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Frustrated with Tracking Grocery Costs? Find Your Answer Here

How much do you spend on groceries per month?

Is it $500? Or maybe $600–700? For some, it might be more than $1k.

There are a lot of factors that affect this number — your gender (statistically males spend more than females), your diet (if you try to eat healthy, your bill will likely be higher), family size (those who have kids spend much more), area you live in, etc.

But probably all of us noticed that the cost of the average grocery bill went up a lot. It all makes sense — inflation was crazy in the past few years, constant talks about recession, etc. Of course, it impacted grocery prices as well.

But my question here is how do you keep track of your grocery expenses?

Do you use Excel, Google Sheets or any app that helps you with that? There are dozens of shopping list apps out there, budget apps like Mint, YNAB, etc.
But what is the functionality of these apps?

Shopping list apps simplify your shopping experience, Expense trackers show how much you spend on groceries overall, and coupon apps like Flipp & Reebee help to find the best deals & discounts at your stores.

All of that sounds great! But do you know how much you spend on a specific grocery item? What is the average price you pay for this product? Where does this item cost less? Did the price for that product go up or down?

None of these apps have this specific functionality.

Flipp is relatively close to what I want but it still aims different goal.

Wouldn’t it be nice to keep track of prices for the items you typically purchase, monitor changes over time, compare prices across different stores, and gain insights into your grocery shopping habits such as identifying the most expensive and cheapest items, the most and least purchased items, the average bill amount, etc?

There are multiple Reddit threads where people discussed the same thing:

App/program that automatically tracks which grocery store has the best price for an item?

Any apps to track my grocery purchases and prices

Receipt scanning & price tracking app for groceries?

Simple price tracking app for groceries?

Price book app for tracking grocery costs across several stores

Seems like most people use spreadsheets for this or even paper books!

So, wouldn’t it be great to automate this process and have an app?

Instead of constantly filling Excel sheets or writing in a paper book, wouldn’t it be much easier to just scan your paper receipt, and get all the necessary data from it such as item name, unit (kg, ea, etc.), price per unit, quantity, and total, save it and then have statistics on this particular purchase, specific items and their price fluctuations?

Loblaws receipt scan using OCR technology<br>

Using powerful OCR software (Optical Character Recognition), users would be able to scan receipts, and in most cases, the results would be quite accurate. The challenge with paper receipts lies in the quality of the paper they are printed on, which may not always be optimal. As a result, there are instances where OCR software may struggle to scan them accurately or may produce errors in the scan. However, users will always have the option to correct any inaccuracies manually or enter the data manually themselves.

After saving this data, users will always have access to their purchase history. They can view exactly how many purchases they made and how much they spent in total each month, over the last three months, or within any other custom date range.

Purchase history of a user<br>

Users will also have access to detailed statistics for each item they’ve ever purchased. This includes the average, lowest, and highest prices for the item, total expenditure on it, the number of times it was purchased, purchase dates, price fluctuations over time, and where the item costs less.

With this comprehensive data at their disposal, users can make informed, data-driven decisions. For example, they may decide it’s time to switch to another brand to save money, or perhaps it’s best to stop purchasing the item altogether.

Insights on a particular item<br>

Price fluctuations on a particular item<br>

I’ve been dedicating my free time to developing a rough prototype of this app. While I’m currently in the process of refactoring the backend, I’ve had the chance to use it myself. Despite its current limitations, it has already provided valuable insights into my grocery spending behaviour.

Using the prototype, I’ve gained a clearer understanding of my spending habits. It has highlighted areas where I was overspending on unnecessary items and revealed price fluctuations in some of my frequently purchased items. This insight made me consider switching to more cost-effective brands. Overall, the prototype has proven to be a useful tool for tracking my grocery expenses.

As a relatively frugal person who likes tracking each dollar I spend, I found it really helpful and thought maybe other people like me also want to analyze their spending behaviour when making groceries.
That’s why I am here, asking for your honest opinion.

Would an app like this be useful to you?

Do you believe it could help you analyze and manage your grocery spending effectively?

Let me know in the comment section below if you would actually use an app like this or maybe there is already one like that with a good design and all the features mentioned above that you’ve been using for a while.
Feel free to share any additional ideas or suggestions you may have for improving this app.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

And that's it, guys.

I hope that you have learned something new today!
I would appreciate it if you could like this post or leave a comment below!

Feel free to follow me on GitHub and Medium!

Adios, mi amigos)

Bye bye meme

Top comments (3)

renan01 profile image

I'm also looking for options to track this kind of data. Your prototype looks really nice, congrats! One of my main concerns is to have the ability to track this information in an open format... I like the plain text accounting approach (something like this

Maybe is too much, but I think it's a good idea to have the data available to be used with scripts and even other apps that complements functionality.

kairatorozobekov profile image

Hey Renan) Thank you so much for the valuable feedback. Really appreciate it. Yeah, it is a very good idea for the future - expose the data through API (or something like that) and then it can easily be used with other apps as well)

renan01 profile image

Api is good! Plain text is optimal IMO. Another link about PTA