingredients, so you’ll have fewer perishable items on your grocery list.
All you have to do is select a meal plan, which will depend on the number of mouths you’re feeding and each individual’s dietary needs (vegan, gluten-free, low-carb, pescatarian, lactose-free, etc). Then, let the app work its magic, creating a list of recipes that you can make throughout the week, even auto-populating all the items into a grocery list you can easily access.
Fun fact: Mealime’s meal plans are made up of recipes that take 30 minutes or less to make, and they offer more than 200 personalization options for every type of diet.
Cost: Free basic version. Upgrading to Pro, which costs $2.99 per month, will give you access to more recipes and nutrition information, as well as additional features like filtering meals by calorie count, saving your meal plans and adding recipe notes.
Best for families
Cozi is a digital family organizer that has all the features parents need and use in their everyday lives, including shared family and work calendars, to-do and grocery lists, recipe search and meal planning. The app links recipe searching, weekly meal planning and interactive grocery or supermarket lists, so parents can delete the dozens of apps they’re using to keep up with family life and streamline everything into one convenient location.
With Cozi’s recipe search feature, you can search for and save recipes from the top recipe sites, as well as add the ingredients directly to your grocery list. The meal planner feature allows you to schedule meals, so the whole family can see what the lineup is for the week and have access to these features. Plus, each family member can get involved by adding items, saving recipes or requesting a meal.
Cost: Core features are free to use, but a few come with a premium subscription, which includes a calendar search function, birthday tracker and ad removal. An annual subscription is $29.99.
Best for healthy eating
Let’s be honest: We could all use a little nutritional advice when grocery shopping. Shopwell helps you stick to your dietary goals and needs by giving you the 411 on any grocery store item via a simple barcode scan. Whether you’re living with diabetes, avoiding gluten or simply managing sodium intake, Shopwell’s patented algorithm provides instant feedback on whether a product is in line with your unique plan.
This grocery shopping app also recommends similar, better-for-you alternatives that are available at your local store. You can even chat with a registered dietitian and receive personalized recipes, quizzes, tips and tools for a healthier grocery haul. To help you stick to your budget, make sure to avoid the grocery store items with the highest markups and opt instead for the things money experts tend to buy cheap.
Best for cash back
Coupons.com has been a go-to website among coupon clippers for years—and now you can access it on your phone too. In addition to providing digital coupons, the Coupons.com app includes cash-back offers and promotions for even more savings. Simply upload a photo of your receipt on the app to redeem the offers and get the cash deposited into your PayPal account.
Unlike store-specific grocery shopping apps, Coupons.com allows you to apply their coupons and cash-back offers anywhere you shop (although we recommend the grocery store with the best reputation!). You can score additional deals by linking your store loyalty card and selecting store-specific coupons or offers you’d like to use, Rathner says.
Best for all-around savings
While Checkout51 is one of the oldest grocery shopping apps on the market, it’s “still very much worth your time,” according to Julie Ramhold, a consumer analyst at DealNews. Like the Ibotta app, Checkout51 brings coupons, promo savings, cash-back offers and more right to your fingertips.
To start saving on your favorite grocery brands, add any offer to your C51 list by tapping on it, and then upload a photo of your receipt to redeem the discount.
Best for eco-conscious shoppers
Discounts on food that’s nearing its best-by date is one of the best-kept grocery store secrets that can translate into big savings. Thanks to the Flashfood app, you will be the first to know about discounted items at your favorite grocery store, from chains like Meijer and Stop & Shop to local independent grocers.
The app is easy to use: Just browse the list of deals at a grocery store location near you, choose your discounted food items, then place your order through the app with any major credit or debit card. When your order is ready, you can pick it up at the designated Flashfood station inside the store.
It’s a win-win: Grocery stores prevent food waste, and you make the most of a little-known trick to save money at the supermarket.
Best for co-shoppers
This shopping tool brings all your weekly circulars and coupons to your fingertips, so you can easily find the best deals near you and save more money each week. The app’s latest feature allows you to sync and share your budget grocery list with a significant other or friend, so co-shoppers can divide, conquer and never forget an item on their list.
It also lets you take a picture of a handwritten shopping list and upload it to the app, so all your items are transcribed in one place. Taking it one step further, Flipp will scan its coupons and find you offers for the items on your shopping list for an easier and more convenient way to save. While you’re saving money at the grocery store, stock up on these foods with a long shelf life.
Best for recipe lovers
SideChef is a cooking app that functions much like GPS, walking you through recipes with voice commands, step-by-step photos, how-to videos and even built-in timers (great for those learning to navigate the kitchen!). The app also allows users to bookmark recipes in a personalized cookbook and create a meal plan for the upcoming week.
Using the app, you can adjust serving sizes to create a grocery list with the correct ingredient portions to purchase without having to do the math. Then you can email the ingredients or grocery lists (including measurements) to yourself before your next shopping trip. You can also skip the grocery store and have pre-measured ingredients delivered to your door via a designated shopper, which can help reduce food waste and save money.
Best for home chefs
With the Simple Feast app, you can toss all those heavy cookbooks that have been collecting dust on your bookshelf and instead access a database of hundreds of easy home recipes created by world-class, Michelin-starred chefs.
Each recipe has been mapped with the latest nutritional research and recommendations, allowing users to personalize their feed to fuel their lifestyle effectively. Whether you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, catering to a picky toddler or have an allergy, a health condition or a lifestyle preference such as vegan or pescatarian, Simple Feast takes it all into consideration before curating your recipe selections. Not to mention, the app uses your location to suggest recipes with local in-season ingredients.
Cost: Free for a limited selection of recipes and personalization, or upgrade to premium for a monthly fee of $8.99.
Best for list makers
Swap the old pen-and-paper grocery list with Amazon Alexa’s handy app. To use this app, you’ll first need to purchase the voice-controlled Amazon Echo smart speaker. The device is one of those products that will make your life better, including by creating grocery lists at the sound of your voice.
Create a shopping list on the Alexa app by calling out Alexa’s name to activate the device and telling her to add any item to your grocery list. Then, while you shop, access your list via the Alexa app, the Alexa Shopping List on Amazon.com or the Amazon app itself.
Cost: The app is free, but the Amazon Echo needs to be purchased separately.
Best for multitaskers
Like Amazon’s Alexa app, Google Home uses a voice-based artificial-intelligence assistant to do almost anything, including adding items to your Google Home app’s shopping list. Using Google’s search and machine-learning capability, the device makes interaction so conversational that you can simply talk to it, saying something like, “Google, please add ingredients for chicken parmesan to my shopping list.”
You can even ask the device to make a purchase for you, instructing it on where to buy—Costco or Whole Foods, for example—and then telling it which card to use for payment.
Cost: The app is free, but the Google Nest needs to be purchased separately.