If you're shopping without using your smart phone, you're not smart shopping. There are many apps, sites and tools out there to make shopping easier and to help save money. Shaving a few dollars here or there on each gift you purchase could add up to a big savings at the end of the season.
Making a list and checking it twice?
Why not keep track of it all on your mobile device? Apps like Santa's Bag ($1.99) and Better Christmas List (99 cents) are sure to be used at the North Pole. They include fun features like a Christmas countdown, a counter of gifts needed and number of gifts purchased. You can add each recipient and gift ideas under each person as well as what stores to shop for them. It keeps track of your budget, how much you have spent and lets you know when you're over budget — Bah humbug!
Laser-like precision is possible for your shopping. The app Red Laser (Free) allows you to use a bar code scanner for most items in a store. Simply tap the app, scan the bar code and within seconds it has done your price comparison legwork. You can check out product reviews, see prices at nearby stores or online shops. This handy app will even show you top deals of the day at your favorite stores and will keep a virtual wallet of your loyalty cards so you don't have to carry them in your actual wallet or on your keychain.
Amazon.com (Free) and Shop Savvy (Free) both are mobile apps with a price check feature as well. If you find something online at a great price both sites will let you buy online directly from the app. Choose the store you'd like to buy from, set your shipping, address and payment information and payment is as easy as one click.
If you're going shopping online or in a store it's always beneficial to see if there is a coupon code out there for the store you will be visiting. You can put the store name and words "coupon code" in your search engine and see what comes up. Or visit sites or download apps dedicated to helping you get deals like RetailMeNot (Free) and Coupon Sherpa (Free). Type in the store and you could get anything from a percentage off a purchase to free shipping. What do you do with the codes once you find them? If shopping online, look for a box at checkout that says something like "coupon code" or "promotional code." Enter in the code and it should automatically apply the discount to your final total. Note that some promotions are for in store only while others may apply to online shopping only. If you're heading to the actual store you can print the coupon or the more environmental friendly route — just show your phone to the cashier.
Yes, they're funky and yes, they can enhance your shopping experience.Sites already mentioned like Red Laser and ShopSavvy can not only scan bar codes, but these funky fellas as well. If you have no idea what a QR code is, look around. They're square and look pixilated. You don't need to know how they work, but what they can do for you. Retailers like Target are adding QR codes next to items in their stores — particularly toys. Say you're shopping with your children and you can't just put the gift in the cart. QR code to the rescue. Scan the code and secret Santa will have the item shipped free. Some newspaper and magazine ads include these codes as well. Rather than remembering a website or typing it into your device a tap of the scanner will take you directly to the site.