5 Free grocery apps that save you time and money


I’m having an app attack, and both my iPhone and Nexus 7 may need a break. Over the last while I’ve been iTuning and Google Playing with a series of flyer apps, shopping lists, recipe sites, and virtual coupon apps to bring you a list of my favorite favs.

Because grocery shopping and food preparation take a huge bite out of our household budgets, trying out a few free apps with an aim to lessen cooking costs is a delicious idea. Spending less time shopping works for me too.

Free Grocery Apps

Since we rarely go anywhere without our phones, grocery apps are also an awesome way to never forget shopping lists or leave coupons at home. Unless, of course, you forget your phone.

My list of free grocery apps is humble, so be sure to leave a comment and share the apps you love too. OK? OK! Now, let’s get dinner done!

1. Flipp — Flyers (iOS, Android)

I’m flipping over Flipp, which says a lot since I tend to not flip over anything. Gymnastics was never my thing. Anyways, Flipp is worth a weekly cartwheel if you sleuth for sales in piles of grocery flyers and you’re tired of recycling and bandaging paper cuts.


By entering a postal code (Canada) or zip code (US of A), shoppers can aggregate every darn possible flyer in their vicinity. Narrowing down the stack is simple — just favorite your top shops and click the heart button to see your preferred flyer sales. Whenever a new faved flyer is available, Flipp automatically sends the sales to your Favorites heart tab. No more hunting for the flyers you use. I’m in love.

Need to find a specific item on sale? Flipp’s Search feature is a thing of beauty. Search for chicken, soup, chicken soup, and even chicken nuggets — Flipp finds the deals and organizes them for you. This makes stocking up on the stuff you need simple since Flipp searches mountains of flyers and finds you the good stuff.

When you find a sale you wish to shop, just tap the flyer — Flipp circles and saves the deal to the Clippings tab. Congratulations, you’ve just compiled your shopping list from dozens of flyers, searched the needed sales, and clipped the deals worth your time. Now use this information to ‘Price Match’ at another store to nab the same deal with fewer trips. You’re welcome.

2. Reebee — Flyers (iOS, Android, Blackberry)

I have a few Android devices in my house so I feel the need to share a flyer aggregation app that supports those not buying into the Apple ecosystem. So there’s Reebee, a distant second player to Flipp’s winner of a flyer game. Like Flipp you access local flyers and aggregate the lot in one handy place. But Reebee lacks Flipp’s search capability and forces you to read every page in your chosen flyers to find the needed deal.


Reebee is an attractive app, but being able to search through dozens of flyers, ads, and circulars is just too good a feature to not offer users. So Reebee, go build us a search.

3. Checkout 51 — Coupons (iOS, Android)

I surveyed Squawkfox readers on Facebook and Twitter and so many people said they love saving money on groceries by not clipping coupons with Checkout 51.

Created for Americans and Canadians who hate perforated paper, the Checkout 51 app highlights weekly deals and lets you redeem virtual coupon savings by snapping a photo of your receipt.

Grocery 51

Here’s how Checkout 51 works:

1. Browse the offers that are updated every Thursday.
2. Buy the products from any store.
3. Take a photo of your receipt to redeem your deal.
4. Get cash back!
Note: Cheques are mailed when you hit $20 in savings.

I was skeptical at first, mostly because I’m always skeptical, but Cassie Howard over at Mrs. January wrote The Ultimate Guide to Checkout 51 so now I have to be less skeptical.


Cassie also uses Checkout 51’s biggest virtual coupon competitor, SnapSaves. Here’s Cassie’s SnapSaves Tutorial.

4. Grocery iQ — Grocery Lists (iOS, Android)

Grocery iQ wants to be and do everything for you. Make and share shopping lists, find local coupons, match coupons to listed items, identify local stores, sort listed items by your grocer’s aisle, barcode scanning for list building, more list sharing, lists lists and more lists. Also, more coupons, more stores, more aisles, more more more.

Grocery iQ

Touted on their Facebook page as the “#1 Mobile grocery list application of all time,” I think Grocery iQ is worth your brain matter. My problem is it does a lot, but not anything well enough to take my intelligence higher. Maybe I’m just not that smart.

Another grocery listing app I like is Out of Milk — the user interface is attractive and it’s a lot simpler for people who just want to make a dang grocery list. What sets this app apart from the other grocery list apps is the ability to list everything stocked in your pantry, so you’re unlikely to duplicate purchases when you can’t remember what to buy.

Out of Milk

Technology aside, my Printable Grocery Shopping List gets the grocery list done without having to recharge a single battery. Maybe the simplest solution is still best.

