Planning and organization is crucial when it comes to most aspects of my life; the most important being grocery shopping. In the past I have made lists on pieces of paper at work, napkins while at lunch, a scrap of paper next to my bed, etc. The problem with this, however, is typically I don’t have all the pieces of paper with me when I find myself at the store or I don’t have anything to write with or on when I realize I’m out of something.
Technology, in all it’s wonderful glory, has helped me. I’m a list maker, as you can tell from the paragraph above. When I got my iPhone last year, one of the first apps I searched for was a list app. Once in the App Store, I realized they have list apps specialized for specific things! There’s a reminder app, that helps you remember deadlines (my favorite is Due), they have running apps that help you keep track of past runs instead of listing them on a calendar (Nike+ is great and is now installed automatically in the iPhone I believe), and they have my most favorite app of all: Grocery iQ.
When I first downloaded this app, I played with it a little, but only recently did I realize the full potential of this great product! OK…the basics:
1. Adding Items to Your Grocery List
When you first bring up the program, it takes you to “List”. This is where you can add items to your list. You can be as vague or specific as you want. Let’s walk through an example: to add something you hit the “+” button in the top right corner. Then you start typing in the product you’d like to add to the list. I typed in “creamer”.
It brings up generic products at first and then as you scroll down it gets more specific, adding brand names and other qualifiers. If you want to add the generic creamer word to your list (since you are most likely to know the kind of creamer you want to pick up), you tap on the item and it adds it to your list.
If you wanted to be specific you could type in “International Delight”, which I did next.
It brings up a bunch of different varieties of International Delight creamer. I can either pick one at random if I’m not sure which flavor I’d like to try, or I can look for one in particular like “French Vanilla”, which is one I like a lot. Then, as above, you touch on the product and it goes onto your list.
Another way to add products to your list is to use the bar code scanner. I rarely if ever use this feature as many of the products I buy are Kroger brand. If you do want to use this feature, you click on the bar code in the top left corner, align the bars around the bar code you want to scan, and it snaps a photo.
Then it searches for the product in it’s database. I had a pack of Gobstoppers sitting next to me, so I scanned that. It didn’t find it, so I would have to enter this product in manually.
This brings me to my final way to add a product to your list. Say you want to enter something incredibly specific like “skim smoked mozzarella cheese” or something like that. I don’t even know if that product exists, but say you are searching for it. If you start typing in what you want and, if the product is not found in the database, you’ll get this message:
To add this item even if it’s not found in the database, you just click “Done”. It will put the item into the category “Other”, which you can then click on and change to “Dairy” or whichever category you deem most fitting.
2. Managing Your Grocery List
Deleting An Item
If you add something to your list that you didn’t mean to, or you realized later you already had on hand and didn’t need to pick up again, you can click on the blue arrow next to the item while in your grocery list, scroll down to the bottom of the page and hit “delete item”. This will remove the item from your list.
Adding an Item to Your Favorites
Just as above where you clicked on the blue button and scrolled to the bottom of the page to delete an item, you can make an item a “favorite”. This is not a feature I use very often, but I’m sure it would be very helpful to some who tend to buy the same things over and over again. I end up just researching for products every time I make my list.
Changing the Item’s Description
If you need to change the items description, click on the blue button once again and go into the item’s information page. I need butter, so I added it to my list. Each item will have different descriptors associated to it. If you type in peppers for example, there will be a drop down menu labeled “Type”. You can then go in and change the item to say “Red Bell Peppers” instead of just “Peppers”.
For butter, the first descriptor it gave me was “Salt”. I always buy Unsalted butter, so I changed the “-” to “Unsalted”. Next was form, to which I picked “Stick”. I left the store descriptor the same, but if you have several types of stores in your program (more on that later), you could choose “grocery store” or “Kroger” or whichever store you’d like.
