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I'm an iPhone user (thus, iOS only recommendations, please!), looking for an app to aid me in grocery shopping. I'm looking to optimize my grocery spending and I've identified some issues with the way I currently shop:

  • Sometimes I spot an item not on my list which is priced very competitively, but I'm not sure how much of that item I have at home; I risk getting too much or too little of it, relative to how much I would buy if I knew exactly how much I have at home.

Thus, my ideal app would have some way for me to track how much of an item I have at home; each time I use something in the list, I'll update my inventory, and so each time I go shopping, I have an accurate tally of what's left at home. Ideally, the update process should be quick; a barcode scanner would really come in handy at times.

  • I may not remember what I paid for last time for certain items, particularly those bought infrequently. If I knew it was much cheaper than I've historically paid for it, I'd stock a lot; conversely, knowing it is more expensive than expected, I'll just buy the bare minimum before my next trip to the store.

My ideal app would have price tracking capability; after shopping (or even while at the grocery store), I could enter prices for each item, so that when I'm at the store, I can get a plot of past prices paid for that item and make better informed purchasing decisions.

  • At the store there may be a myriad of choices for a given product (say, dishwasher soap). I don't care if it's brand X, Y or Z, I just want the cheapest. Although, for other products (say, beer) I may at times be interested in the price of a specific brands (at other times I just want to get drunk at the cheapest possible cost).

Thus, the app should have some sort of functionality for grouping "commodity" items, i.e. there's dishwasher soap from brand X and Y, and although they're different products, with different barcodes, in principle they're perfect replacements for one another, so if today brand X soap is cheaper than brand Y, I'll buy brand X today, but I'll just as easily buy brand Y soap when that brand is cheaper. This grouping functionality should also affect inventory: maybe I have a can of beer from each of 20 different brands, so looking individually at each brand I have too little beer, but adding all brands up, I have enough beer. Basically I'd like to categorize/tag all brands of beer as "beer" and the software should recognize that grouping.

On the other hand, I'd still like to be able to treat them as different products when necessary. Say I usually drink cheap beer, without looking at brand, and thus I'd like to know the lowest price I've paid for any brand of beer, so I can decide whether the beer is cheap enough at the grocery store. But on the other hand, I may have Guinness for special occasions, and when looking to buy Guinness, I don't care how much Budweiser or Miller cost, only Guinness; thus I need to be able to get pricing for Guinness only.

  • Sometimes it's me doing the shopping, sometimes it's my wife. The same problems that I have, she's prone to have as well; thus, we need synced information.

Ideally (although that's not absolutely required), the app should have some sort of syncing functionality, so when I update something on my phone, the app on her phone gets updated as well.

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