As I mentioned before, grocery shopping isn’t exactly my hobby. It’s not so much the shopping that bothers me, but rather that the whole process seems overwhelming sometimes. It sure doesn’t work for me to ‘just go’ without any preparation – I’ll end up going back to the store for several items I forget.
Which – truth to be told – actually isn’t such a major problem, since we have the supermarket practically around the corner. It’s just that I like to spend my time otherwise than to bicycle back and forth to the shopping mall for a tube of toothpaste or a box of eggs.
So, to avoid unnecessary trips to the stores, I at some point came to the conclusion that it might be smarter to plan ahead. And it finally became a habit. Twice a week I check what is left in the fridge, freezer and pantry, and then I sit down to check the weekly ads from my favorite supermarket – I do that mostly online. Based on the sales I write down a dinner menu for the next three to four days. And then I make my list.
Grocery shopping list app for iPhone
A few years ago I used to write my list down on paper, but then I discovered the Reminders app which is a standard app on the iPhone. I started to use this to create a grocery shopping list. I loved the feature to check off the items I after I had placed them in my shopping cart, it helped me remember that little jar of dried coriander or the sachets of baking powder I otherwise might have overlooked on my paper list.
It worked great for years, the only complaint I had was that there was no logical order in my list. The items were just randomly added to the list, and sometimes I had to go back to the beginning of the store for the spring onions I needed for my Tuesday dinner, because the produce items weren’t clustered together.
Milk for Us
Recently another app caught my attention: the grocery list app Milk for Us – Grocery Shopping List with Sharing – Daniel Rinser. It’s free and downloadable through ITunes. I decided to give it try, and I was pleasantly surprised!
In the above image you see three screenshots I made. In the left one you see Shopping Lists. You can create a shopping list for each store, or for each type of products. A week ago I had to buy some gifts and needed to go to another store for that, so I made a list ‘gifts’ besides ‘groceries’.
In the middle screenshot you see my grocery list that I use for the supermarket I usually visit. The developers have prepared an extended list of regular products, but you can always add your own items to it, and select and aisle for each one.
This is the feature that really added value for me: the grocery list is sorted by aisles and you can easily add and rearrange aisles so that it matches the store you visit (see the screenshot on the right). My store starts with produce (fresh and refrigerated), and then I usually walk by the spices, the canned foods and the meat section, etc.
Sharing with family members
The app has an option for a syncing feature which allows you to share the list with other family members. In that way I could make a list, and my husband could fetch the groceries on his way home from work. However, since I am the only one in this household doing the regular groceries, I haven’t used it yet. This feature is only $2,99 per 12 months though, so I might give it a try in the future.
Good preparation is half the work
I really like ‘Milk for Us’. The app helps me to thoroughly prepare my grocery shopping trip, and it saves time while I’m in the supermarket, since all items are logically ordered and I can simply check them off. And it always helps me to put things down on a list, so that it clears up space in my head. It gives me some peace of mind knowing that I can rely on that list and not have to remember it all. Because my mind is full enough already!
What are your tips to make grocery shopping easier?
Do you use shopping lists?