Grocery Lists & Data Collection

I tend to be the one who does most of the grocery shopping for our family. I’ve always been curious about some of the data that could be collected – specifically, pricing data and how often we purchase certain items. So I built a spreadsheet. (You know how they say “To a child with a hammer, everything is a nail”? Yeah, well, spreadsheets are my hammer.)

Of course, just a list of all the stuff we buy with prices paid would be annoying to keep up – since there’s a lot of stuff we don’t buy every week, there would be a mountain of empty space to deal with. Okay, so two spreadsheets – one with a list of everything, and another with the current week’s list. And since my preferred store offers a list of items and aisles, I can start with that. Fire up the scanner, fix some minor OCR issues and I have a list of lots of what they sell and where in the store it is. This is important because…

I like my grocery list to be in the order I’m going through the store. So do a VLOOKUP on the item name and get the aisle number. Works for lots of stuff, manually add a few items to the store directory and away we go.

I used a Numbers spreadsheet for this task – sure, Excel has lots of geekery going for it, but Numbers has iCloud which means I can edit on my desktop with amenities like mouse and keyboard, and update at the store on my phone.

Next up… geeking out on adding items to the list.

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