5. Allthecooks Recipes (iOS, Android)

Beautiful photographs, real recipes submitted through social sharing, and a variety of foods for picky palates makes Allthecooks Recipes a spectacular free app to try.


The gorgeousness of the user interface is one thing, but the ability to search by ingredient is what makes this app useful when you’re trying to make dinner with just the stuff in the fridge. You can even upload your own kitchen creations and strut your foodie stuff online.

Happy flyer hunting, virtual couponing, list building, and community cooking. Dinner’s nearly done and hopefully your meals cost a little less.

Question: What’s your top grocery or foodie app? Share away in the comments! The more foodies the tastier.



  1. Kim January 16, 2014 at 1:34 am

    The best grocery app has to be Grocery King. Check it out for Android, I think there is an iPhone version too. You’ll thank me later. I will review soon on one of my blogs ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. anexactinglife January 16, 2014 at 7:00 am

    I use Menu Planner (menu-planner.com) which costs $2.99. It is a more advanced program that takes longer to set up, but once ready, it stores your menu plans and recipes, and generates shopping lists for you based on your pantry inventory and what you’ve told it about your local supermarkets.

  3. gillian January 16, 2014 at 10:44 am

    I’ve been using Plan to Eat for several years now. It does not have a separate mobile app, but has a mobile site that I use when shopping. Like Menu Planner it gives you a recipe book, meal planning calendar and generates shopping lists. It keeps a pantry inventory, and you can “friend” other subscribers to share menu plans and recipes. I just recently downloaded Checkout51, have not really played with it yet. I’m going to check out Grocery IQ and see how that works for me also…

  4. Erica January 16, 2014 at 11:22 am

    Love flipp and checkout 51!

  5. Connie January 16, 2014 at 11:50 am

    I think I need a smart phone…

  6. Alicia @ Financial Diffraction January 16, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    I am all for CheckOut 51, and Snap Saves. I have it on my phone, my fiance’s and my iPad. Lets me buy multiples (on different receipts) so that we can all earn cheques.

  7. Kevin R January 16, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Thanks for the list, but I am disappointed that there are not more for the Blackberry. BB10 is an amazing, intuitive Operating System and deserves better… Thanks…

  8. Kerry January 16, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    @Kevin I looked. I’m guessing companies and programmers are not interested in building for the BB ecosystem. The consumer market for these apps is in the iOS and Android space.

  9. Kevin R January 16, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    Thanks, Kerry. I’m not blaming you. Just my frustration coming out… Thanks for your Great Site !!!

  10. Kerry January 16, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    @Kevin My pleasure. Not sure if you own an iPad or an Android tablet ’cause these apps don’t require a smartphone to function!

  11. Christina January 16, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    Ibotta is similar to Checkout 51 but with a lower payout threshold & items usually stay up longer than a week. Favado does coupon matchups and Target Cartwheel saves a little when shopping at Target.

  12. Bill January 16, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Strictly Android here. I used Out of Milk, and it is a good application, but I switched a couple of years back to Food Planner from MiniMobile. Food Planner adds meal planning to the standard grocery list/pantry list/barcode scanning mix. In addition to planning menus by day/meal, they are linked to recipes which can be imported from many popular recipe sites, or manually if needed. A nice feature is the ability to copy all planned meal ingredients to your grocery list, which is a big time saver! It also has a backend web page for when you don’t want to use the tiny screen! Also, my wife and I use the same shared account to sync data across multiple devices (she adds it to the grocery list, and I pick it up…). The interface is not the nicest, but it works very well, and continues to be improved and add new features.

    A recent app, very similar to Food Planner is Zip List. Zip List has a much nicer interface, but the recipe database is only linked to external sites, so if those sites change, you may lose access to your recipe. Recipe of the day is nice.

    I recommend both of these apps on Android. Great site, keep it up!

  13. Randi January 16, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    I’ve read a lot of buzz on the Washington State coupon blogs about Favado. I’ve downloaded it but have yet to spend the time figuring it out.
    As Christina mentioned, I too have used Ibotta which is pretty easy to use.

  14. Christine Weadick January 16, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    I have Check out 5, Flipp and Snap saves on my iPad. I use these at home as we don’t have any smart phones in the house. Another one I have that just came out a little before Christmas, I believe, is one I do like, Flyerify. It has a butt load of Canadian flyers listed, you just scroll down the alphabetical list and tap on the store you want to look at and then the flyer you want. Those stores that have separate flyers for different parts of the country have all the flyers listed. We don’t rate the flyers for No Frills, Target, Shoppers Drug Mart or Walmart in the small town I live in but there are stores within a 15-20 minute drive if I choose to go there. So I use Flyerify and look over the flyers at home and make my lists. I use what I have and make do that way. It works for me and that is what counts.

