Running errands has gotten a little easier in recent years due to the advent of shopping list apps. These apps help you save time at the grocery store, and also may keep you from forgetting anything on your list so you don’t have to make the dreaded second trip back to the grocery store.
With grocery shopping list apps, you can choose from countless items from hundreds of retailers, in order to assemble lists that you can share with other users. The apps have built in databases that help you compare prices and nutritional information, and can also keep track of discounted items and sales that you could take advantage of . With most of these apps, assembling a list is as easy as searching products on the app, or simply scanning the barcodes on products that are running low at home.
Simply put, a scribbled-on, wrinkled piece of paper just isn’t gonna cut it as a shopping list in 2017.
What to Look For?
When looking for a grocery list app, an easy-to-use interface is key. The app is meant to simplify errands, so needing any sort of tech skills would somewhat defeat the purpose.
Look for apps with a large user base, which would tend to have more items in their searchable database and a greater likelihood of finding stores with sales. You’re also going to want an app that can be easily accessed from multiple devices from different users, so that an entire household can have first-hand input on the shopping list.
How Does It Work?
With grocery list apps, the user creates a new list and then gets to work. With most you can use a barcode scanner to scan items at home, which are instantly added to your list. As you shop, you can the items and they’re automatically removed from the list. With these apps, you can also enable sharing with multiple people, who can update the list in real time. In addition, apps allow you to search for items through the app’s database, and many allow you to then drag and drop the items to your list.
What are These Features?
Every grocery list app that we reviewed includes a barcode scanner, which helps a great deal with list-making and should be considered a standard feature. Before you had out to the grocery store, you decide to make a list and then take a spin through the kitchen to see what’s running low. Simply scan that box of rice or carton of milk and the items will instantly be added to your grocery list, saving you the trouble of punching in any items manually.
Some apps take it a bit further, with Out of Milk allowing you to add items with its voice recognition software, while on AnyList, you can sync it with Siri and dictate your list directly to your iOS device, perhaps on the way to the grocery store.
The next question to ask is what can be done with the list once it’s online? With most apps the lists can be continuously updated, long after you leave the house. Perhaps most importantly, the lists are shareable and can be updated by other users at the same time. In other words, say you already left for the store and you’re strolling the frozen food section when your roommate realizes you’re out of cereal. With apps like Grocery iQ, you can edit the list at any time through the company’s website and on Wunderlist, you can change the list at any time from a computer, kindle, iPad, and other devices.
With different household members allowed access to the grocery list, you’re going to want a watchful eye keeping tabs on things. OurGroceries for instance, automatically weeds out duplicate items so you don’t end up doubling up on certain items on your list.
And what if someone with access to the list makes changes but you’ve already left for the store? With Shopping List Ease you’ll get a notification in real time if someone removes or adds an item.
With any shopping list app, you’re probably going to want to find a way to save money as well. Not only can you do price comparisons with many grocery list apps, you can also set up your account to send you updates on sales and special discounted items at stores in your area. With Grocery Pal you can get information about sales in your area, as well as price comparisons for items on your list. You can easily find deals at more than 800 retailers with Flipp, and the app also allows you to sign up for loyalty cards with specific retailers.
Many users want their experience to go beyond just finding items and comparing prices - they also want to keep track of their health and want an app that can give them some guidance.
On Fooducate, you can access a healthy diet planner and scan barcodes to receive the nutritional information on items. The app will also suggest healthy alternatives to items on your list. With the app Buy Me a Pie!, you can also receive recipes through your Facebook messenger, which are itemized to show you exactly what you need to make the meals.
So, Which One Should I Use?
Just as smartphones have changed nearly everything else in our modern lives, the simple grocery store list of the past has also gone through a serious digital renovation. The grocery list apps that have debuted in recent years give you the means to simplify grocery shopping while also improving your ability to track store discounts and nutritional info about what you eat. It’s yet another way that technology has made our daily errands simply and smarter, and it's worth seeing if it can work for you.