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  5. I do the grocery shopping for my family of 4. Here are the apps I use to fight inflation and save money.

I do the grocery shopping for my family of 4. Here are the apps I use to fight inflation and save money.

Cork Gaines   

I do the grocery shopping for my family of 4. Here are the apps I use to fight inflation and save money.
The author outside of an HEB grocery store.Cork Gaines/Business Insider
  • Inflation is still hitting Americans hard at the grocery store.
  • The high prices have me looking for new ways to save while shopping for my family.

While inflation has come down quite a bit this year, one place where Americans are still being hit hard is at the grocery store.

Overall inflation peaked at a year-over-year rate of 9.1% in June 2022. However, food at home prices (i.e., food you bring home from the grocery store) were hit even harder, reaching 13.5% in August of the same year. While that number was just 1.7% in November, we are not seeing deflation like we are starting to see in other areas.

Since January 2020, grocery prices are up just over 25% as of November 2023, outstripping the roughly 19% increase in overall prices. That means, in addition to being hard on Americans' wallets, sticker shock at the grocery store has been a gut punch.

I do the grocery shopping for a family of four, and the current economy has turned it into something that can be both stressful and a bit of a game.

One good thing about inflation is that it has forced us to be more price-conscious, and I am willing to put in a little effort to see how low our grocery bill can go. With the aid of a few apps, our family is now spending about 20% less on groceries than before inflation started to soar.

Here are the apps we use to fight inflation and save money.

Anylist is crucial for sticking to a list and meal planning

Anylist is crucial for sticking to a list and meal planning
A screenshot of Anylist shopping app.      Cork Gaines/Business Insider

We have a few Amazon Alexa devices throughout our house and use them to add items to our grocery shopping list.

However, I don't use the Alexa app at the store. Instead, I use Anylist, the only app I have found that seamlessly syncs with Alexa. Anything added to Alexa automatically gets added to Anylist, and anytime something is crossed off on Anylist, it is also removed from Alexa.

I prefer Anylist over the native Alexa list app because of some handy additional features, like organizing the items by department. You can also tag specific stores, filter the list when there, and add notes, such as coupons or rebate offers.

There is also a handy meal plan in the sidebar to help with our weekly menu and to help me make sure I am only buying what we need.

Flipp keeps me updated on weekly deals at my favorite stores

Flipp keeps me updated on weekly deals at my favorite stores
A screenshot of the Flipp shopping app.      Cork Gaines/Business Insider

Flipp is an app that gives you the online version of your favorite store's weekly flyer and some of the deals being offered.

Once inside one of the flyers, you can "clip" items you want and it will create a shopping list for you to use at the store. You also have the option of sharing the link to another app, as I do with Anylist to keep all my items in one place. I can then click on the item in Anylist if I need any other info on the deal and it will take me back to Flipp.

Ibotta helps me find rebates on things I already plan to buy

Ibotta helps me find rebates on things I already plan to buy
A screenshot of the Ibotta rebate app.      Cork Gaines/Business Insider

Ibotta is an app showing which items offer rebates at any given time. Just click on the store you plan to shop at and add an item you intend to buy to your list. After you are done shopping, it is as simple as taking a picture of your receipt and uploading it and Ibotta credits your account with the rebate.

The one thing I find I have to be careful of is being lured into an impulse buy just because something has a rebate. Uploading those receipts can be a bit addicting, so it takes some discipline to stick to things you already planned to buy or don't mind stocking up on.

Your favorite grocery store's app because paper coupons are a thing of the past

Your favorite grocery store
A screenshot of the HEB app.      Cork Gaines/Business Insider

Let's face it: Few of us still get newspapers, and most coupons that come via snail mail go straight to the recycling bin. Nowadays, the best way to get store coupons is directly on your grocery store's app.

Our big grocery store chain in Texas is HEB, but most similar locations have an app. It can still be a bit tedious at times — for some deals, I have to scan a barcode in the store and then show it to the clerk at checkout — but the savings are worth it.

Another lovely benefit is the app will tell you what aisle an item is in because most of us dads still hate to ask for directions.

Krazy Coupon Lady can help find some big wins on Amazon

Krazy Coupon Lady can help find some big wins on Amazon
A screenshot of the Krazy Coupon Lady app.      Cork Gaines/Business Insider

Krazy Coupon Lady is a great resource for finding deals on just about anything on shopping sites and inside stores. While I am not typically shopping for grocery store-style items at Amazon, every once in a while, this app shows me a bargain that I can't resist.

For example, she recently shared a deal on Finish rinse aid for the dishwasher, seen above. It is a product we already use and typically buy at Costco. But I did the math, and this was a much better deal, so I stocked up on a few months' worth. Cha-ching.

As Mark Cuban likes to point out, that 50% return on my money is much more than I would get in a high-yield savings account.

Keepa tracks Amazon prices and sends me alerts.

Keepa tracks Amazon prices and sends me alerts.
A screenshot of the Keepa plugin.      Cork Gaines/Busniness Insider

This one is not an app but rather a plugin for Amazon. As I mentioned earlier, I am not buying a lot of groceries on Amazon, but there are a few items that I will, thanks to Keepa.

This plugin adds a price tracker to any item on the Amazon website. Looking at the chart for Celsius energy drinks above, there is a significant price drop on Amazon every few months, which makes these drinks cheaper than Costco or at the grocery store.

So I have Keepa notify me when the price goes below a certain threshold, and then I stock up on that yummy super-buzz.

A dedicated Amazon list limits our impulse purchases.

A dedicated Amazon list limits our impulse purchases.
A screenshot of the Amazon website.      Cork Gaines/Business Insider

This one is more of an Amazon hack for all items but can be helpful even for groceries or household items.

In addition to our inherent laziness, Amazon likes to take advantage of our impulsiveness.

To combat this, our family has set up a list called, "Do we really want this?" If we find something we want but don't need immediately, we add it to the list. Then, as a family, we go over the list once a week.

Not only will the previous impulse often be gone in a few days, but when you see all the items you might order at once and the total price, you start to second guess if it is essential. About 80% of the items added to this list never get ordered.

Besides, maybe my feet won't be as sore from running in a few days and I won't feel as compelled to splurge on that foot massager.

Savings can be found, but it takes some work

Savings can be found, but it takes some work
Glassdoor

Before the pandemic, our family was spending roughly $800 per month on groceries. Now, we are spending closer to $650.

A lot of that savings is just being more price-conscious, but these apps also help. For example, the Ibotta app is giving us about $25 every month in rebates for doing little more than uploading photos of our receipts.

It takes a little bit of work, but every little bit helps.


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