Cassandra Hubbart, AOL Whether you plan to line up at midnight outside your favorite big-box store or prefer to score online deals in your PJs, the mass of deals and sales on Black Friday can overwhelm even the savviest of shoppers.
Fortunately, your smartphone is all you need to make sure you get the very best prices on everything on your holiday shopping list. Download these essential apps while the turkey is in the oven and prepare to save. Best of all, none of them will cost you a cent.
Find the Deals
TGI Black Friday (free; iOs, Android): Backed by popular deals website DealCatcher.com, this app claims more than 10,000 Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals across 90 major retailers. You can get sneak peeks of “leaked” ads, compare prices, make and share gift lists, and shop sales from your phone.
Other similar free apps to consider include Fat Wallet’s Black Friday (iOS, Android), BFads (iOS only), Brad’s Black Friday (iOS only), and BlackFriday.com’s app (iOS, Android).
Get the Best Price
RetailMeNot (free; iOS, Android): RetailMeNot has saved me more money than any other website or app. Simply search any online retailer before you buy, and more often than not, this site will cough up a coupon for anything from free shipping to 25 percent off. Now it’s gone full force into the mobile coupon world. On Black Friday, you can find deals ahead of time and save them to the app, or get notifications when you’re near a shop with a special offer.
Amazon Price Check (free; iOS, Android): Make sure those sale prices really are the lowest around with Price Check from Amazon.com (AMZN). Just scan the barcode, snap a photo of it, or search for the product and the app will display Amazon’s price. You can use it to instantly score a lower price at stores with price-matching policies. Or simply order the item right away from the app.
ShopSavvy and RedLaser (both on iOS, Android, and Windows phone) are two more excellent, free apps for comparing prices.
Earn Points for Browsing
shopkick (free; iOS, Android) : More of a Black Friday browser than buyer? Get points just for window-shopping with shopkick. Simply visit any of its partner stores, which include Target (TGT), Old Navy, Best Buy (BBY), Macy’s (M), and Crate & Barrel — and rack up rewards. Get more points (or “kicks”) for scanning items, purchasing with a linked credit or debit card, and referrals to a friend. Redeem your kicks at partner stores using the app.
Giftster (free; iOS, Android): Don’t know what to shop for on the big day? Create a Giftster group and invite family and friends to join with this app. See their wish lists and create your own. The fun interface makes it easy to specify colors and sizes, as well as rank items. The best feature lets the gift-buyer mark an item on someone’s list as reserved or purchased to avoid duplicates — without that person knowing.
List Ease (free; iOS, Android): Once you’ve got your list ready, split the schlepping with a friend or family member with this simple list-sharing app that syncs in real time. Make a master list of items you need, then divide and conquer, confident you won’t end up with doubles of anything. You can organize your lists by store, person, or type of item, and get push notifications when your shopping buddy crosses anything off. The app has a life past Back Friday as well — it’s particularly handy for keeping a running list of groceries.
Slice (free; iOS, Android): If you do a lot of online shopping on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, you’ll want this app. Slice scans your inbox for receipts, tracks shipments, and even monitors recalls and watches for price drops on the items you’ve purchased in case you can request a price adjustment — all automatically. Talk about smart shopping!
Lemon Wallet (free: iOS, Android): Lighten your load while shopping and carry around a digital version of your credit cards, loyalty cards, insurance cards, driver’s license, and more with this free app. Lemon Wallet ensures you’ll never be without a discount card, and claims to be more secure than carrying cards in a physical wallet. Black Friday shoppers will appreciate the ability to photograph and track paper receipts in case they are needed for returns, and Cyber Monday deal-hunters will appreciate the auto-insert feature for credit card information.
Happy bargain hunting!
Motley Fool contributing writer Robyn Gearey owns shares of Amazon.com. The Motley Fool recommends Amazon.com. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com. Try any of our newsletter services free for 30 days.