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Experts: Grocery Shopping Apps Can Replace Lists, Save Money

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- It's time to toss that handwritten shopping list that you keep crumpled in your purse or pocket.

You can also scrap the coupons you clip, and if you are a serious shopper, dump that calculator you whip out to figure out the best deal in the grocery aisle.

As CBS2's Emily Smith reported Wednesday, shopping has gone high-tech – and help with it can now be found in your trusty smartphone. Indeed, there has been an explosion of grocery shopping apps.

"It depends upon how much time you have to spend, and really probably most importantly what your goals are," said food economist Carolyn Dimitri.

For some examples, the Grocery IQ app organizes the list by store aisle, so some items are easier to find. It also saves lists for future trips.

If your goal is convenience, there are many apps for that. One, Grocery Gadget, allows you to send pictures to items so your spouse or partner does not buy the wrong thing.

If your goal is saving money, there are apps that let you upload receipts and get rebates.

There are also apps that do math and comparison shop for you, such as Apples2Oranges.

Other apps, such as Food Planner, let you download recipes, and ingredients are added to your shopping list.

Dimitri said they are tools for budgeting and eating well.

"Plan your whole menu and shopping list in advance, and you can know exactly how much it costs," Dimitri said.

Big-name chain stores also offer apps.

The Walmart app allows users to price-scan items with their phones, and if something is not found in the store, users can just open the app and select the item. The app will then show what aisle the item is in.

And the Whole Foods app offers money-saving information about in-store sales.

Experts said the new tech-savvy generation is driving the push toward digital grocery shopping.

"A lot of this is being driven by the millennial generation," said Nancy Childs, who published a study about retail grocery store apps. "They're becoming householders and taking charge, but they're also influencing their parents."

Childs found that digital shoppers said they use apps because of convenience, economics and personalization. But some complained that apps had slow response times in the store, and shoppers had concerns over being hit up to take surveys and over privacy.

But one advocate of grocery shopping apps said they helped her save about $100 last year.

"That's a big deal to me," said shopper Allison Barnes. "It really helps and it's not a lot of effort on my part."

Other apps allow you to do your shopping right on your phone, select the item you want, and have them delivered with the touch of a button.

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