Holiday help? It's as close as your smartphone

Chicago Tribune
Never forget a present, and find the last spot in the mall parking lot — your holiday dreams come true.

Making a list and checking it twice has become an antiquated practice. These days, Santa uses apps to help create, compile, consolidate — and to do the shopping. According to a recent Shopatron study, 86 percent of shoppers consult with their phone when shopping to compare prices, to look at additional options and get product information. Here are some apps that just may put a few elves out of their jobs.

If you love to coupon

Use this: Flipp

What it does: It's a location-based circular shopping app that consolidates the weekly sales and circulars from hundreds of retailers. Search by store, item or percentage off. Clip everything into an in-app shopping list.

Price: Free

In order to set the budget

Use this: Santa's Bag

What it does: Set your total budget and per-person budget. Plug in the amount you spend per gift, and it'll do the math for you, letting you know how many gifts you have left to buy, and how much money you have left. It also has a Christmas day ticker on the top. It's carefully designed so you don't forget anyone or anything.

Price: Free

When you're creating the list

Use this: Wunderlist

What it does: This lets you create your shopping list, share it and collaborate with friends and family so you don't double-buy or forget to purchase a desired present. You can set reminders, assign to-dos and access this list via phone, tablet and computer.

Price: $4.99 per month

Finding a parking spot during the shopping madness

Use this: Parker

What it does: It will give you a list of conveniently-located spaces and garages in more than 30 cities. And you don't have to worry about looking at your phone while driving. It provides turn-by-turn voice navigation to the closest spots. Once you find that spot, you can pay for it via the app, so you can start shopping stat.

Price: Free

Pay for all that shopping

Use this: Mint

What it does: It's a personal budgeting app which allows you to put all of your bank accounts, cards and investments in one place so you can track your spending, create and budget, receive bill reminders and get tips for reducing fees and saving money. You can pay bills via the app or you can schedule the payment so you will avoid late fees.

Price: Free

Get the best deal every time

Use this: ShopSavvy Barcode Scanner

What it does: Scan the barcode and it will display the sales, deals and coupons for the product. You can also set up alerts and it will let you know when the product goes on sale.

Price: Free

Figure out what to buy

Use this: Wanelo Shopping

What it does: Browse photos of 30 million products from more than 550,000 stores on your phone and add items to your personal collections. Shop directly from the site, and the app will figure out your personal style — and will be able to tailor the products to your taste. You'll be able to keep your shopping ideas in one app.

Price: Free

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