I was raised in a household of savers. When I was little my collections included old keys, polished rocks and bits of broken glass. Now that I'm older, my collecting and savings habits have changed (thank goodness)—and I strive to ensure it never includes spoiled or expired food. So when I recently learned there are now apps to help people cut down on food waste and save on grocery bills, I didn't waste any time investigating!

Each of these apps takes an approach to cutting out food waste and trimming your grocery bill. As well, some are free and some are paid, so you can take your pick. Whether you select just one or use one or more together, you will begin to see the difference right away!

1. My Pantry / My Pantry 2

My Pantry comes in two versions: free and paid. They are not very different—the paid version is slightly newer. You can choose which you like better.

Here are the highlights:

  • The in-app barcode scanner helps you quickly add items from your pantry to the app.
  • Syncs with the Budget Buddy free Android app to help you manage your grocery budget.
  • You can view local store ads and coupons inside the app.
  • You can set expiration date alerts.
  • You can preview shopping list price totals and item-by-item price history.

2. Pantry Manager

This highly specialized app is specifically designed to help you manage your in-house inventory of fresh and pantry food items to avoid food waste and overspending.

Here are the highlights:

  • Use the in-app barcode scanner to add your items (or manually input items without barcodes).
  • Set alerts for expiration dates.
  • Use your pantry list to build your weekly shopping lists.
  • Instantly view your in-house inventory to make menu planning a snap.

3. Eat This Much

This app is quite unique in the greater sea of food management apps. Not only can you set and stick to a weekly shopping budget with Eat This Much, but the app will also help you meet your nutrition and weight management goals at the same time!

Here are the highlights:

  • Input basic information like your daily food budget, what you prefer to eat, your nutrition and weight goals, and the site delivers back a weekly shopping list, complete with grocery items, recipes, and complete nutritional information. View a sample email.
  • There are two plans—"Lite" is free and "Serious" is $7/month. The serious (pro) plan includes family meal planning.
  • You will be prompted when to save part of a recipe for leftovers—this helps cut down on food waste and helps you manage your calories.
  • The app can factor in any special dietary needs (from plan type to specific no-no foods).

4. ZipList

ZipList helps you synchronize your grocery list with your weekly menu planning.

Here are the highlights:

  • Use the barcode scanner to build an in-app inventory of what you already have on hand.
  • Add necessary ingredients to your ZipList grocery list with a single click.
  • Sync your list with other shoppers in your family.
  • Pull up favorite saved recipes to check ingredients against inventory if you need to make a last minute grocery store trip on your way home.
Cut Food Waste and Save on Grocery Bills with These 4 Apps