14 July 2012

Organizational tool: Ziplist

Last week I talked about finding a new organizational system. I still haven't found an overall tool yet, but I am trying out a grocery shopping site/app called Ziplist. I've been using it for a week and I think I might stick with it for a while.

Ziplist is a free website that helps you organize your grocery shopping and meal planning. There is also an app for iPhone and Android devices that syncs up with the website so I can always have my list with me. I created an account using my Facebook log-in and started making a shopping list right away. The items are categorized automatically by the section they can be found in at the market, but you can change that. For instance, the program put "stir-fry vegetables" in the Produce section, but I actually buy a frozen mix so I changed it to Frozen.

I haven't done much with the meal planning functions yet, but I'm looking forward to putting them to use. Ziplist acts a recipe box in the cloud. You can type in your own recipes that you've been saving on index cards or, in my case, newspaper clippings stashed in a folder. There is also a cool toolbar that lets you "clip" a recipe from another website and save it to your Ziplist recipe box. Any recipes that you have in your box can be added to your grocery list with one click, so you don't have to add each ingredient individually.

Another feature is the meal plan. The meal planner is basically a calendar that can be exported to Google or Outlook. There is a weekly queue where you can easily switch menus around, which will still give me some flexibility.  I am attracted to this right now because I have to jump on the menu-planning train. Our food budget has gotten even tighter than before. ABM wants to start using coupons and wants to buy just enough for a week's worth of meals at a time. Add in the fact that he likes to shop on the spur of the moment. All this means that I need to be ready at the drop of a hat to go get groceries. I think that planning several meals ahead is what I have to do. I've always resisted this because I tend to cook according to what I have a taste for, but I guess I can get used to having a plan.

No matter what organizational system I pick for other household duties, I think that Ziplist will work well with it. If you try it, let me know what you think.

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