The Free App That Finally Made Me Enjoy Grocery Shopping

updated Sep 17, 2020
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Is it me, or has grocery shopping seemed harder than usual? When I was younger, I would watch my mom write out her shopping list every week, and it seemed effortless. Boy, was I wrong! Meal planning is hard work—and frankly, it was something I skipped when I first started buying my own groceries. Back then, I’d just grab random things I thought I wanted based on whatever I had a taste for that week. Though the spontaneity of that method was cool at first, it was not efficient, and I found myself heading to the grocer multiple times a week to make complete meals and pick up items I forgot.

I searched high and low for grocery shopping hacks, templated grocery lists, and how-tos, anticipating that there was no way I could be alone in this struggle. Serendipitously, I stumbled across an app called Out of Milk (catchy name, right?) that completely changed the grocery shopping game for me.

Credit: Out of Milk

The Out of Milk app helps me simplify my entire shopping experience, from taking stock of the pantry to checking out at the store. The app features a shopping list, where you can track anything you need to buy and cross them off as you shop; a pantry list, where you can track the inventory levels of things you always like to have on hand; and a to-do list for any household tasks that ladder up to help you with your shopping (like sitting down to choose recipes or checking on cleaning supplies). I often keep a running “go to” list of my weekly must-haves, so I don’t have to re-type it every week. These lists keep me on track with my meal planning: When I want to try a new recipe from Pinterest, I check Out of Milk to see what ingredients I have, and add the ones I don’t have to my shopping list. There’s also a bar code scanner that allows you to easily add things to your shopping list or pantry inventory by scanning them right inside your kitchen (or the grocery aisle—to track those buy-again impulse purchases).

The Out of Milk app is free, and available for iOS, Android, and web. And if you use a voice assistant like Alexa or Google Home, you can sync your app to your device and manage your lists hands-free.