The next couple weeks are crunch-time for holiday shopping procrastinators. But don’t worry — there’s an app for that!
“Smartphones are a perfect tool for holiday shopping,” says Jim Karpen, online editor with iPhone Life Magazine. “They help you save money by doing price comparisons on the fly, and can save time, hassle and headaches in many other ways.”
Here are some smartphone apps that could make your holiday shopping a little, well, smarter.
Don’t recall whether Uncle Joe wears a size L or XL? Want to get that cashmere sweater deal, but not sure if you’re over budget?
Gift Plan can help you with those issues and more. The app lets you create a shopping list with suggested price targets as well as an overall tally for all your gift purchases. Other features include an idea tab, so you can track gift ideas as they come to you, and the ability to set up a profile of all your loved ones, so you have clothing sizes and preferences at your finger tips. Plus, once you’ve imported the birthdays and anniversaries of all your friends and loved ones, the app will send you automatic reminders well in advance.
Available on: iPhone
Shopping by the Find
Want to buy that fancy new HDTV you fell in love with, but not quite sure if the price is right? With Shopping by the Find, you can make sure you get the best price BestBuy or Target is willing to offer, even if it’s not the one listed in the store.
“Showrooming has become a big issue among retailers,” Karpen says. “People use the big-box retailers to find the products they like, then order them for a lower price online. So stores like Best Buy and Target will now match prices found online.”
Use the Shopping by the Find app to scan the bar code of any product, and the app will find the lowest prices online and also show you if the product is eligible for a Best Buy or Target price match offer.
Available on: iPhone
Other great comparison shopping apps include Price Check by Amazon, which lets you compare prices against the online behemoth and Red Laser, which lets you search both online and local retailers for the very best price. Simply scan the bar code with your iPhone’s camera to get the prices for the product from competitors.
Retailers letting you earn rewards without putting charges on your credit card may seem like a marketing ploy, but that’s what shopkick is all about. You can earn rewards (or “kicks”) simply by walking into stores like Target, Best Buy, Macy’s and Crate & Barrel. You get more kicks by scanning items or making purchases. Redeem rewards earnings for gift cards at many stores, iTunes song downloads, or, as a pick-me-up after you shop till you drop, a free latte at Starbucks.
Available on: iPhone, Android
The Coupons App
If you’re into coupons, there are several apps to help make sure you don’t miss out on any deals. The Coupons App will let you find coupon savings at your favorite stores and restaurants, as well as the cheapest gas at gas stations in your area. You can search for items by a simple voice command and save special finds for later. Best of all, the Coupons App bar code scanner lets you compare item prices while shopping to make sure the coupon deals are as good as they look.
Available on: iPhone, iPad
Last, but not least, if tracking spending is your objective, check out our blog post about leading finance apps Mint, Toshl and the Birdy.