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Best Shopping Apps to Save Your Time, Money and Sanity

Best Shopping Apps
It's early December, the holidays are just around the corner, and you haven't even begun thinking about what gifts you're going to buy for your friends and family. Each day seems to bring a new diamond commercial and another blow-out holiday sale, but, for some reason, you can't muster up the energy to get off your couch and face the gauntlet of yuletide shopping. Before you know it, you're on a plane to Grandma's house empty handed.

It's an all-too common holiday scenario -- but, luckily, an all-too avoidable one. Getting an early start, of course, is never a bad idea. But that doesn't mean you have to fend off bloodthirsty shoppers at the mall, and put your cardiac health in jeopardy. In fact, the solution to all of your holiday shopping concerns could be right there on your smartphone. Whether you're trying to avoid the crowds, figure out what to get for your eternally ungrateful teenager, or find the absolute best deal on the planet, there's an app out there that can make your holiday experience a lot less arduous -- and maybe, just maybe, a bit enjoyable. Here are a few worth checking out:



You've found the perfect gift, and it's reasonably priced. But you're still not sure whether there's an even better deal on the other side of town. Hem, haw, hem, haw. Oh, stop it, already. Just download 'ShopSavvy,' scan a barcode with your phone's camera, and instantly receive a list of all the best prices for that same product -- whether at online or local stores. Once you're ready to pull the trigger on a purchase, you can even use the app's 'Deals' feature to take advantage of any special shipping promos, rebates and coupon codes.
Verdict: The Wikileaks of shopping apps.
Platform: Android | iPhone (Free)


If we told you that you could save tons of money simply by setting foot in a store, you'd probably laugh in our face. Then, we'd show you an app called 'shopkick,' and you'd apologize for guffawing so cruelly. Once you've downloaded this app, you can start accumulating so-called 'kickbucks' by checking in at select retailers, including Macy's, Target and Best Buy. Once you've racked up the kickbucks, you can trade them in for gift cards, movie tickets and other goodies.
Verdict: Good luck finding a reason to not download this app.
Platform: Android | iPhone (Free)

'Key Ring'

Key Ring
You're a preternaturally loyal customer, and you have all the keyring flare to prove it. But let's be honest: your collection of grocery store discount cards or gym memberships isn't exactly pretty -- or, for that matter, convenient. Enter, 'Key Ring' -- an app that collects all of those dangling cards and transfers them directly to your smartphone. All you have to do is use your camera to scan the bar code on each discount card, and the app will automatically identify and store it in your phone. The next time you're in the checkout line, just open up 'Key Ring,' scan your code, and save yourself some cash.
Verdict: Undisputed lord of the keyring.
Platform: Android | iPhone (Free)


Taking its cue from Google Goggles, this app uses image-recognition technology to deliver expanded information and price listings on any book, DVD, CD or video game you photograph with your phone. A single picture of a DVD, for example, will give you relevant links on Wikipedia, IMDB, Google and YouTube, along with a full list of other local merchants selling that particular product.
Verdict: Puts the "verify" in "trust, but verify."
Platform: Android | iPhone (Free)

'Google Shopper'

Google Shopper
Android users, your search for the ultimate shopping app ends here. 'Google Shopper' has just about everything you'd ever want from a shopping app -- bar code scanning, image recognition, and online price comparison. You can even search for a product by voice, and it'll pull up any and all pertinent information. You could get a whole bunch of different apps to perform each of these functions, or you could just download this one to rule them all.
: Who wants to spend time shopping for a shopping app?
Platform: Android (Free)


Another Swiss Army knife of a shopping app, 'Shopper' provides iPhone users with many of the same capabilities that Google Shopper offers to Android devotees. Meanwhile, its 'Shopper Connect' Web platform allows users to update their lists from any computer. 'Shopper' also provides alerts on the latest recalls issued by the FDA and USDA -- in case you were thinking of buying some salmonella-laced eggnog for your loved ones this year.
Verdict: (See 'Google Shopper.')

Platform: iPhone ($0.99)


The Dealmap

With this guide by your side, you'll always be within a few finger-taps of your next bargain. Simply unscroll your (m)app, and let the gods of geo-location find the best deals from the retailers closest to you. The app already features over 350,000 deals, but, if you happen to come across one that's not tagged, you can add it yourself. A shiny badge will await you as a reward.
Verdict: A must-have treasure map for bargain-basement booty.

Platform: Android | iPhone (Free)


We're not sure why 'Groupon' declined Google's $6 billion bid, but we can definitely see why Google would want a piece of the service's deal-delivery action. Covering over 130 U.S. cities, the app provides daily deals that users can buy directly from their phones. You can also use the app's geo-location capabilities to track down any nearby offers, and store all of your purchases directly to your phone.
Verdict: Worth more than $6 billion. Free for you.

