Are You Scanning Every Shopping Trip?

It’s time for some tips!

You may not realize this, but every shopping trip you make – whether you buy many items or just a few – represents the shopping behavior of thousands of other households just like yours across the United States. This is why it’s so important to record all of your household’s purchases!

Our research shows that many of our panel members record their grocery store items, but sometimes forget to record purchases from stores such as drug stores, convenience stores, dollar stores, etc. We sometimes refer to purchases made from these types of stores as “on the go” purchases.


Here are just a few reminders:

  • Drugstores now carry a wide variety of items, even food. So if you stop at a drugstore to pick up health and beauty items, vitamins, cold remedies, pain medicine, or even milk, remember to record those purchases as soon as you get home.
  • If you make a quick stop at a Convenience Store, let us know about it. If the item you purchased is consumed before you get home, just save the packaging and scan the barcode later, or write the barcode number on the back of the receipt.
  • Many Dollar Stores have names that sound similar. When recording these purchases, be careful when choosing the store name.

A note to those in Hurricane Florence’s path: We’ve seen the news reports and it looks like conditions will be bad for a while. Please know that our thoughts are with you and your loved ones. Please take care.

15 thoughts on “Are You Scanning Every Shopping Trip?”

  1. Since I’m the one with the app on the phone in my family I always tell them if they’re making those small trips for snacks and other stuff to just write down the UPC barcode on a piece of paper; they always have a small pad with a pen in the vehicle to do so especially for the things that they consume while traveling. This way I can enter it when they get home.

  2. Last week I bought a $7 Beauty Box from Target. Some of the individual items have bar codes, but some don’t, and the box itself has no bar code. Therefore I didn’t report it. I am pretty good at recording any purchase where I get a paper receipt (I always ask for a receipt) but I am much worse at recording online purchases, especially ebay. Six boxes of tea from Bulgaria? 100 tea bags from Amazon sold through ebay? An extra phone charger from China? Sometimes the problem is no bar code, and sometimes the cost of the item(s) without S & H is not recorded. So I do what I can, and I record all my food purchases except the massive quantity of tea I have bought online.

      1. We’re having flood warnings still and we’re inland. We have busses that can’t get to schools. We have people displaced from home because of flooding. It’s insane.

  3. Great tips!!! I’m horrible about forgetting to record my small “on the go” as you put them, purchases. Especially gas station ones 🙁 unfortunately it is not just forgetting to record it in this or any other apps either, I’m constantly forgetting to record or include those purchases on my bank and debit card accounts… if my gas is not pulled out or at least put on as a pending charge subtracting the amount from the balance, right then or before the day its bought is over, I’m probably going to forget it hasn’t come out yet when looking over my account. 🙄 bad habit! Anyway, love the tips and this app, it’s kinda neat an all that. Thanks for the kind words at the end of your article for all of us on the east coast and in Florence’s path. Nice to know there really are other people aware of the events, what is going on, and is at least thinking of us in this somewhat scary and trying time. Thanks a lot! ☺️

  4. That’s so great that you guys give ppl in desasters like that vacation points. I didn’t know what vacation points were till now. I went a few weeks ago to Gatlinburg and I had just been recording my purchases while on vacation. Next time I know what to do. Thank you so much for helping those ppl out that were impacted!

  5. Sometimes there isn’t a way to record things. Like as we were building our house, we bought cabinets from Lowes but they were ordered and came with no barcodes. There isn’t enough categories for items. Like car wash, cabinets…ect.
    Need more categories for non-barcodes items.

    1. Hi, Unfortunately, currently there are some purchases that are difficult, if not impossible, to capture, such as the ones you mention. But we’ll pass along your suggestion about more categories. Thanks!

      1. I agree. I come across lots of purchases with no barcodes and nothing to identify the item with in the “no barcode” list. I use a Mobile app so going to the barcode book is not allowed. Many of these items I am referencing to are in the barcode book.

  6. How do I get a new “no barcode list” mine is falling apart. Also I was wanting to know about the mobile app. Is there a place I can go to find out more information about it?

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