Jeff Flowers on January 28, 2015 16 Comments Almost everyone is on a budget these days and saving money at the grocery store is one of the best ways to cut down on spending. With all of the time, money, and effort spent shopping for perishable food items, ensuring that they don’t go to waste is important. Chances are you don’t have a lot of time to remember when you purchased your food and how long you have until it spoils. That’s where these handy apps come in. If you have a smartphone, tablet, or computer, you can install one or more of the following apps to help you manage the rotation of food inside your fridge so that you can avoid throwing away unused food. 1. Fridge Pal Tracking the groceries in your fridge, freezer, and pantry is simple with this free app for the iPhone or iPad. Not only does it provide list-making capabilities, but it also allows you to scan the barcodes on individual products for easier entry. Plus, if you are at the grocery store and cannot remember if you need to replace a certain product, the barcode scanner allows the app to notify you if you are running low and need to purchase. Choose a specific storage area for each item and you will be able to look in each location for what is ready for use. Why you should download Fridge Pal: Create and share shopping lists. Keeps an inventory of what is you have. Provides notifications when your items expire. Sort needed items based on aisle. Search for recipes. Plan meals (and needed ingredients) for your family. Download: Free on iTunes | Not available on Google Play 2. Epicurious Using up the contents of your fridge often requires a little creativity, which is sometimes hard to come by in a busy world. The Epicurious app takes the guesswork out of planning for dinner by providing users with a search function that starts with an ingredient and builds the recipe from there. For example, if you have a package of ground beef that is close to going bad, simply punch it in to the app, and you will get a list of recipes compiled from Bon Appetit, Gourmet, and top chefs from across the globe. Epicurious’ database consists of over 30,000 recipes right at your fingertips. The Epicurious app is available for download on a variety of devices, including tablets, smartphones and even some refrigerators. Here’s three reasons why you should download this app: Access recipes based on what you have available. Create shopping lists based on recipes you want to try. Step-by-step instructions for each recipe. Download: Free on iTunes | Free on Google Play 3. Fresh Box According to the USDA, Americans waste about 40 percent of the food in the country each year. On average, a family ends up throwing away around 20 pounds of food every month. Fresh Box is one app that works to ensure that your waste is reduced. This virtual refrigerator allows users to take photos of individual items, adding the name, shelf life, and expiration date to help you know when you need to use each item. Users can set an alarm that alerts them when the food needs to be eaten. Once the photo has been created, it is added to the virtual shelf and can be seen at a glance to provide an overview of what is in the fridge. Once an item is used, the photo is grayed out rather than deleted, so that reentry of the item is easy when it is re-stocked. Here’s why you should download Fresh Box: Ability to create shopping lists based on what is currently in your fridge. Receive notifications when items in your fridge are about to expire. Know the shelf life of various foods, fruits and veggies. Know how to properly store various foods. Download: $0.99 on iTunes | Not Available on Google Play 4. Fridge Check Another fantastic app that suggests recipes and meals based on what you currently have on hand is Fridge Check. The premise is simple. Follow three steps, and you’ll be ready to cook the perfect meal for your family. First, choose the ingredients that you currently have in your home. Next, you select what type of meal you would like to make. Finally, enter how much time you have to prepare your meal. Once you have completed these three steps, Fridge Check will list all of the recipes available to you. It even allows you to enter ingredients you do not like, or maybe are allergic too. Why you should download Fridge Check: Create and share shopping lists. Offers a “Do Not Like” option for ingredients you want to avoid. Browse and save recipes directly to your profile. Download: Not Available on iTunes | Free on Google Play 5. Grocery Hero Combining the best of both worlds, this app allows users to take a full inventory of their fridge and also provides creative and unique recipes based on the ingredients on hand. Starting out, you have to enter in all of the items in your fridge and pantry, which can take some time, but the app’s barcode scanner helps to speed up the process. Luckily, the app remembers all of your items, so the time it takes to re-enter later on is significantly reduced. Complete with alarms, Grocery Hero notifies you of the expiration date before the item needs to be tossed so that you can use it up as quickly as possible. If you can’t think of anything to use the item for, the easy recipe search can pull up a list of suggestions to give you some help. Here’s why you should download Grocery Hero: Learn new recipes based on ingredients you already have. Receive notifications when items are about to expire. Categorize your food items based on its storage location (freezer, pantry, etc). Instant nutritional info right at your fingertips. Use barcode scanner to instantly create inventory. Download: Free on iTunes | Free on Google Play (Update: It appears this app is no longer available.) 6. Best Before While it may seem that some of these apps would cause you to spend more time entering in information than would be helpful, this app offers a barcode scanning feature that ensures your time is well spent. Once an item is scanned, the app finds the name and expiration date automatically. Best Before can also help with produce that cannot be scanned, providing an average life span so that you are aware of how long you have before your fruits or vegetables go bad. Thanks to this app’s color-coded and labeled notification system, staying organized is simple. Here’s why you should download Best Before: Receive notifications when items are about to expire. Option to categorize food by colors to know when how much time is left. Download: $0.99 on iTunes | Free on Google Play 7. Grocery Shopping List – Listick Claiming to “putting the super back in supermarket,” this app is designed to help you save time at the store. This mobile app will not only make your trip to the store easier and enjoyable, it may just save your a few bucks in the process. Listick has a database of pretty much everything you’ll find at the store, allowing you to plan your list in advance and cross off items on your list with a simple finger swipe. Or if your significant other is at the store doing the shopping, you can instantly share your list with them, ensuring that nothing is overlooked. Here’s why you should download Listick: Make as many lists as you want or need Sync your lists with other mobile devices. Share your lists instantly. Built-in expense tracking to help you make wiser financial decisions. Download: $2.99 on iTunes | Free on Google Play 8. Keezeen Windows Phone users should not fret that there is not an app for them. Keezeen provides all of the important features that a good fridge-tracking app should have. Its menus are easy to navigate and allow you to itemize the ingredients you have in your fridge. Breaking down the recipes by breakfast, lunch, or dinner, this app is guaranteed to help you use it before you lose it. Here’s why you should download Keezeen: Barcode scanner Shopping list Recipe suggestions based on ingredients Download: Free on Windows Phone Store 9. Whaz in the Fridge Sometimes the hardest part about remembering what you have in your refrigerator is simply remembering where you put things. Whaz in the Fridge is another Windows Phone app that gives you the option to record not only what you have in there, but which part of the fridge any particular item is kept. The notification system lets users stretch their food budget by encouraging them to get to the food before the expiration date. Download: Free on Windows Phone Store 10. My Fridge Food If you don’t have a smartphone or a tablet, My Fridge Food is a computer-based application that is a good way to keep track of the contents of your fridge. Finding the perfect recipe to use up your ingredients is easy and you can even submit recipes of your own. With frequent recipe contests, this computer-based app keeps frugal living fun for everyone. Download: Free to Use on Their Website Don’t waste your food or your money anymore. Trying out a food-tracking app is a great way to help you stay on budget and on top of the grocery shopping without much effort on your part. Get organized and enjoy getting the full use out of your food.