  15. Jeanne January 16, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    I use Pepperplates for recipes and menues, but got frustrated with its shopping list. Currently I am using Errands for miscellaneous shopping and the free version of Shopping List for groceries, both on my iPhone. In Shopping List, you build your own list to pick from and can organize it according to the arrangement of your usual store. Downsides include its sensitivity to the touch — i have marked things purchased by accident and once cleared the whole list in error and had to do the rest of my shopping from memory. It could also really use a search function. I will definitely check out the ones you recommend!

  16. Denise January 16, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    I have 1 question.
    In my area, the store flyer varies from 1 store location to another within the chain. The sales in the flyers for various stores in the chain can have different sale items. Can these apps work with your specific favorite store location, or do they just follow the chain-wide flyer? If not, it won’t financially be worth moving up to a smart phone from my ancient cell.

  17. Kerry January 16, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    @Denise You enter your postal code or zip code and the app locates the flyers in your area. If you prefer another location than use that postal/zip code to match that store. A smartphone is a big upgrade. Do you have other uses for it beyond grocery apps? ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. RonNasty64 January 16, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    Sadly, none of the iOS apps can be installed on my antique iPad.

  19. Denise January 16, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    Thank you, Kerry.
    I am still searching for more reasons to justify the extra expense.
    My current cell is almost 10 years old. It costs me just $100 a year, is only for emergencies and toll calls, it only does calls and text. I have had to re-insert the battery and re-assemble it’s face a few times after dropping it, and I’ve even created a fake number at the top of my contact list to keep it from purse dialing emergency road service. Even a hard case did not stop that.

    Yes, I could replace it with another similar cell and spend about the same as now.

    A smart phone would have GPS which would help in an emergency.
    I would love to be able to take pictures and I don’t own a camera. The only connected device I currently have is the 4 year old desktop I’m using.
    I find it’s getting harder to organize my shopping lists to optimize savings. I’m still very frugal and I would only purchase the least expensive smart phone and service I could find.
    I won’t be making the decision until October when service runs out on my ancient cell. Lots of time to talk myself in or out of it.

  20. Kerry January 16, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    @Denise I use my smartphone GPS all the time. I’m notorious for getting lost and I could not imagine life without it. I also rely on my smartphone camera daily. Email and texting are a huge reason I opted for a smartphone over my old cell. Technology changes, and since you’ve used an old cell for 10 years, it’s likely time to upgrade if you have the budget. An unlocked Nexus 5 might be a good phone for you since you could choose a cell plan anywhere. Good luck!

  21. christel January 17, 2014 at 9:13 am

    My all time favourite no-frills grocery app is Our Groceries. I used it on my old Blackberry and just imported to my new iphone. You can set up grocery lists- ie if I’m doing shopping at different stores, I’ll set up a quick list for each store. It has just a few foods pre-loaded, but as you add items to your own list it saves those for next time. I’ve even loaded up a ton of meal ideas, so if I’m stumped in the grocery store for what to make for dinner, I just scroll through the list of meals and pick something.
    I didn’t want an app with brand name foods, I wanted my list to be easy and customizable….and free. It’s available for BB, iOS, and android.

  22. Karen January 17, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Hey, thanks for all the tips. I live near the Canadian border and sometimes shop in the states. I will check out the flyers before I leave because I turn off the phone when crossing over to avoid roaming charges. I scored a free very large canned ham last week. It was on sale for $3.68 ( never seen one that large up here) but scanned at $8.88. I went to customer service and asked for the difference. I was told no charge and handed back the full purchase price. Yes! Does anyone know about a sight where you can type in recipe ingredients and the sight will give you a readout of carb and sodium content. Someone told me there is one but could not remember the name.

  23. Menu Plan Monday ~ Jan 20/14 January 20, 2014 at 9:00 am

    […] 5 Free Grocery Apps That Save You Time and Money ~ @ Squawk Fox […]

  24. Shannon January 21, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Another app worth checking out is Hiyu, a kind of Instagram-for-groceries app that lets you share image-based recommendations and lists. Thanks for the list!

  25. diane February 2, 2014 at 5:56 am

    Hi Kerry,

    I have an ACER tablet, new to all this..which free appication would you recommend that does have all the flyers? Thank you.

