I’m Beginning to Hate My Grocery Deals App

Why does it always have deals for EXACTLY what I’m planning to buy?

Photo credit: Ian Ransley, CC BY 2.0.

As you might remember if you listened to my conversation on meal planning with Lillian Karabaic, I keep two running grocery lists: one for stuff I’ll need this week, and one for stuff I’ll need two weeks from now.

Meal Planning (the secret weapon) ft. Nicole Dieker – Oh My Dollar!

My grocery list for this week is really small: some fresh fruit, a tub of plain yogurt, and dried lentils.

My grocery list for two weeks out is about twice as long, and it includes stuff that I only buy once every few months or so, like olive oil, coffee filters, and gummy vitamins. Sure, I could buy all of that now, but if I buy it in August it’ll count towards August’s grocery budget.

So I thought that for sure I could get through the grocery store this weekend only spending, like $15 or so. (Which is still overspending my grocery budget for this month, but not to the level where it feels embarrassing.)

Then I opened my app.

The Safeway deals app had a whole list of “Just 4 U” recommendations, which included nearly everything on my two-week-out grocery list. Olive oil. Coffee filters. Gummy vitamins.

How did the app know I was two weeks away from running out of gummy vitamins? I wrote that list down on paper! If there’s some algorithm doing the math on how long it takes to consume 150 vitamins or pour hot water through 100 coffee filters, then that algorithm must also know that I’m a single person who only uses one coffee filter per day. WHAT ELSE DOES THIS ALGORITHM KNOW ABOUT ME?

Apparently it knows that if it offers me a bunch of deals on stuff that I was already planning to buy, tells me I need to use the deals by July 30, and promises me $7 off if I spend $70, I am going to walk in there and buy everything on all of my open grocery lists because I can’t turn down a good deal.

And then Mint will tell me that I spent more than $400 on groceries this month and that bar graph will stretch upwards like I have no control over what I’m doing anymore.

Mint’s Graphs Show Me Exactly When I Started Cutting Back on My Spending

I have no doubt that I’m saving money on individual food items, plus all those sevens of dollars of free stuff I get every week.

But I am starting to hate this app, just a little bit.

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