Thanks to emerging technology, grocery shopping is evolving. You can now order groceries from the comfort of your own home, and use apps for planning meals, making shopping lists, and snagging coupons.
Read on to learn about all the ways technology is changing the way we shop for household essentials.
Meal Planning Apps
Meal planning apps take the guesswork out of deciding what dishes to prepare, helping you meet your nutrition goals. They're also a godsend for those who are pressed for time, and want delicious meals without doing too much legwork. Below are a few meal planning apps to get you started.
For $3.99, this app makes it easy to schedule out your meals for the entire week. It also creates grocery lists, so you'll know exactly what you need when you go to the store. MealPlan+ is available on iOS devices.
Yummly makes it easy to find, save, and share your favorite recipes based on your taste preferences. When you select recipes, grocery lists are prepopulated to save you time at the grocery store. Best of all, Yummly is free to use. The app is available on iOS and Android devices.
Shopping List Apps
If you prefer not to use a meal planning app, but are trying to pare down the time spent making your list each week, a shopping list app may just be what you need. Reputable options include the following.
Shopping List Ease
List Ease is a free mobile checklist app for iOS and Android that can take the grunt work out of shopping for groceries. It includes a barcode scanner, and you can easily add items, browse for coupons, and upload past grocery lists. You can also track items in the pantry and share your lists with others.
Out of Milk
This free mobile app helps you create grocery lists and share them with friends and family. It also tracks what's in your pantry to prevent you from buying duplicates at the grocery store. Out of Milk is available on iOS and Android.
Couponing has become such a big deal that there are blogs and shows devoted to it. In fact, you may be able to stack store and manufacturer coupons and land an item for free — or even get cash back, if you're lucky.
But the idea is to be smart with how you use coupons. In other words, don't buy a product simply because there's a coupon that'll make it cheaper. Make sure you're actually going to use (or donate) the item.
Some places to find free, printable grocery coupons include Coupons.com, Valpak, and SmartSource. (These resources offer iOS and/or Android apps, as well.) You can also try out SnipSnap. This free iOS and Android app lets you take pictures of printed coupons, then convert them to mobile-optimized coupons you can use in-store.
Store Rewards Programs
Also known as customer loyalty programs, store rewards programs offer a myriad of ways for you to save on everyday items. If you haven't done so yet, consider joining the loyalty programs of the grocers you shop at. In turn, you could receive digital and print coupons, or points that can be redeemed for items or discounts.
SEE ALSO: The 30 Best Customer Rewards Programs
This service is perfect for those days when you're crunched for time or just don't feel like walking around the grocery store. All you have to do is place your order online, select a pickup time, and you're all set.
If you'd prefer to have your groceries delivered to your doorstep, several services can make this happen. Here are just a few.
Amazon Prime members in select markets can have groceries delivered to their home through this service. AmazonFresh is available for $14.99 per month, and a free 30-day trial is available.
This service will deliver groceries from your favorite stores the same day. Depending on your location, your items may be available as soon as an hour after you place the order. Delivery fees vary by order size and delivery time. However, you can get free delivery on orders over $35 if you sign up for Instacart Express, which costs $14.99 a month or $149 a year.
Shop directly through the Shipt app and have your groceries delivered in as little as one hour with this service. Even better, the delivery person will unpack your groceries and store them where they belong. Memberships cost $14 per month or $99 per year, and a 2-week trial is available.
Readers, have you tried any of these apps or services? What are your favorite modern ways to make grocery shopping easier or more convenient? Let us know in the comments below!