If you want to change which aisle the product is found, you can do that, but a lot of the time the aisle is pretty accurate. I needed two pounds of butter (I like to keep some on hand at all times), so I upped the quantity to 2. It give the option to use weight, which comes in handy when you are adding meats, but most of the time I don’t bother updating that category. I could also choose a package size which, for butter, is broken down into 8 or 16 ounces. The butter I buy comes in pounds, so I chose 16 oz. There is also a place to put in unit price and total, which is great when you are planning your list with the store flyer right next to you, but I don’t usually write the prices down.
Finally, they have description and note categories. If you add anything to the description category, it will show up under the product on the main screen. This is useful if you need a certain size that is not listed in the Item Information screen.
If you add a note, it will only show up as a small triangle next to the arrow for the product. This alerts you that you made a note and you will need to go back into the item to see what you wrote. This is helpful if you want to remember which recipes you need the item for.
3. Using the List While Shopping
OK, so you have your list and are ready to go shopping. All you have to do is scroll to the aisle you are in and start shopping for the items on your list. Once you find the items you are looking for, you click on the empty box next to the item. This puts a green √ in the box and moves it to the bottom of the list below the “Checkout” line. I like this feature a lot because it clears out all the clutter of already purchased items and just lets you focus on the items you still have left to pick up. Once you’re finished shopping and want to clear out the list, you just hit “Checkout” and it wipes the purchased items out of your list. Then you can begin creating a new list!
4. Changing/Adding Stores
Along the bottom of the program, you’ll notice an option labeled “Stores”. This is where you can add, delete, or change the stores listed in your program. Right now, I just have two stores listed: Dorothy Lane & Kroger. I typically buy my meats and produce at Dorothy Lane as the quality is better and the rest I buy at Kroger because Dorothy Lane is just too expensive for prepackaged items.
If I wanted to add another store, for example “Target”, to my list I would click on the “+” button, type in Target, and press done. It gives you some options you can change and then finish. This will put the new store in your store list. You can add as many stores as you want. The options are endless. If you want to remember to pick up a few perfect Ts from Old Navy the next time you’re there, you can add Old Navy to your store list and then add perfect Ts to the list.
Another cool feature found under “Stores” is changing and adding aisles. At Kroger, our canned vegetables, canned beans, herbs, and packaged sides are all in the same aisle. Instead of having four separate aisles listed in my app, I could add a new aisle labeled “Canned Veg, Beans, Herbs, Pkg Sides”. This would combine all the items found in the four categories into one aisle, which makes it convenient when trying to complete your shopping trip quickly and easily. I can’t tell you how many times I get to one end of the store only to have to go back to the other end. This is so frustrating! Having my own aisles listed helps decrease that frustration.
5. My Newest Discovery-List Sharing
There are so many other features of this app that I could probably go on and on and on about it, but that would result in an extremely long blog post that would get pretty boring. I do want to mention list sharing though. I found this feature about a week ago and since then I have been having all kinds of fun with it!
I have wanted to be able to make my grocery list on the computer for a while now and have it sent directly to my phone so I’d have it when I went shopping. I usually find the recipes I make online, so it just makes sense to be able to open two windows side by side on my laptop and make the list while looking at the recipe. I don’t know how long Grocery iQ has been available to update online, but for some reason I never thought to check it out. Last week, I had the idea to search for the website and, low and behold, they had the whole database available to me online! Yay!
Then I googled linking the online database I saw on my laptop with the phone app. Turns out, they can be linked! In the app on the iPhone, you click on the three circles at the bottom righthand corner, then click on “Account”. When you log in (or create an account), it sends your information to the online database. Then, when you log in online, it brings up the information you have on your phone. This also works with an iPad if you have one available to you. From then on, all your devices are linked. This means if you update one list, all your lists get updated at the same time! This is a big time saver for me, as I don’t always have my phone next to me to update with recipe ingredients I need. It’s the small things in life that make me happy.
OK, so I now I’ve written an entire blog post on one app, but it saves me a lot of time and aggravation when it comes to the grocery store. A small bonus: your significant other can update your lists too so, instead of Jeff saying “Honey, we need milk!”, he can just add it to my list.
He normally doesn’t, but the option is still there!