Try as we might, many of us find it difficult to track our spending during the holiday season. Whether due to poor budgeting or a failure to seek out coupons and deals, it’s easy to overspend and miss out on major savings when buying gifts for loved ones.
While some people might be budgeting experts, these smart apps thankfully make it possible for the rest of us to track our spending this holiday season and into 2015!
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1. Amazon Price Check
While Amazon might already be at the top of your list when it comes to online and discount shopping, the Amazon Price Check app grants the user additional tools when shopping on the go.
One of the best ways to save money during, or outside of, the holiday season is by comparison shopping (that is, comparing prices on similar items from multiple retailers). The primary advantage to mobile shopping with the Amazon app is that you can scan bar codes of the items you see in any store to check whether an Amazon retailer has it for a better price or in additional colors and sizes.
Not only can you purchase safely and securely on Amazon, but you can ship the gifts you buy directly to the person you are shopping for (which makes gift-giving easy for out-of-town relatives).
2. EBay Now
You can beat the cold this holiday season with eBay Now, an app that allows you to shop for items from your local sellers in the comfort of your own home. This way, you can purchase with the security of eBay and cut down on shipping time.
EBay Now is a great shopping app for last-minute buyers, with delivery costing just $5.
Using promotions, discount codes and coupons can lead to the most savings on holiday purchases. If you are a coupon clipper who doesn’t want to be burdened by your circular on the way to the store, then SnipSnap is the app for you.
SnipSnap allows you to take a picture of the coupons you want to use, so that they can be electronically scanned at your store of choice. You can also search SnipSnap’s collection of more than 1.1 million coupons for discount codes that can be used on your favorite stores, brands and products.
SaleSorter is ideal for shoppers who want to browse for deals on their way to the store. This app maps out the location and hours of the retailers in your area offering the best sales on their merchandise, allowing you to shop stores by their latest promotions. SaleSorter has a mix of discounts from department stores, boutiques, and brand-name retailers, as well as your nearby malls or shopping centers.
If you know the item you want to buy as a holiday gift, but want to find it at the best price, then ShopAdvisor is the app is for you. When you find the perfect gift, you simply scan the bar code to add the item to your “watch list.” The app will then track prices of your desired item at your nearby retailers. You can even designate a dollar amount you would like the item to fall below before you are notified of a sale.
This shopping method can prevent impulse purchases and overspending. ShopAdvisor is free and compatible with iOS, Android and Windows devices.
6. Your Bank or Credit Union’s App
While it can seem pretty obvious, many people actually overlook using the apps offered by their banks or credit unions to track their purchases. Sure, we check in on our balancs every now and then, but banking apps today offer plenty of new features that help keep track of spending.
In fact, according to CNN Money, using the app offered by your bank or credit union can be one of the best ways to manage your money. While each bank’s app is different, many allow you to create a budget and track your spending by categories.
Because holiday shopping can quickly add up — and is often impulsive — making use of your bank’s budgeting tools allows you to keep a close eye on your remaining funds. As an added benefit, many of these apps will allow you to locate nearby ATMs if you need cash to make a purchase.
If you are looking for a budgeting app that has a bit more detail than your bank’s, or if your bank does not offer an online budgeting tool, Mint is an excellent option. Suitable for use year-round, Mint allows you to create your monthly budget and break your spending down into categories.
The app pulls data from your financial institution (including credit card and loan information), so you can access both line-by-line spending and comprehensive visual tools to see where you spend the most money. Mint is available for iOS, Android and Windows devices. As an added benefit, Mint can help you create (and stick to) financial goals, which can be useful in maintaining New Year’s resolutions.
It’s important to stick to your holiday shopping list and make sure that you stay within your holiday budget. By using a few of these apps, you can start 2015 with a little more cash in your wallet and some smarter shopping habits.
This article was written by Ashlyn Cooper. Using these shopping apps has saved her so much time this holiday season. She also uses bestcredit.net for her holiday credit needs and never has to leave the house.
Photo credit: m01229