This App Can Tell You Where to Get the Best Price for Everything on Your Grocery List

updated May 24, 2019
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(Image credit: Lisa Freedman)

We’re just over three weeks into 2019, which means that most of us haven’t completely abandoned our New Year’s resolutions yet. In addition to trying to cut down on my LaCroix intake (it’s not even that good, you guys) and trying to stop obsessing about mistakes I made in, like, 2004, I’m trying to really focus on – and stick to – my monthly budget this year.

Because I am SERIOUS-in-all-caps about this, I made an Excel spreadsheet to try to determine where every paycheck goes. Although most of my monthly bills are pretty consistent, my grocery receipts can fluctuate like crazy, depending on how well I’ve planned my meals in advance (spoiler alert: I am a poor planner) and whether or not I buy whatever impulse-in-a-box is currently being showcased on the end-cap. Fortunately, a not-quite-new but increasingly popular and free phone app can help me – or force me – to make a grocery list ahead of time, and it can also calculate which store has the best price on those items.

Basket is an app that uses Waze-like crowdsourcing to collect the prices of groceries in real-time, so when you put your grocery list together, it can tell you where to shop in order to get the best prices. “If I want to book a hotel room or a car, I can go online and in moments, I can get the best deal locally, or find a way to avoid traffic,” Basket co-founder Andy Ellwood told Food Navigator-USA. “Whereas if I want to buy a basket of groceries, my shopping list is about as helpful as a printed-off map. It’s a dumb list, not tied to real-time pricing or inventory information. You just hope what you want is there at a good price.”

So like Waze – which happens to be where Ellwood used to work – Basket’s self-described “community of shoppers” shares prices (and out-of-stock updates) on groceries at big box retailers like Walmart, Costco, and Target, grocery chains, drug stores, and online retailers. Ellwood said that Basket has been downloaded more than 800,000 times, and around 100,000 of those users “actively confirm or update prices” regularly. He says that those users are scattered throughout all 50 states and in the top 100 metro areas. (But – as Waze users already know – if you live in an ultra-rural community, you may be relying on information provided to you, by you).

It’s a cool concept, especially if you do have several retail options, and can know that you’re getting the best deals at whichever store you choose. If Basket can tell me where to score some bargain LaCroix, I’m sold. Um, I mean, you’re sold. Not me, not this year, of course not.