Build a Better Grocery List: Good Advice and Great Apps to Help You Save Money

Guide to save on groceries       Build a Better Grocery List: Good Advice and Great Apps to Help You Save Money
In the world of grocery shopping there’s nothing worse than getting home, unpacking your groceries, and realizing you forgot something you really needed – especially if it’s one ingredient that ties everything you bought together to create a meal because you didn’t have it on the list. Sometimes forgetting the smallest ingredient (like one you don’t buy too often) will derail an otherwise successful trip to the store. A well-written shopping list will help you save time, frustration, and money – plus it’ll prevent you from buying things you don’t need (though, an impulse treat here and there can be a great pick-me-up). We’ve got essential tips – using modern technology and old school methods – to make the most of your next shopping list. (Sticking) It Old School For most households, the easiest way to create a shopping list is to have a Post-It Note pad handy in the kitchen, so you can quickly peruse supplies in the pantry, fridge and freezer before heading off to the store. Invite all your household members to add to the list and encourage anyone who plans on hitting the store to take the list with them.
  1. Organize the list based on your expected path through the store, listing items in the order you will most likely put them in your cart.
  2. Stick the Post-It to your phone before you head out, and then stick the list to the shopping cart when you arrive in-store.

Retailer Loyalty Accounts and Ibotta Cash Back Rewards

Don’t forget to take your retailer loyalty card with you when you shop – this ensures you get “member only” deals. Depending on your most-visited retailer, this may be a credit card sized UPC code, a smaller card that fits on a keychain, a phone number you enter on the pinpad at check-out, or a digital app you can scan at the register. Loyalty programs are typically offered free of charge to customers, where discounts and perks (like gas center fuel savings) are provided in exchange for customer shopping data. This data isn’t intrusive, but it does help the store better track what to stock, and when, and know which prices move the most product. This data actually creates an improved shopping experience, and helps retailer cater discounts to items you buy repeatedly. Ibotta is very transparent with a cash back rewards program. Each offer is an advertisement, and Ibotta “lets shoppers in on the deal” by paying them a real cash reward to redeem the offer. By connecting your Ibotta account to each of your retailer loyalty accounts, you can ensure you get cash back no matter who in your household purchases the products. As a failsafe, be sure to get a print receipt that you can submit to Ibotta should someone in your house pay with cash or forget to connect the sale to a retailer account at checkout. Did you forget your retailer card? Don’t worry. Skip the self-checkout and tell the cashier you forgot your card – or request a new one. In many cases, your phone number or email address will activate the discount at the register – or the retailer may give you a “guest pass” with the store card to keep the line moving.

Shop Ahead and Collect Cash Back Rewards

One useful shortcut is to buy all products online that are attached to an offer reward and have them bagged and ready for pickup when you arrive. This strategy frees up your aisle time so you can relax to find new products and meal inspirations, including the deli or prepared foods section to see what looks most appealing for later in the day or as an item on your next shopping list.

Popular Grocery List Apps for iPhone and Android

As easy as pen and PostIt are, digital app providers have created grocery list apps that are stuffed with useful features. We’ve gathered a few curated lists that rank editor-choice apps for both Android and iOS. Consider which of these useful features fit your grocery shopping style so you know which is the best app for you:
  1. Siri or Alexa connectivity – Simply ask your app, anywhere, anytime to add an item to your list.
  2. Recipe integration – Add the recipes you plan to make to your list app and the app will add the ingredients to a shopping list for you. For small portion spices, be sure to check out the best bulk bins deals.
  3. Household collaboration – Have everyone in your household download the app to their phones, and connect a single shared account. This way everyone can add items to one shopping list and whoever shops can buy them all.
  4. Nutrition facts – Many apps sync items with nutrition labels, so you can monitor your fat, sugar, sodium, gluten, and other key nutritional data before you buy an item you’re less familiar with purchasing.
  5. Party planning – When you’re throwing a party or potluck, invited guests can see who’s bringing what to ensure all bases are covered.
  6. Deal spotlights – Individual retailer apps and Ibotta both showcase products that have extra sales or come with cash back offers – be sure to use these features in addition to any list-making app or method of your choice.

Critic’s Choice App Reviews

Check out which apps get the most love from expert editors and consumers: Good Housekeeping Digital Trends Best Products Money Pantry