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KitchMe

You can use coupons, buy things when they’re on sale, but the key to regularly saving money at the grocery store is meal planning. By setting a menu for the week based on what’s on sale, you can avoid busting your budget just because you have a hankering for a particular recipe. Now, Coupons.com wants to help.

The printable coupon site is branching out into meal planning, by acquiring and officially launching a new site called KitchMe. The site aggregates thousands of recipes from online sources like All Recipes, Food.com and Food Network, and cross-references them with local sales circulars from more than 200 grocery stores. The idea is, you pick a recipe you like, and the site will tell you what ingredients for that recipe are on sale in your area, once you sign in and tell it your preferred stores. Or, you can make your choice based on how many ingredients for a particular recipe are on sale that week. And, since it’s Coupons.com that’s running the whole operation after all, you can print coupons from the site as well.

KitchMe was actually founded two years ago, and acquired by Coupons.com last year, but it’s only now emerging from a closed testing phase. While it’s now officially open for business, the site is still labeled as a beta version, and it invites users to share their feedback and ideas.

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And it appears there are still some kinks to work out. Some recipes list sale items that are only sort of, but not quite, the same as the ingredients called for in the recipe. One recipe, for example, calls for a can of corn. Under “deals for this recipe”, it notes a local store’s sale on bags of frozen mixed vegetables (which includes corn), along with corn on the cob – just about anything, apparently, that includes the word “corn”. Another recipe that calls for a raw onion, features sale items that include a can of french fried onions, and even a refrigerated bag of diced potatoes and onions. Not particularly helpful, unless you plan on picking little bits of onion out of a bag of potatoes.

The couponing aspect also doesn’t appear to be fully integrated. In order to print coupons, you have to navigate to a separate section of the site, away from the recipes. The “Deals” section will tell you what items are on sale at your local stores, and what coupons are available to print from Coupons.com. But it’s either/or, not both. The site doesn’t do matchups – it will only show you what’s on sale, or what coupons are available, but it won’t tell you if there’s a coupon available for something that’s on sale.

Those could be examples of why it’s still a beta site, after all, and why they’re seeking feedback. In theory, it’s a great idea. In practice, many users have found other sites lacking, that have tried to automate the process of offering grocery store matchups. A coupon blogger who knows your preferred store, will invariably offer more accurate deals than an automated database of hundreds of store circulars – never mind one that offers coupons from only one source (the site’s owner).

But if it encourages the uninitiated to clip some coupons, do some menu planning, cook actual meals and save some money in the process – it’s a start.

One Comment

  1. I tried to look @ this to see if I wanted it.
    But I was required to register before I could look. So I did not see if it was any good.
    I think I’ll be able to live without it. (yawn)

    Don’t you just hate it when you have to buy the car before you get a chance to see what it looks like?

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