Shopping list apps are a dime a dozen in the iOS App Store, but sometimes you find one that stands out in one way or another. Plan & Buy from Aleksandr Zdorovets is one of those apps.
In comparison to some of the shopping list heavyweights, like Grocery Gadget and Grocery IQ, Plan & Buy is a fairly basic shopping list app. It allows you to enter the items you need to buy, along with their price, quantity, units and category. Be sure to enter the quantity in this edit screen as there is no other way to increase or decrease the quantity of what you need to buy. You can edit it again to change the quantity, but it's easier if you get it right on the first try.
Plan & Buy requires you to enter a category when enter a new item. The categories cover most of your grocery purchases, but the category list is fixed and cannot be changed to suit your needs. This is inconvenient if you want to use the app for shopping for something else, like clothes. There is no support for coupons, aisles or stores, which also are major drawbacks to the app.
The big benefit to using Plan & Buy is how it tracks your purchases. The app has a progress bar that displays the percentage of goods that are marked off as having been purchased. You also can view at a glance the percentage of purchased items with a price (labeled in green) and those without a price (labeled in orange).
Though it may seem like a little feature, I found the progress bar to be incredibly useful, especially with shopping lists that contain items that you buy over time. I used it to track a list of items that I needed for a birthday party. It was an eye-opener when I looked at the list a few days before the party and realized I only had bought 30 percent of the stuff that I needed for the shindig.
Plan & Buy isn't robust by current shopping list standards, but it's useful for folks who have longer lists that require multiple shopping trips over time. Though the categories are food-oriented, you can still use the app for any list as long as you don't mind using "Other" for the categories. Plan & Buy isn't as polished as other competitors in its field, but it has promise. It won't find a permanent place on my phone just yet, but it's on my radar to see if it improves in subsequent versions.
Plan & Buy is available in the iOS App Store for US$0.99. It's compatible with the iPhone and the iPad. There are no ads or in-app purchases.