Seven apps to ease holiday

The holiday season is here and shopping can be tough when money is tight. You want to get the perfect gift for everyone on your list, but the price tags add up quickly and sometimes going to the store is inconvenient. Fortunately, there are several apps on the market that can ease some of the burden. Yes! Much better!

Slice:

No, this is not another form of Fruit Ninja. This handy app arranges confirmation emails from online purchases for easy review, and tracks your purchases. Slice uses shipping order numbers to individually track purchases and notify you when your package arrives. Slice CEO Scott Brady assures that this app informs users in real time of the current location of their purchase. With recent updates, Slice now alerts you when the price of your purchase has gone down, which may lead to a refund for the difference.

Lemon Wallet:

This is a great app if you store receipts in your wallet to track purchases and how much money you’re spending. The app allows you to take a picture of your receipt with your phone’s camera. It scans the picture and stores it as a purchase record. However, it is not limited to just receipts. Lemon Wallet will do the same with your credit cards, storing them in the Apple iCloud for easy access to the numbers or in case your wallet is stolen. The basic app is free, but for $4.99 a month, a “Lost Wallet” button connects you with customer service agents to assist in canceling and replacing your credit card. For $9.99, the app will categorize receipts with line-item details.

SnapTell:

Acquired by Amazon in 2009, SnapTell allows you to take a picture of a video game, book, DVD or CD that you are interested in buying. The app then uses image recognition to search for prices online and in stores close to you. SnapTell will also show you ratings and provide links to sites such as Google, IMDB, Amazon and Rotten Tomatoes, as well as others. It allows you to read about the item you want to purchase before you decide to buy it.

RedLaser:

Updated on Nov. 27, this app is no longer limited to scanning barcodes. It has become what CNN calls a “shopping research tool”. The app not only scans barcodes, but also allows you to find prices from local area stores. As an added bonus, certain stores, such as Best Buy and Toys R Us, allow you to buy the items from the app on your phone and pick them up in the store. This app is free for iPhone, Android and Windows phone users.

Target:

If you do not already have the app for Target, now is the perfect time to get it. Target is one of the few retailers offering an interactive map feature on their app to help you navigate the department layout of your local store. There is also a shortcut feature for the top 20 toys, allowing you to simply scan the QR code and make your purchase from your phone. This app is free from the iTunes store.

Wal-Mart:

Like Target, Wal-Mart’s app also has an interactive map feature that allows you to avoid the crowds. The app was upgraded on Monday (which Monday?) to include not only the interactive map, but also more additional, user-friendly features. You can view the layout of the store, find a specific item, and find the price all on your phone. This app is also free from the iTunes store.
Now that you are armed with your arsenal of apps and you are set to shop, it is time to get started. Ready, set, go! And may the prices be ever in your favor.

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