When I got my iPhone a year ago, one of the first apps I downloaded was Grocery IQ, an app that keeps track of my grocery list. I love this app, and although it isn’t an app that is meant to be green, it does help me be more sustainable with my food and my money.

By now, we all know the embarrassing statistic that here in the United States, we waste more than 25 percent of the food that is created. A lot of that waste is created in our own homes when food we buy goes uneaten before it spoils. Good planning is one way to avoid wasted food.

Sitting down for a half hour a week to plan out meals and create a grocery list is one way to make sure you won’t buy more food than you need. Grocery IQ allows you to create a list organized by the aisles in your favorite stores.

Here’s how it works. You type in a food — let’s say American cheese. The app will bring up different brands of American cheese to choose from or simply allow you to put “American cheese” on your list. The app automatically has American cheese in the dairy aisle, but you can manually change that aisle to “Deli counter” or any other aisle if you want to. That way you can be sure to group all of the foods you would get at the deli section of your grocery store together on your list.

Another example is the Pacific Foods organic broth that I often use. The app has the item in the canned goods and soups section. However, my grocery store has a separate section for organic foods and that is where I would find that particular broth. I can manually change the aisle to organic foods.

You can see how you can easily create a grocery list that is organized by the aisles in your particular store.

When you are shopping, once you throw an item on your list into your grocery cart, you tap the item on the list. It gets a check mark and goes to the bottom of your list. It stays checked and at the bottom until you untap it. This way, next time you need to make a grocery list, you can go through your tapped items and untap them if you need to buy them again. All of the original information that you added to the item is still there. No need to change the aisles or other information each time you need to buy the item.

In addition to the grocery list, Grocery IQ has a new feature for coupons. You can scroll through a list of coupons, check the coupons you want, and e-mail the list to your computer so you can print them out. Many of the coupons are for processed foods that you may not be interested in, but there are a few that may come in handy.

Right now, coupons that may interest sustainable shoppers are for Good Earth Tea, GE Energy Smart CFL’s, Caribou Coffee, and an issue of Cooking Light magazine. The coupons are subject to change at any time.

With Grocery IQ, if I take the time to organize my meals for the week and my grocery list, I’m much more likely to come home with all of the items I need. It saves me extra trips to the grocery store, too. It saves me from having to order a pizza because I don’t have everything I need in the house to make dinner. It saves me from impulsively buying an item that may go bad before I use it. And, it saves me time in the grocery store since I am organized by my stores aisles, and I can avoid back tracking.

Not bad for the 99 cents that the app costs, huh?  

Images: Grocery IQ

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