If you’re like me, a big chunk of your monthly budget goes towards food. Whether it’s on groceries to cook, dining out with friends, or a quick bite at lunch, money spent on food can quickly add up. Luckily, I discovered several free apps for my phone that help me save on food while shopping for food or trying different restaurants. Here are eight of my favorite money-saving food focused applications, and they’re totally free.
Whether if it’s on vacation or at home, Groupon is a great way to check out new restaurants in your area for a fantastic deal. Many times you can score more than 50% off at bars, restaurants, or specialty grocery stores. Running out for lunch? Check the Groupon Now (Groupon Now Mobile) deals which are deals that are happening for a limited time right now. Type in your specific zip code for a selections even closer. [Download in iTunes]
One of my personal favorite apps, Urbanspoon allows you to pick whatever type of cuisine you’re in the mood for, the neighborhood you’re in, and most importantly the price point that you’re looking for. You can lock in one, two, or three of these options to generate a list of suggestions to fit your needs. To keep your cost low, keep the one dollar sign option locked for the cheapest places. [Download in iTunes]
3. Happy Hour
This fun app finds your location and tells you where the nearest happy hour deals are happening right now. You can score half price appetizers, drink specials, and other great deals. You’ll also see the menu and what time the deal is ending. [Download in iTunes]
Before I walk through the door at any restaurant, I check the reviews on Yelp. First, I get an idea if the restaurant is worth the money by the positive or negative reviews. Writers often comment on portion size, if it’s worth it, and their suggestions. Besides the review, there are also deals offered like a free appetizer if you mention the ad or check-in. [Download in iTunes]
5. Your favorite grocery store’s app
Many of my local chain grocery stores have their own app. In my case, these apps allow you to check out what’s on sale, clips coupons, and even keep a grocery list so you stay organized and avoid impulse purchases.
6. Living Social
Similar to the Groupon app, Living Social offers deals nearby. Besides restaurants and bars, I’ve also seen deals on cooking classes, wine tastings, and even buffets at sporting events. [Download in iTunes]
7. All Recipes
Instead of running out to the grocery store and spending more money, try using what you already have. The All Recipes app lets you type in ingredients you already have at your house and gives great suggestions for a recipe. You can even choose if you’d like a meal, appetizer, soup, dessert, and more. [Download in iTunes]
The Valpak app finds your location and offers dining coupons nearby. You can score deals on everything from sit down restaurants to take-out pizza chains. [Download in iTunes]
With any coupon or deal from an App, be sure to read the fine print. What apps do you find useful?
Kristen Kuchar is a freelance writer and editor who has learned how to save money without giving up a passion for travel, food, and living a fun life. She has written about personal finance for several years and graduated with a degree in Journalism. Follow her on Twitter @KristenKuchar.