  26. Rosalie February 11, 2014 at 12:22 am

    Hi Kerry,
    as always, thanks so much for all the helpful tips!
    I just downloaded Checkout 51 right before I went shopping three hours ago an I already got my first receipt processed and 3,50$ credited into my account.
    It is so easy, I am amazed. Thanks again ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Melody February 19, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Im pretty old school to be honest. I use a pen and paper list on my fridge, although sometimes Ive often left it at home and had to remember (pretty accurately) except for one item of course lol. I will probably move onto using my memo app for that. I also use allrecipes.com pretty regularly for recipes, and I do my best to use ingredients that are in season and I freeze a lot of fruit in the summer so I don’t have to buy expensive sour berries in the winter season.
    I think I’ll give that flipp app a go though, it looks pretty interesting.

    The other thing I do, is I go through my pantry about once a month and write down an inventory, which has been hard lately since I got a ton of food for free recently when I was a away and my husband just threw it into the deep freeze and ruined my system. If Ive dated my freezer contents well I pick out all the old stuff, put it into my fridge/freezer and spend 2 weeks cooking through it all.

    I try to keep my packaged food items to a low number, so I think Id be more impressed with Walmart, TnT and Superstore coupons for fresh produce..

  28. Robert February 22, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    I am looking for an shopping app that you can put the product into then the price so when you go to the store see the product on sale you can check and see if it a good price or not . Any suggestions?

  29. Andrea March 22, 2014 at 12:03 am

    @ Denise: I have a Windows phone which does not support any of the above apps. However, I do use Checkout 51. If you have a scanner feature on your printer and can upload the receipt onto Checkout 51’s website on the computer, it works the same way. I also use SavingStar which you use via computer. Just enter your store loyalty card numbers, activate the offers you want, and when you purchase an item, it automatically credits your account within 2-22 days. When your balance reaches $5.00, you can cash out. Hope this helps. Great info, Kerry! Thanks!

  30. Diana May 12, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    I was wondering if any of those app with cash(snapsaves, checkout51) back accept online receipts?

  31. Kerry Jones May 13, 2014 at 1:07 am

    My favorite apps are Ibotta and checkout 51. Sometimes they have the same deals and I combined the two. Thanks Kerry

  32. Safi June 4, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    My favorite app is Carrot. Makes it super convenient to keep track of my shopping lists without the unnecessary bells and whistles.


  33. Lea July 28, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    Does anyone know of cashback apps for Window phones?

  34. lisa August 6, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    i am also looking for Windows based apps for cash back groceries like Checkout 51 and Snapsaves, anyone know any??!

  35. Shelley September 7, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    Just wanted to share that I found a way to avoid roaming charges when crossing the border and still keep your phone on so you can use it for other things (I live in the US now but go to Canada to visit my family). Just set it to airplane mode. You can’t send or receive texts or anything but you can use the functions like camera and some apps that don’t require data. And you can use your apps, including facebook and other apps that require internet access, wherever there is wifi. It works really well!

    I didn’t get a smartphone for a long time because of the cost…. but when my cellphone company added a small data package (300 MB) for $15 a month I jumped on it because I use wifi at home and most other places so I don’t need a lot of data. Due to the way they (US Cellular) restructured their plans, I am now paying only about $5 more a month.

  36. Raven October 3, 2014 at 1:55 am

    @Shelley. Just another option for using your phone while traveling back and forth from the USA and Canada. The best way to be able to use your phone with out worrying over those nasty global roaming data/internet charges but still be able to use your phone in a pinch for calls and text is to just turn off the cellular/mobile data on your smartphone. If you put your phone in “airplane mode” your basically turning off all services to your phone, including your ability to make a call if the need arises. If you feel the need to put your phone in airplane mode, thats a great option to avoid any charges at all. But if you want to make a call or send a text, you might want to turn off the data functions as well.In the past, I have worked for a cellphone company that has roaming option in canada as well as other locations. This is a trip that most do not want to share. This trick saves you alot of heartache and worry when you travel and takes just a few seconds and your done! No more stressing, at least about one thing anyway, LOL!

  37. Cori October 15, 2014 at 11:26 am

    Hello everyone, I have a quick question. Of any of these apps mentioned – do they show you where the lowest sale prices are for three items you need? I have an android os. Thank you

  38. Tara February 26, 2015 at 8:52 am

    A lot of people are asking for somewhere that shows the sales or lowest price, go to http://www.salewhale.com and enter your postal code, if it doesn’t direct your location. Enter any item by category or name and it’ll tell you where it’s on sale and it’s a Web page so you can use any device to access it. I love it! For cash back apps in Canada there us also Zweet and Save.ca.

