Bad shopping habits can be tough to break – just ask the 63 percent of Americans in ShopSmart’s new national grocery shopping survey who admitted to buying things they don’t need because of a coupon or a sale.
“A trip to the grocery store can be overwhelming if you go in unprepared,” said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart magazine from Consumer Reports. “Make the most out of your supermarket’s website for coupons and download a few convenient apps that can help you save big on the things you need the most.”
More than one in 10 respondents said they either never make a list or they make one but never stick to it. However, many are sticking to their lists more often than they did a couple of years ago. ShopSmart recommends the following free apps to help shoppers prepare for their next trip to the supermarket:
• ZipList allows users to create a master checklist for things they buy frequently; the app also finds coupons and sorts participating stores by aisle. Works on: Android, Apple.
• Weekly Ads & Sales gives users access to weekly circulars without having to deal with the paper clutter. An added feature is its ability to track sales for the largest grocers, such as Kroger and Safeway, plus specialty retailers including Best Buy and Old Navy. Works on: Apple.
• Grocery iQ matches items on users’ grocery lists with applicable coupons and works best for people who tend to stick to the same list week after week. Works on: Android, Apple.
Coupon apps with extra features such as automated deals, rewards for frequent use, and instant savings can be a great way to score extra savings at the grocery store. ShopSmart found some standout apps that can help users save big:
• SavingStar registers users’ loyalty cards and allows them to browse a list of exclusive offers. The “One or Many” deals feature lets users buy items over multiple trips to hit the required quantities. The deals usually have a big payout, such as $5 off $30 spent on Charmin, Gillette, and Ivory products. Works on: Android, Apple.
• Cellfire sends coupons directly to users’ loyalty cards and features an optional store alert, reminding them about coupons when they walk into a store. Works on: Android, Apple, BlackBerry.
• Ibotta pays users back, usually 25 to 50 cents, when they take a poll or watch a short video, then buy the item, take a picture of the receipt, scan the bar code and submit it. It might not seem worth the effort at first, but those quarters can add up – especially when bonuses start to kick in after frequent use. Works on: Android, Apple.
For the full list of top supermarket shopping and coupon apps, check out the September 2013 issue of ShopSmart, on newsstands now. The report also features six money-saving strategies shoppers are using more often now than in previous years and looks at some recent innovations that are likely to change the way people buy groceries in the future.