Maybe the title would be better as "how to manage your shopping budget, save money and reduce waste with ThreeTomatoes.co.uk", but thats a little long and getting started summarises it well.
There are three main aspects to ThreeTomatoes covering your grocery shopping from start to finish.
Food you've purchased.
These aspects of your grocery shopping are summarised on the Dashboad where you can see at a glance what food is expiring soon, how your spending is going according to your budget, your shopping list and theirs a heap of other bits in the pipeline for the dashboard.
The ThreeTomatoes shopping list allows you to have multiple shopping list, these can be emailed, printed or txt'd to yourself (or someone else).
To use the email and txt functionality you will need to enter an email address or mobile number in the My Account section of ThreeTomatoes. This will send an authorization code to the email address or phone, you should then enter that code to confirm that you are authorized to send to the device, this is to prevent spammers annoying the world+dog with their own special shopping list (I wonder what it would contain...).
On the shopping list page select the shopping list you want to amend from the right hand side panel, it will then appear in the left panel (your default shopping list will appear in the left panel by default). Enter what you need into the text box and press add, the product is then added to your list.
Next to the product are x, + and – buttons, these delete, increase and decrease the quantity of the item.
At the top of the list are the options to email, txt, print, clear and delete the list.
Food you've purchased:
Once you've been shopping enter in how much you spent on the Add Shopping page. This way we can help you track your spending and help you keep within budget.
Once you've entered the basics of the shop you have the option to enter the various products that you purchased, if you've got a barcode reader (you can pick them up really cheap on eBay) to hand you can scan the products you've purchased, this will fire off a search on Tesco to find the product name and an approximate price. Alternatively you can enter the products at your leisure by entering the product name and price from your shopping list.
When you enter a product you can also assign an expiry date, if I don't know the actual date I usually guess an appropriate number of days in the future for the type of product (i.e. 3 days for bread, 1 year for tinned stuff etc.). By entering a best before date you will see on the dashboard the number of items expiring in the future and can drill into this to see what you should be eating before it goes bad and you have to throw it away.
Products can also be tagged as you wish, this will allow you to view your shopping cost by product tag (such as ImpulsePurchase or Alcohol, or Chocolate).
On the List Products tab you can see the list of products that you've entered as part of that shop and increase the quantity or remove the item. It also shows the total as the sum of all the products and the total you entered so you can check you've entered the right prices.
A number of products once opened also have a short expiry date, something like Dolmio sauce should only be kept for 3 days once opened. It's all too easy to forget that you've opened a jar when your planning your meals, by updating the product on the Food page to indicate that it's been opened we will set the expiry date appropriately and make you aware on the dashboard that it's expiring.
When you throw a product away update your ThreeTomatoes food to indicate that it's been trashed. You can enter how much of the product was used, if you've been good and used it all select 100%, if you let it go off and wasted it then select 0%, otherwise select an approximate value in-between to match the amount you've used.
By combining the purchase price of the product and the amount you have wasted ThreeTomatoes is able to calculate how much money you have wasted, and keep a running total of this. Navigate to the Waste page and you will see a list of products and the average amount of that product you wasted and the cost of that waste.
Products are grouped by their product name, so if one week I waste 10% of “frozen chicken” then the next week I waste 30% of a different “frozen chicken” it will show a 20% wastage for “frozen chicken”, this helps to identify which products you are regularly wasting and you can then consider if theirs a better way to manage that product of if your money would be better spent on something else (like chocolate or beer :-D).
Naturally you can pick and choose how much of the ThreeTomatoes functionality you wish to make use of. Shopping list only, maybe shopping only without entering the products so you can see how your doing according to budget. The choice is yours.
What about your membership with ThreeTomatoes?
ThreeTomatoes does not have it's own membership system, instead we work with a variety of membership providers, that way you don't have to create a new account with us, you won't have yet another password to remember and so on, likewise we don't have to worry about keeping your password safe because we never get to see it, all we get is acknowledgement that you are who you say you are.
Currently you can sign into ThreeTomatoes using your Facebook, Twitter, OpenId, Flickr, Yahoo or Google account. These are all free accounts so if you want to get into ThreeTomatoes and don't have an account you can easily go and create on, you might find Twitter the best as I am planning some additional functionality for shopping lists around Twitter, and hey, don't for get to follow ThreeTomatoesUK in the process!
If we've never seen you before we create a new account when you sign in for the first time. It's that simple. Go on, give it a go now, Sign in to ThreeTomatoes and take control of your grocery shopping. I'll wait...
How much does it cost?
The basics of ThreeTomatoes is currently free, that includes up to about 20 txt credits each month to send your shopping list to your mobile. In the future their will be a pro paid for membership option with extra functionality (such as meal planning) but that's not available right now, and we may have to review the SMS options.
Please tell us what you think!
A website like ThreeTomatoes is nothing without it's members, please take the time to tell me what you like, dislike or wish it did. You can either use one of the options on the Contact Us page or the ThreeTomatoes User Voice forum. You can also add comments to any of the blog posts as you wish, but these do tend to attract a lot of spam and your comment risks getting accidentally deleted with the spam.