Over the years, I’ve tested out various free grocery apps. I use the ones that have stayed on my phone every time I shop. I noticed last night that my money-saving grocery apps are offering great savings on many of the foods traditionally bought for holidays. Even though I've written about several of these apps individually before, I thought I'd round them all up and explain how they can save, or earn, you cash during the holidays.

These are the five that I have on my phone that I use in conjunction with store sales and printed coupons to help keep my grocery bill manageable.

  1. Cartwheel by Target. Cartwheel allows you to choose your savings by picking the offers you want from the app. There are many offers, so if you don’t want to weed through them all, you can also scan a product with your phone or tablet in the store and find out if there’s a Cartwheel discount on it. You can use the app in conjunction with the Target debit card that gives you 5 percent off your entire shopping order, the Target mobile coupons you receive through a text, and printable coupons.

    Of the many food savings being offered on Cartwheel right now, there are ones on baking items including spices, vanilla and canned pumpkin; fresh produce like potatoes and apples; and even turkey. The discounts are taken when the cashier rings up your order and then scans your Cartwheel app.
  2. Saving Star. I decided the Saving Star app was a keeper after I redeemed my first reward — a $7 Amazon gift certificate — on toilet paper. The app puts money into your account when you purchase the products currently offered. When your account reaches $5, you can request a payout to your bank account, Paypal account or to a specific charity. (Saving Star recently discontinued offering Amazon certificates as payouts.)

    With the Saving Star app you can either register your grocery store rewards card number on the app or scan in a receipt after you’ve shopped to claim your rewards. You can use the app in conjunction with store sales and printed coupons. Currently, Saving Star has offers on Immaculate Baking items, frozen vegetables, turkey and more.
  3. Checkout 51. Checkout 51 is always good to earn cash back on a few healthy items each week. This app allows you to scan your receipt and check off the items on the app that you bought. When you’ve accumulated $20 in savings, you can request a check. It takes a while to accumulate $20 if you mostly buy real, whole foods, but it’s so easy to use and if you use it weekly, it will add up.

    Right now, there are offers for eggs, green beans, fresh cranberries and more. You can use Checkout 51 in conjunction with store sales and printed coupons.
  4. Snap. The most recent app I’ve put on my phone, Snap, is powered by Groupon. It works almost identically to Checkout 51, but has different offers. Any turkey, fresh cranberries, onions, potatoes, fresh corn and fresh green beans all have cash back offers right now. And like the other apps, you can use it with stores sales and printed coupons.
  5. ShopRite. Maybe you don’t shop at ShopRite or have one near you, but chances are if you shop at a major grocery retailer, it offers an app. My ShopRite app has offers that I can choose, and when I check out, the discounts are automatically applied to my order as long as I’ve provided my ShopRite rewards number.

    The offers can be used with store sales (in fact, I find there are usually offers on things that are already on sale) and printed coupons. Right now there are many offers for baking items.
One of the great things about these apps is that you can double and triple dip. For instance, if I bought fresh cranberries, I could scan my grocery receipt into both the Checkout 51 app and the Snap app and get the cash back from both sources.

There’s a lot to keep up with during this busy time of the year, but I think it’s worth it to spend 10-15 minutes taking advantage of what these apps have to offer, especially since there are so many offers on the foods you’ll probably be buying for the holidays.

Related on MNN:

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Five apps for grocery savings during the holidays
These apps work in conjunction with store sales and printed coupons to help you make the most out of your holiday grocery budget.