These apps will make your grocery shopping experience a breeze.
BRING! SHOPPING LIST
The polished interface with big, bold illustrated icons was a breath of fresh air, compared to numerous other apps which resembled dorky school projects that were cobbled together without heed for design. The layout is so straightforward and intuitive, you can jump right into starting your grocery list.
The search box works a little like a pictorial version of Google's predictive Autocomplete function. For instance, if you start typing in "sa" because you wanted salt, the app will try to guess what you're looking for and display icons of grocery items that have the letters "sa", like "salmon", "sausage" and even "soy sauce" and "rubbish sacks". Once you spot the right one, just tap on the icon – you don't even need to type in the full word!
I tried "tempeh" too: I wasn't surprised that the app doesn't recognise the term, but it lets me add it to my grocery list anyway, without needing any special action on my part. If you really want to specify quantity or add a note, just long-press the icon to add your text. Each icon's background also change from teal to red when you declare it on your grocery list, so it's easy to tell at a glance what you need.
Bring! is as close to perfection as it is when it comes to sharing grocery lists. Before you hit the stores, tap on the "I'm going shopping!" button on your way out, and the app will notify everyone in the group to start updating the list. That's faster than manual typing out a text message. Bring! syncs instantly, so everyone with access to the list gets a real-time perspective of what's needed and what's been bought. Added items show up immediately too. But there's another handy "List updated" button, which lets the shopper know that the list has been finalised.
Free, on Google Play Store.
Let's not mince words – the app is clunky, and doesn't seem very inspiring. But, it has some very advanced functions that most apps skipped over. There are three main views: Stores, Labels, and Items.
Stores is quite self-explanatory, but the cool part here is that you can set the app to notify you every time you're near a store, and you've got pending items on a grocery list. You don't even need to manually key in the address, because the location search is powered by Google Maps. Tap on a store, tap on "Navigate", and it'll bring up directions to you on Google Maps. Neat.
Labels are pretty much product categories, like "Pasta and Rice", "Seafood", and "Condiments and Sauces". Here, you can specify quantity, add photos, assign a priority level from 1 to 5, size and price. For frequently purchased items, I found it worthwhile to enter the size (e.g. 500g), so that the next time I fire up my Rshopping List to key in ingredients for a recipe, I'll know if one unit of that item is sufficient, or if I should get two.
The Auntie in me also loves that I can keep track of how much the same item costs at different stores – hey, the difference can be about a dollar for some yoghurts! (Just overlook the fact that you can't change the currency sign.)
The app also has a built-in calculator that lets you compare the per-unit price of two similar items, and if you've been dilligent about keying in prices of your grocery items, you can use it to keep a running tally of your bill. PS. There is a barcode scanning function, but like every other grocery list app I've tried, they don't seem to be any useful with things sold in Singapore, not even globally available items like Lipton tea!
OUT OF MILK
What about a grocery list app that doubles as your pantry organiser too? Out of Milk is exactly that, and you can even keep it hands-free, because the Android version has a voice recognition built into it (it's powered by Google).
The Shopping List is straightforward: Add what you need by typing or speaking to it, and you can also add items based on what you've bought before. You can enter the quantity and price too. One silly bug is that the app will automatically multiply the quantity with the price. So if you noted that you wanted 500g of sugar, and keyed in the packet price of $2.65, it'll display the sub-total as $1325. Right, better leave the math to Rshopping List.
The Pantry List works quite similarly, but on top of the usual measurement units, you can choose to indicate a pantry item as Low or Full. Why not just add the things that are running low to the shopping list, you might wonder. Well, if you don't have the luxury of a car to ferry the bags around, it's useful to separate the essentials (Shopping List) from the good-to-have's (Pantry List), like in deciding if you really need to grab those family packs of tissue boxes now.
While it doesn't have the nifty live sync that Bring! offers, you can still share your grocery list quite easily. You can share the full list – with prices, quantity and even the specific aisles – via email, Hangouts, Whatsapp, or pretty much any relevant app on your phone. Alternatively, hit "copy to clipboard" and paste the content to wherever you want to.
Caveat: Out of Milk for Android sports a clean, minimalist look but the older iOS app looks a little more dated.
This story was first published on Simply Her.