Now here's a Web app that could save you money on something you're bound to be doing on a weekly basis: buying food. GroceryGuide takes all the data from weekly grocery sales circulars and makes them available online in one large database. Similar to some of the aggregation sites that do this with electronics deals, you can either browse by store, or create a list of three items you'd like to search for from up to two different local stores at a time. If you find an item you like, you can then add it to a shopping list that can be printed up to take with you when you go.
What sets this apart from simply going through the ads in your local paper is the price history tracking, which for some items will go back as far as 19 years of sales data to let you know what's happened to an item's price over time. The service also assigns an automatic star rating to supplement the price rating, which can help you sort out the good deals from the lackluster. If you're not happy with the rating it's been given, you can also give the deal a thumbs up or down to let other users know.
For the uninspired user, GroceryGuide integrates recipes for several food items. These will show up alongside an item, and can be popped out to be printed for kitchen use. What's notably missing is a way to add the other items from those recipes to your shopping list, or have the service automatically recommend recipes based on the items that you have already saved to the list. Considering some other services do this like All Recipes and CookingByNumbers, it would be great to see this get added.
I found that the search function did not work nearly as well as I was expecting. Searching by brand or item frequently yielded no results--which is a limitation of the database that has been made up of whatever deals are going on at the time. To that end, the browse deals function is a reasonably efficient way to sort through what's hot. I'm also a simple creature, and the lack of photos for these items makes it slightly less tantalizing to pick out what I want to eat for the week (for that, the weekly circulars have got it beat). Regardless, I like where this site is going, and until I pick up one of those fridges that tells me what I need to buy before I run out of it, deal hunting will have to do.
[found on Read/Write Web]