When I finally took my old flip phone in to the cell phone store, it caused quite a stir.
“Oh, man! People used to carry these when I was in high school!”
“I’ve worked here for six years, and I’ve never seen a phone like this before!”
“I didn’t even know they made rotary-dialed cell phones!”
You would have thought that it came with a crank and access to a party line by their dumbfounded reactions. So needless to say, updating my cell phone into this decade has been entertaining. Along with no longer having to pound out texts by hitting the same digit multiple times, joining Instagram, and oh, right, making phone calls, one thing I was looking forward to by upgrading was changing the way that I make grocery lists. (Hey, you get your thrills in your way, and I’ll get my thrills in mine…)
The only thing more archaic than my old flip phone was my old grocery list app. It was called Scribbled On Envelope That Didn’t Make It To the Recycle Bin.
“Hey, honey. Did you throw away the advertisement for Mr. Pip’s House of Cars?”
“Are you planning on buying a new Toyota?”
“No, I needed to remember to get birdseed and shampoo.”
So in the interest of keeping my grocery lists in one place that I’d always have in my purse, I began researching more advanced grocery list apps. The one that seemed to be the most popular for the iPhone was Grocery IQ, a free app.
I downloaded the app and began using Grocery IQ by making several lists for the various stores I usually visit – the natural grocery store, another grocery store in my town where prices are cheaper on certain items, an international grocery store, and lists for stores that exist in other cities for those times when I have access to them.
Now when I’m traveling instead of wondering, “What did I say that I’d get the next time I’m at a big Indian market?” I can just open up my list and take a peek. It also works well for using cookbooks that have exotic ingredients I can’t find locally. I can add them to the list to remember what I’m searching for when I’m in a place with a more diverse selection of options.
For each store, you can change the aisles to go in the order that you get to them. Aisles can be hidden (for example baby stuff, meat department, etc.), and the names for aisles can be changed. I changed dairy to be Plant-Based Milks and altered one of the aisles to be Bulk Bins, because there wasn’t a designated section for that. (Be aware that sometimes when there’s an update, it will change those modifications back to their default names.)
Then I made a list of favorite foods that I buy with the most regularity. At the beginning of the week, I can scroll through my favorites ticking off what I need, and then add them to the list for the natural grocery store, farmers market, or what have you. At other times, instead of scrolling through my long favorites list, I just add items to the list by typing them in or giving a voice command.
(This is why my husband likes to tease me from the next room when he hears me say loudly and clearly, seemingly out of nowhere, “French Lentils du Puy!”
Then I hear him say from the office even more loudly and even more clearly, “Brown basmati rice!”)
Speaking of David, in addition to being able to email lists to others, this app has a synch feature, so that you can add other phones to the same list. This means that he can also add to the list remotely from his phone, and when he stops by the grocery store, he knows if I’ve already purchased something. That way we don’t end up with multiples if we both have decided to do a grocery run on the same day. When he gets something from the list or adds to it, it prompts me on my phone with a notification, so that I know it’s been done.
Also when we’re at the grocery store together, as we each tick the boxes, it moves the items to the bottom of the list. (When you’re ready to checkout, you hit a checkout button and it removes them from the list altogether.) When David and I grocery shop together, we can both tick boxes from our respective phones and not have to say afterwards, “Oh, I thought you were grabbing the mushrooms…” We can already see what’s been procured as it happens. The items that weren’t available or that for whatever reason we didn’t get that time around stay on the list for a future visit. No need to worry about an old envelope getting thrown out because there was only one item left on it.
As far as negatives go, I assume that the app makes money by offering coupons from a coupon service. Sometimes there will be a little notation next to an item on the list, indicating that there’s a coupon available for it. For someone with my buying habits, their coupon part of it is useless for me. Obviously, there aren’t a lot of coupons out there for farmers market strawberries and bulk bin chickpeas. For those items that I do buy packaged, they don’t have coupons for those. Their coupons are more mainstream, big corporation-focused than they are organic/vegan/natural-focused. It’s easy enough to ignore that part, and for the price (free), it doesn’t matter so much. But if they ever wanted to start adding coupons for my favorite tofu, seitan, or rice milk, hey, I’m up for saving money!
One other negative, I wish there was a way to freeze the list screen. Sometimes when I’m scooping yeast flakes from the bulk bin, I’ll nudge the phone, and it moves to a different screen. Unlike with my old junk mail grocery lists, I don’t feel quite as inclined to just leave my phone laying in the cart while I scoop and pour.
If you’re interested in seeing the items that are on my favorites list, or if you just want to see what goes into a vegan pantry, I’ve added a Vegan Grocery List to my blog. Obviously, I don’t need to get everything on that list every week. Depending on what I already have on hand and what is available seasonally, the items that I pick up vary. The list can be printed, and items from the list can be deleted to suit your preferences. Check that out here.
What is your method for making grocery lists? Do you have an app that you’d recommend?