Money & Career

How to plan your grocery shopping and save money

© Author: Canadian Living Credits: ©

Money & Career

How to plan your grocery shopping and save money

A trip to the grocery store can be a significant drain on the budget, for both singles and large families alike; food often gets wasted when cooking for one, and the cost of grub can be overwhelming for a family with kids. With food costs on the rise, it's more important than ever for consumers to be savvy about their grocery shopping, and your laptop and mobile device are a great place to start. Check out the websites and mobile apps below that can help you organize your weekly trip to the grocery store and encourage you to stick to your budget and save money.

1. Canadian Living Meal Planner

Why we love it: Created by Canadian Living editors and experts, our meal planner is accessible to MyCL members (sign up here – it's free!) and allows users to create weekly meal plans based on Canadian Living's extensive library of recipes or by adding their own.

Why it's great for your budget: The recipes used can then be converted into printable shopping lists to help you stay on track of your spending. An easy-to-use tool, the MyCL Meal Planner is also a great way to teach your kids about budgeting and organization.

2. How Does She Do It

Why we love it: Designed with a focus on being an online community, How Does She Do It allows members to submit recipes and photos and create a meal plan for the week with its library of dishes. Members can also add ‘friends' and follow their meal plans and interact with each other on the site.

Why it's great for your budget: Upon adding a recipe to your meal plan, the site generates a grocery list based on the ingredients for your weekly meals. Knowing exactly what you need for each meal will cut down your trips to the grocery store and help you stick to buying food that you know won't go to waste.

Page 1 of 2 -- Interested in starting a healthy lifestyle? Find out which site will help you create your nutritional goals and help you stay on track on page 2.
3. Eat Right Ontario
Why we love it: This site is perfect for anyone interested in a healthy lifestyle and offers up nutritious meal plans that follow Canada's Food Guide. Users can create goals and the site provides tips and advice from nutritionists to help you work towards achieving them.

Why it's great for your budget: The site also offers downloadable information sheets that contain budget-friendly recipes and tips on how to save on your groceries.

Plus, the menu planner allows users to choose a goal of eating healthy for less, generating cost-effective grocery lists.

4. Flyerland
Why we love it: This Canadian website is the perfect go-to for all of your grocery planning needs. Compiling flyers from retailers across Canada, Flyerland requires a simple postal code entry to bring you all the weekly deals in your city.

Why it's great for your budget: An extensive search function allows shoppers to look up brands, stores and food categories. Browsing deals and printing coupons in advance will allow you to create a meal plan based on the store specials, then write up your grocery list accordingly.

5. Shopper Pro
Why we love it: One of the original grocery apps, Shopper Pro ($1) has been updated to near perfection. The app allows you to sync your lists with those of family members so you're always up-to-date on what they need, as well as organize multiple lists for multiple stores based on recipes from Shopper Pro's library or from other users.

Why it's great for your budget: After creating your lists, the app calculates the cost of your trip, including taxes. It also constantly checks for product recalls, keeping you up-to-date on items that you can return to the store for your money back.

6. Grocery iQ

Why we love it: It's a free app and is one of the most popular lifestyle apps available. Users can create lists for meals and store as an archive for later shopping trips and can also set up voice search to create a list and search for items within it. The app also has a database of millions of items, but users can add custom items to their lists as well.

Why it's great for your budget: GroceryiQ has an impressive coupon database for saving on the go, as well as the ability to customize package sizes on your list so that you can buy in bulk if necessary or purchase a smaller size so that food isn't going to waste.

7. Bread and Milk
Why we love it: With a clean interface and simple functions, this app is easy to use but has premium features as well. Every function is fully customizable and users can even create aisles based on the grocery store layout, making the shopping experience more efficient and making it less likely you'll browse the aisles, picking up products you don't really need.

Why it's great for your budget: The app has a shopping cart cost estimate based on the prices of the food on your list so that you can enter the prices as you shop, as well as enter any coupons you have for each item. 

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Money & Career

How to plan your grocery shopping and save money