Now that Black Friday deals are leaking and store hours have been announced, it’s time to begin planning your post-Thanksgiving shopping strategy. While you’re busy arming yourself with coupons and store ads, don’t forget to load up your smartphone as well.
Apps can help with tasks as varied as budgeting, managing wish lists and monitoring the best deals. Here are NerdWallet’s recommendations for seven of the best free apps for Black Friday shopping.
Shoppers who are serious about finding sales can download ShopSavvy to get up-to-date news about the best deals going on at a range of popular stores. You can also use your phone in the store as a barcode scanner to pull up prices on a particular product from multiple retailers. Add items you’re considering to a wish list, and the app will watch for low prices for you.
Similar to ShopSavvy is Shopular, an app that provides deal news, coupons and location-based notifications, all on your handheld device. Members of the Shopular community can communicate with one another and swap savings tips.
Flipp is a smartphone app that promises to make weekly shopping simple. This one removes the clutter of traditional paper advertisements and replaces them with digital versions of circulars from retailers such as Walmart and Target. Flipp also combines coupons with these local flyers for stackable savings.
4. Price Cruncher
Figuring out which deals are actually worthwhile is tough. Enter Price Cruncher, an app that helps customers do the math to see which offers are truly the better buys. This is especially helpful for shoppers who buy in bulk, as the application can calculate price per product (for instance, whether it’s more affordable per unit to buy a larger or smaller quantity). Additional features of this app include a discount calculator and shopping list.
Download from Google Play
5. The Coupons App
This app promises to give users deals, coupons and online promo codes from over 100,000 retailers. Use the download to search for deals from your favorite stores or receive notifications when new local deals become available. The app also reminds you when saved coupons are about to expire, so you won’t miss the window of opportunity for a sale. And if you want to fill up your car before heading to the mall, it provides gas prices, too.
6. Santa’s Bag
For those who will be helping Santa with some of his shopping on Black Friday, it can be easy to purchase one too many Christmas gifts and go over budget. Santa’s Bag is a helpful Christmas gift list app that allows you to set and manage present budgets for everyone on your Christmas list. Track the days remaining until Christmas and see how much you’ve spent over or under the target budget.
Download from iTunes
7. Store-specific apps
When you decide where you’ll be shopping on Black Friday, it’s in your best interest to download that particular store’s app. J.C. Penney, Target, Walmart and many other retailers offer their own apps. These generally include features such as coupons and customer reviews of products. In past years, some retailers have even added maps to their app so shoppers know exactly where Black Friday deals will be located within the store.
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Nerdy tip: Before you download any app, always check the customer reviews section and pay close attention to the company that created it. The New York Times reported in 2016 that the holiday shopping season brought forth naughty tricks like fake retail apps. These looked like the real thing except for minor misspellings. They could be dangerous, especially if you input your financial information.