Apps to save time and money while grocery shopping

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Toss the hand written shopping list that's crumpled in your purse or pocket. Grocery shopping is going high tech!

Help with the chore is now in your smart phone.

Allison Barnes juggles her own business and a family. When it comes to grocery shopping, she needs it to be fast, easy, and economical. Lucky for her, there's an app for that.

"Grocery shopping is less of a pain," Barnes said.

Now, she enters her entire shopping list into the "Grocery IQ" app. The app organizes the list by store aisle so items are easier to find. She can digitally zap the list to her husband or save it for future trips to the supermarket.

"I don't have to sit down with pen and paper at the beginning of the week and write down even the things we use all the time," Barnes said.

But "Grocery IQ" is not the only option. There is a digital explosion of grocery shopping apps. With so many options, one challenge might be sorting through them all and figuring out which ones suit your needs.

"It depends upon how much time you have to spend, and really probably most importantly what your goals are," said food economist Carolyn Dimitri.

If your goal is convenience, there are many apps for that. "Grocery Gadget" lets you take and send pictures of items so your spouse does not buy the wrong thing.

Other apps allow you to do your shopping right on your phone, select the items you want, and have them delivered with the touch of a button.

If your goal is saving money, "Ibotta" is an app that lets you upload receipts and get rebates. "Apples 2 Oranges" is also an app that lets you go math and comparison shopping.

Other apps like "Food Planner" let you download recipes and the necessary ingredients are added to your shopping list.

"Plan your whole menu and shopping list in advance and you can know exactly how much it costs," DiMitri said.

Big name chain stores also offer apps to help customers. Walmart's app lets you price scan items with your phone. If you can't find something in the store, just open the app, select the item, and it shows which aisle it is in.

Whole Foods' app offers money saving information about in-store sales.

"A lot of this is being driven by the millennial generation. They're becoming householders and taking charge, but they're also influencing their parents," said professor of food marketing Nancy Childs.

Childs published a study about retail grocery store apps. The digital shoppers she surveyed say they use apps because of convenience, economics, and personalization. Some of the study's participants complained some apps had slow response times in the store. Shoppers also expressed privacy concerns after being asked to take surveys.

"This privacy issue is not new. As they would say, the horse left the barn. We're accustomed to sharing information to receive convenience, to receive access maybe to some economic discounts," Childs said.

Barnes says she is not concerned about her privacy, and the apps helped her save about $100 last year.

"That's a big deal to me. It really helps and it's not a lot of effort on my part," Barnes said.


Download the apps:

Grocery Gadget

Grocery IQ


Apples 2 Oranges

Receipt Hog

Food Planner

Quick Scan

Any List
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