Holiday shopping can be stressful, but Black Friday comes with a unique type of chaos. Sure, you can find gifts for everyone on your list at a discounted price, but it can be an overwhelming experience if you head out unprepared. Plan for the busiest shopping day of the year ahead of time by equipping your smartphone with these Black Friday-ready apps. Here’s how to Black Friday shop the smart way.
Make a shopping list and set a budget
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of products and deals offered — and, when faced with so many good deals, you’re more likely to buy something you don’t need. Create a shopping list before you head out, so you know exactly what to look for and how much to spend. Use a Black Friday shopping list app that doubles as a budget tracker. For example, the Santa’s Bag app lets you set a budget and create a list of gifts for each person on your shopping list. It’s a great way to manage your holiday spending (and avoid last-minute impulse buys).
Plan your route
If you’re headed to the big box stores, download their specific shopping apps to double-check store hours and view interior maps of the stores. These stores will often change their usual layouts to highlight Black Friday deals, so you can save yourself time and confusion by planning your route before you go. These apps also come equipped with price scanning, wish lists, and notifications that alert you to in-store deals. Some also include special app-user coupons and deals.
Heading to the mall instead? View the directory online or through a corresponding app like Point Inside, which has maps of hundreds of malls across the U.S. You can plan your route inside the mall and scope out the best places to shop before you arrive.
Save money with deal-watching apps
If you’re planning to shop multiple stores, keep an eye on deals with a deal-watching app. Some of the best holiday shopping apps include:
- DealNews Black Friday 2018 – The DealNews Black Friday app helps you narrow down all those holiday shopping offers and condense them into a list of relevant deals. Select the stores you’re planning to shop, and the app delivers each retailer’s specific coupons in an easy-to-use list.
- ShopSavvy – This app locates the very best deals on specific items and lets you compare prices from different stores. It’s a great choice if you’re looking to buy a new TV, or the latest tech gadget that might be available at a wide number of retailers.
- Flipp – Remember when Black Friday coupons only existed in newspapers? Flipp digitally recreates the experience of flipping through sale papers and circling the items you want. The app also compiles all the items you’re planning to buy into one list that you can use while shopping in the store.
Use your phone to check prices in store
If you’re not scoping out the sales ahead of time, you can use your phone to compare prices once you get inside the store. The Amazon app (considered one of the best apps for online shopping) also offers a feature that you can use to compare prices in any physical store. Simply scan the barcode of an item you’re thinking about buying, and the app will find it on Amazon — possibly at a lower price. ShopSavvy also offers in-store price comparisons for smart shopping.
Remember where you parked
To avoid getting lost trying to find your car in the mall parking lot, download a navigation app like Waze, or Google Maps before you leave. These apps mark the exact location of your car and can even provide GPS directions to help direct you back to your parking space when you’re done shopping. If you have an iPhone that’s connected to your car via Bluetooth or Apple CarPlay, you can set it to automatically save your parking location and use the Maps app to find the way to your car.
Stay at home
Not into crowds or shopping in stores past midnight? Many stores offer online deals on Black Friday, too. Download the store’s app (or use an app that curates deals across multiple stores, like Offers.com) and browse the best online deals Black Friday has to offer from the comfort of your couch. Many stores also offer free shipping with no-minimum purchases, so it doesn’t cost more to shop online versus in person. Keep in mind that if you’re looking for the absolute best deal you can find, some sites will lower their prices even further on Cyber Monday (the Monday following Black Friday).
The Black Friday shopping experience doesn’t need to be frustrating. Use these tech-savvy holiday shopping tips to make it easier, faster, and more fun to check everyone off your gift list.