How will you be conducting your holiday shopping? I'll be using my smartphoneAnna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
Ah yes, the holidays. It's my favorite time of the year. With Halloween having been and gone just a week ago, it is officially the mark of the holiday season - at least in my house. Radio stations have started playing holiday music, and holiday decorations even showed up in some stores before Halloween had even come and gone. But the passing of Halloween is where the real fun begins, and by "real fun", I mean sales.
You're probably wondering when I'm going to get to the good part of the article and start talking about smartphones instead of shopping, holidays and sales. If you were, I hate to break it to you, but it's not going to get much deeper than that; this article is all about the holidays, shopping and sales on your smartphone. While I might not be able to cut out the best deals for you and show you where to find that new Xbox you wanted for the low low price of $3, I can tell you about several apps that you can use in order to make holiday shopping and access to all of those great deals that come along with it that much easier, right from your smartphone or tablet. And for those of you who hate shopping, I apologize, and as consolation for reading this far I give you this badly edited screenshot of the most aggravating message from Super Mario Bros. as a consolation prize:
So, back to holiday shopping. If you're still here at this point, you've probably done your fair share of standing in lines, being an irritated customer, and dealing with hordes of other irritated customers just to get your holiday shopping done. Nobody likes doing it, and nobody likes the stress that comes with it. But if you're going to end up doing it, you might as well make it as easy as possible by using some of these handy holiday shopping apps to make all of the crazy traffic and people worth dealing with. Well, maybe not worth it, but it will hopefully make it a little less stressful and result in fewer gray hairs by the time the holidays are over.
This first application can actually get you started off on the right foot by earning you money back when you go out shopping. Shopkick gives you points just for entering certain stores, and the more points you earn the better rewards you can choose from once your points start racking up. If you're the type of person that visits a lot of stores while holiday shopping, you can probably earn back some of the money you spend with Shopkick, even if you don't plan on shopping at the stores you can earn "Kicks", or points from. Particularly, malls are a great place for Shopkickers because all you have to do is step inside a store and boom, points earned. If you visit enough stores, you might even earn enough to score yourself a free coffee while you're out. If you're using an iOS and Android device, seriously consider checking out Shopkick before going out and making your rounds.
RetailMeNot is a website that I've been visiting for years now for online shopping, but it's just as good for in-store shopping as well now that there's an app for it. Any time you get to an online checkout, it always asks if you have a promo code or coupon code that you want to use. Well, being the cheapskate that I am, I used to do a quick web search for coupons available. Generally, the first search would always turn something up at RetailMeNot.com, whether it was a percent off coupon or some sort of promo going on at the time. RetailMeNot has always been up-to-date with just about every brand's promos and coupon codes every time I check, and is definitely a top recommendation for use with holiday shopping whether you plan to shop online or in-store.
Black Friday App
There are tons of websites out there that compile the best Black Friday deals, but websites aren't always that easy (or reliable) to load on-the-go. Fortunately, the people that run the site DealNews also brings you an app that shows you all of the best Black Friday deals in a convenient application for iOS or Android called Black Friday App. Even if you're not heading out on Black Friday or the weekend of, the application stays up-to-date the other 364 days of the year with other great deals as well. It's still a handy app to have on hand if you're on the prowl for a deal.
Not sure you're getting the best deal on a product? RedLaser will let you know. By using your smartphone's camera as a scanner, you can scan a product code and RedLaser will look up both online and local prices so you know where you can get the best deal around. It can also be convenient for stores that do price-matching.
Every shopper knows that you're likely going to come across something that you think is a good buy one moment, just to find out later it was the wrong thing, or perhaps you're just not sure whether it's something the receiver will want. Either way, you might have a return on your hands, and without keeping track of receipts or when your return date is about to expire you might end up wasting a lot of money. ReturnGuru is a great app that can help with returns and exchanges, as well as receipt organization, and alert you when deadlines for returns are coming up.
As smartphone and online shopping start to take over during the holiday season, there are sure to be plenty of apps that come out this holiday season that will help you with your holiday shopping. For me, I try to keep it simple with applications that will help me save money and make money, and ultimately in the end just be as cheap as possible because that's just the type of person I am. If you're a holiday shopper, hopefully you'll have found this post somewhat useful in your plight to find some great holiday deals yourself, all while putting that awesome technology you carry around in your pocket to good use.