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5 Tech-Savvy Ways To Save Time When Grocery Shopping

5 Tech-Savvy Ways To Save Time When Grocery Shopping

I did not like the amount of time I had to spend to shop in stores. I knew that the long search for items in stores, inability to check online inventory, or even stressful parking, can be left behind with a modicum of technology. The brick-and-mortar retail was lagging behind online retail in technology. But the recent leaps forward in this multi-trillion market gives consumers a number of opportunities to save time. Here are some of my favorite methods to save time when grocery shopping, which may help you to spend more time doing things you love to do.

1. Check in-store inventory online.

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    Many big-box retailers like Walmart, Target, and Home Depot avail their in-store inventory online now. You may check the nearby location of these stores on their websites or online apps. Google shopping allows you to search for stores around you in a single session. The trick is to check the “Available Nearby” checkbox on the left in Google Shopping search to include only local stores. The local-first startup Mantele makes in-store search easier, which searches across Walmarts and some local stores in a single search. For example, I recently found a fire-pit in the local Walmart, which was two to three times costlier on Amazon and Walmart online.

    2. Find items on mobile.

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      A major pain I have in grocery stores is finding the item in-store. I used to walk up and down every aisle to find that one item. Now, many stores are getting better at it. Stores like Walmart, Target, and Home Depot publish their item inventories online. Though you need the mobile app of the chain to get the full functionality, these websites also offer limited searching of the items. Some even provide a map of the store with directions to lead you to the shelf.

      3. Maintain a grocery list in mobile.

      I run out of things like milk or sugar and end up making mid-week trips to stores to get a single item. Or worse, I forget to buy that one item which I want the most and end up driving back. There are a number of mobile apps like Out of Milk or Anylist that maintain an active grocery list. I add an item to my mobile list when I notice that it is about to finish. Further, I check and clean my refrigerator before my grocery trip and add any veggies I needed to the list. Notably, most of the items I need every week are repetitive and I can just copy the same list from last week. The best part is that my phone is always with me, so I don’t forget to take the list with me to the store!

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      4. Save on home delivery.

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        If all of these fail, I sacrifice on my freedom to choose myself and rely on home delivery. Many large players and startups like Google Express, Amazon Fresh, Walmart, and Instacart offer grocery-delivery services to your home. The delivery usually comes with a charge. But, due to intense competition in this emerging multi-billion market, many offer free delivery for the first few months (e.g. free for the first 3 months for google express, a few deliveries free for others). A perk for Amazon Prime members is that you get credit for pantry items if you opt for a slower shipping for many Prime items – credit that you can use later for free Prime-pantry delivery. Even with charges, home delivery may save more time (and time is money) if you buy everything together using your mobile list above.

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        5. Curb-side pickup.

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          The startup Curbside allows you to order online and pick up items in front of the store without getting out of the car. Though they recently lost Target, they are still active in many shopping malls and large chains. Unlike the home delivery, they do not charge consumers extra.

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          Last Updated on February 15, 2019

          7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

          7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

          Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

          Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

          Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

          So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

          Joe’s Goals

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            Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

            Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

            Daytum

              Daytum

              is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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              Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

              Excel or Numbers

                If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                Evernote

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                  I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                  Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                  Access or Bento

                    If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                    Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                    You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                    Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                    All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                    Conclusion

                    I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                    What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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