A confession: I hate shopping. Oh, sure, I enjoy getting stuff for myself (who doesn’t?). And I love seeing my kids’ faces when they unwrap something I’ve bought them. But the packed malls, parking-lot duels, and other end-of-year holiday headaches?
So I attack my holiday shopping list with the surgical precision of an elite Seal team. My mission: get in and out, spending as little time (and ideally money) as possible. Apps play a big role in helping me pull this off. So if you survived the Black Friday stampede and still have more left on your shopping list, here are some great options for saving money and time. Which apps have you found handy?
RedLaser is my go-to app for making sure I’m not overspending on Nike running shoes or the latest Ninjago Lego set. At the store I fire up the app, wave my phone over the bar code (I’ve long since become immune to the weird looks), and watch as RedLaser compares the price tag to what other online or local stores are charging for the same item. Don’t shop without it. Download now
Not sure what to get dad for Christmas? The Macy’s app, which just arrived in the Store last week, helps remove some of the guesswork and steers you to deals. The app features a gift guide, special deals, product details, and tools for managing your store account. Here’s another reason to grab it: Through Dec. 3, you’ll get a 25% off coupon that’s exclusive to the Windows Phone version of the app. Download now
Amazon Mobile makes it easy to search, compare prices, read reviews, share gift ideas with friends, access Gold Box Deals, and buy stuff from Amazon stores in the U.S., United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, and China. The app also shows wish lists, shipping options, order history, and more. Download now. Savvy deal hunters might also want the a-z deal tracker app, which tracks prices on Amazon and can send you an alert when something you want gets cheaper.
The eBay app for Windows Phone is another must-have for serious shoppers, since you never know when you’ll need to swoop in with a last minute-bid to nab the item you’re after. The app makes it easy to search, bid, and watch auctions from your phone. It’s also a great choice for post-holiday purges, since sellers can also use it to manage sales. Download now
Newegg is a gadget-lovers paradise—and their official app is a great way to find and buy new toys for yourself and others. Download now
Store racks are a sea of yellow discount tags this time of year, making a simple shopping run more like math class. Discount Calculator is a basic but handy app that helps you quickly figure how much you’ll save and what you’ll pay at the register. Download now
If your purse has grown fat with plastic cards—discount, loyalty, payment, ID, insurance—you need Lemon Wallet. Using your phone’s camera, the app can store digital copies of your cards and receipts so you can access them anywhere. Since they’re also stored in the cloud, these copies serve as a backup in case your purse is ever lost or stolen. The basic app is free. But for a monthly fee Lemon Wallet also offers data export, card monitoring, and other extras. Download now. Another great option for managing your plastic is CardStar.
There are a slew of shopping list apps in the Windows Phone Store—including good holiday options like Gifts. But don’t forget that you also have one of the best of all built right into your Windows Phone: OneNote Mobile. Besides typed shopping lists, OneNote can also store pictures and dictated audio notes—which puts it a step ahead of many other note-taking apps.
Good deals are everywhere these days—the hard part is keeping track of them all. Luckily, it’s a task tailor made for apps. You’ll find lots of deal aggregators in the Store, but my favorite of the bunch is Smart Deals, which pulls from most of the major sites and lets you filter results by keyword or category. Download now. Of course, Groupon groupies will likely also want the official app. Another good deal aggregator to try is Palongi.
The Home Depot
Now this is what I’m talking about. A Dewalt cordless hammer drill under the tree? Yes, please. Download now
Updated November 7, 2014 8:16 pm