  39. Theresa April 26, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    Does anyone know of cashback apps for Window phones?

  40. Robert September 4, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    I used “Out of milk” until this last update. That update effectively killed this app. I am now looking for another app that works.

  41. Rachel October 10, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    I use an app called Shopper. I tried the free version, and found the concept to be just what I needed, but with the added functionality of the pay version. It lets me keep separate lists for different stores simultaneously. For each item in the (editable) database, there is a notes field where I track what that item cost by date so that I know what a good price is. It has bar code scanning capability, but I don’t use it. You can share lists – I have an iphone, hubby and android, and we can share between us. It calculates taxes for me (I shop in two local tax zones and have the ability to choose) and keeps a running total of what is on your list AND what is in your cart. It has recipes that I never use.It has reminders that I never use. It has some kind of coupon functionality that I don’t use, but it also has a field in the item description for when you do have a coupon, so that the total is accurate. It’s a good list app, very thorough, with a bunch more features that I just have not even explored.

  42. Pegg March 7, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    A couple of months ago, Splashshopper grocery list program quit working. It was about 4 years old but easy to use, logical, and efficient. But I had to make a change. I did a lot of checking around and settled on Out of Milk. Their Tech. Support has been very prompt and very willing to pass on almost every question i had to their development team.

    There is no key or symbol you can tap to take you directly to your Needed grocery list. You need to scroll all the way to the bottom of all the categories to get to it. Ponder how that works when you are shopping and moving from department to department ;(

    I can’t search for an item and quickly mark it for purchase.

    I find the categories, which are listed above the Needed items, a nuisance. I don’t care of the needed items are grocery store categories, more or less, i.e. i don’t care if they are vegetables, pasta, cosmetics. I just want to quickly access my Needed list, and see an alphabetized list of needed items.

  43. Kerry March 7, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    Pegg: Have you tried Flipp? I think it will do what you want, and more.

  44. Sylvie Trudel April 6, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    I LOVE Grocery King!!!! As for flyers and coupons I have to use both Flipp and Reebee, neither one has all my favorite stores…the one thing that irritates me is that I can’t link GK and one of the flyers app (or both) together….I contacted Reebee about it earlier today and contacted Flipp a while ago about adding some stores but never got an answer….and why does everybody wanting to do things for iOS when Androรฏd is so much better!!!!

  45. Tamera January 7, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    I recently started using Flip for Android. I like it BUT it doesn’t seem to have a Safeway ad anywhere which I need, and when I tried to price match at Walmart, they said I needed a physical flyer not an app. I live in Fairbanks Alaska which seems to effect EVERYTHING lol

  46. Jennifer May 5, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    @Robert you asked about creating a shopping list with prices – I use
    shopping list – SoftList by Martins Software
    for this – it’s Android

  47. Zmade August 3, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    It’s hard to tell when this article was written or updated, but right now – 2017 – the app that saves me the most money for grocery shopping is Ibotta. It took me a while to get the hang of it, but when I saved $40 stocking up on booze alone (for a party) I was sold. The trick is to check in before you shop and scan your receipt directly after. I don’t have the time or memory to remember coupons, so getting refunded for purchases works better for me. Many times, the same items you get a rebate for will have coupons available at the same time, so you can stack them. They have also been adding more stores you can shop at like Krispy Kreme and JoAnn Fabrics!

    Basically, you sign up for Ibotta and then search for the store you’ll be shopping at. Then you can select the products you’ll buy that have rebates. Many times, stores will have rebates for “any item” receipts meaning you only have to buy something, not something specific from a specific brand. Plus, they have been introducing more things like produce rebates where you can get rebates for non-brand specific loose produce items. There are also bonuses if you – or your team – reaches certain rebate levels during the month. If you sign up under someone else, you become part of their team. If you use the referral code ykxrjab then you can be part of a team to get bonuses faster plus earn a referral bonus.

    Since I vary what I buy and cook almost every day, this app has saved me a lot of time without a lot of planning. I just buy the things I might normally buy, or whatever I’m craving, then get a discount on them later. Easy peasy.

  48. Angela McMahon October 21, 2017 at 4:03 am

    I love IBOTTA. It pays you to buy items that you normally buy. As well as gives you a savings incentive to purchase new items. For those that haven’t tried IBOTTA use my referral code when signing up…..VWTADHT. Once you have verified your 1st purchase it will credit you 10$ and pay me 5$ for referring you. Cashing out at 20$ directly to your paypal account or your choice of any gift card sold.

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