"Adventures in Grocery Shopping" could be another name for this blog. It's always an experience but I think I've finally mastered the international differences and have come to enjoy it again. One thing that beautifully combines our budget, meal planning and grocery shopping is a little app called Grocery iQ. I've been an avid user for over a year now and recommend it to any fellow smartphone users, and grocery shoppers.
Why I love it:
- It's 100% free.
- You can customize lists and easily add or delete them. This is helpful because I budget different categories such as food, cosmetics, home products, etc. It keeps them separate but allows you to view them all in the same list so you don't have to switch back and forth while at the store.
- By changing a setting, you can prompt Grocery iQ to ask you for the price of an item once you check the box. This tells me how much I've spent in each category and I can quickly input it without any hassle.
- It has a great memory. When you go to type in an item, it auto-suggests different products, recalls what you've done in the past and moves that to the top of the list. If you've added a note or description (for example, I add in the Slovene word if I don't know it) it connects it for the future.
- The "favorites" option speeds up making the list by allowing you to check a box and add things that you frequently buy to your current shopping list.
- Add the quantity you need and it automatically multiplies the price per item.
- It arranges your list into general aisles within the store, which keeps you from doing laps, unless that's your thing.
- It totals your cart as you're adding to it. Keeps you from going over budget.
How to use it:
- After making your thorough meal plan, walk through each recipe and determine which ingredients you need. Open your "groceries" category list and begin entering.
- Add other necessities such as laundry detergent, paper towels, dish soap, etc. to their respective groups.
- While at the store, I lay my coat in the seat part of the cart and set my phone on top. There's a sleep delay that won't shut your phone off until 10 minutes of being inactive. This is a great feature so you're not constantly unlocking your phone.
- I have it on "All List Items" to easily see the sections of the store I need to go to.
- As you add to your physical cart, check the digital box next to the item and enter the price when prompted.
Things I can't make use of abroad worth mentioning:
- The barcode scanning feature is clutch. While in the store if you find something not already on your list, you can simply scan the barcode and it will add it. Magical.
- Coupons. It has pre-loaded digital coupons that show up when various products or aisles are mentioned on your list. You can email and print them, or add them to your store savings card, if they have that feature available.
Once you hit the "Checkout" button, it clears your current cart and is ready for your next round at the store. It may take some pre-work before heading to the store, but it will keep you from buying unnecessary items, ensure that you buy the essentials and keep you on budget.