Platform: Android | iPhone (Free)

'Living Social'

Living Social
'Living Social,' much like 'Groupon,' suggests a cool thing to do in your area each day, along with a handsome discount to help you do it. And, as you'd expect, 'Living Social' places a pretty high premium on, um, living social. If you find a deal that you like, you can share it with your friends on Twitter and Facebook. If three of said friends take advantage of your suggested holiday deal, it'll be completely free for you. Yummy.
Verdict: If your friends don't heed your advice, they're probably not your friends.
Platform: Android | iPhone (Free)

'Gilt on the Go'

Gilt on the Go
Gilt Groupe may advertise itself as 'invitation only,' but, as this app proves, that's mildly inaccurate. 'Gilt on the Go,' you see, is your ticket to Gilt Groupe membership, and your handheld portal to all of the site's delicious flash sales. With this app in your smartphone's quiver, you'll get instant notifications whenever Gilt's next sale gets underway, and be able to buy merchandise in the middle of your evening commute.
Verdict: If binge spending on Gilt is wrong, we don't want to be right.

iPhone (Free)


Going to the mall at the height of holiday shopping season is like going to Vegas for your honeymoon -- you may arrive full of cheer and enthusiasm, but you'll probably leave bloodied, maimed and psychologically scarred. But, at the mall, you can at least do battle with Fastmall by your side. Developed by MindSmack, this app provides invaluable information on the biggest shopping malls all over the world. Whether you're looking for a specific shop, trying to find the nearest bathroom, or desperately searching for your car, Fastmall will help you find it -- and, just maybe, relax.
Verdict: A much-needed holiday stress reliever.
Platform: iPhone (Free)



When it comes to executing the perfect deal on eBay, timing is everything. Buyers may spend afternoons hitting the refresh button on their desktops while sellers hurry home to check the status of their auctions. eBay app users, on the other hand, never have to do either. With eBay on their smartphones, buyers and sellers can receive instant alerts about their bids, manage their accounts, and check out the site's Daily Deals.
Verdict: Great for gifting on the go. Even greater for re-gifting on the go.
Platform: Android | iPhone

'Amazon Mobile'

Amazon Mobile
Regardless of who is on your shopping list, you'll probably stop by Amazon at one point or another (Because it has everything). And, if you're planning to get all your shopping done in one fell-Amazonian swoop, this app could make your life a whole lot easier. In a matter of seconds, you'll have the entire Amazon universe at your fingertips, replete with millions of products that you can buy instantly -- once you activate the app's Mobile 1-Click service. It's also worth checking out the experimental Amazon Remembers feature, which automatically matches photos you've taken with similar items for sale in the Amazon store.
Verdict: You'll need it at some point. Might as well get it now.
Platform: Android | iPhone



Sale Saver
You know full well that a 30-percent discount on that pair of jeans is better than a 20-percent discount, but do you ever stop and think how much cash you're actually saving? Sure, you could try to do some quick estimates in your head, and pull off some back-of-the-envelope calculations. Or, you could just download 'SaleSaver,' and let it do your 6th grade math homework for you. With this app, you'll be able to quickly tabulate a given item's final price, including any applicable discounts and sales taxes. The sliding discount tab makes it remarkably easy to get quick results, and you can just as easily add up all your purchases before heading to the checkout line.
Verdict: Because numbers are hard.

Platform: iPhone ($0.99)

'Gift List'

Gift List

You've made a list, and you've checked it twice -- or have you?? Why leave anything to chance, when you could just download the Gift List, and make sure you've got everyone covered this holiday season? Just enter the names of everyone on your list, along with what you plan to buy, and how much money you're willing to spend on each recipient. The app will automatically calculate how much you've spent, and how much more you can burn through. Once you've bought a gift, you can cross it off the list and feel good about how generous you are.
Verdict: Because organization is hard.

Platform: iPhone (Free)


Still fretting about what to get your oh-so-hip techie nephew for Hanukkah? Let Giftmeister make the decision for you. First, you'll have to feed the app some information about your giftee, including gender, age and "lifestyle," as represented by caricatured archetypes. Then, once you've established your parameters and price range, the Giftmeister will suggest some tech gifts based on the demographic info you've provided. The app will also tell you where you can buy each item, and can notify you, if you so choose, whenever the product's price drops below a certain threshold.
Verdict: Because buying for geeks is really hard.

Platform: iPhone (Free)

Tags: Amazon Mobile, AmazonMobile, android, apps, eBay, fastmall, features, gift list, GiftList, giftmeister, gifts, gilt groupe, GiltGroupe, google goggles, google shopper, GoogleGoggles, GoogleShopper, Groupon, ios, key ring, KeyRing, Living Social, LivingSocial, salesaver, shopkick, shopper, shopping, ShopSavvy, SnapTell, the dealmap, TheDealmap, top



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