The holidays are right around the corner. Are you ready? For all the fun, joy, fellowship, food, and gifts the holidays bring, they can also be a major source of stress. Busy schedules, holiday shopping lists, and the need to make the most of your holiday budget can make you feel pressured during a season that should be happy.
Leveraging technology could help ease some of your holiday stress. Holiday planning apps for your smartphone or iPhone can keep you on track and saving money throughout the holiday season. Here are seven apps to help you survive the holidays with less stress this year:
- Shopkick – For both iPhones and Android phones, Shopkick delivers daily news about deals at participating stores and then awards you redeemable points for taking simple actions. On your next holiday shopping trip, you’ll get points for walking into a participating store, for using the app to scan product bar codes and for making a purchase. You can then redeem your points for gift cards that you can use yourself or give to others as a holiday gift. While Shopkick delivers year-round savings, the extensive list of participating retailers makes this one of the best holiday apps.
- SnipSnap – Coupons can be a great way to save money … if you can keep track of all those little pieces of paper and their expiration dates. With SnipSnap, you don’t have to. You can scan a printed coupon (although not manufacturer’s coupons yet), and the app turns it into a digital coupon that you can then redeem in the store. With all your coupons stored in one place, there’s less chance of losing them. Plus, the app can notify you when a coupon is about to expire so you never miss a deal because the valid date has passed.
- RedLaser – Download RedLaser and it works as a multi-functional scanner to read bar codes and QR codes. While you’re shopping, use the app to scan any item and then receive detailed information about the product, including whether you’ll find it at a better price somewhere else.
- Shop Savvy – This holiday planning app works in multiple ways. You can use it to price-match using a search function or by scanning barcodes. You can also set it to alert you when there are sales and deals on items you’re interested in. Or, you can browse through hundreds of sales from large retailers and national brands.
- RetailMeNot – One of the most popular coupon code websites for online shopping is also available as an app for your mobile device. You can access coupon codes and use them to save on in-store purchases.
- GiftPlanner – Do you have trouble remembering year-to-year what you bought for someone? Can’t remember which gift goes with which person on your lengthy shopping list? The GiftPlanner app can help you keep your gift list organized. One of the niftiest features: if you find the perfect item while shopping online, you can send the item to this holiday planning app and assign it to someone on your list so you have all the information about that product at your fingertips. There are similar apps that are holiday-specific, like Santa’s Bag, that will keep track of your holiday budget too.
- BigOven – What would the holidays be without great food? But with all that shopping, decorating and cleaning in preparation for holiday guests, who has time to plan menus? The BigOven app helps by allowing you to plan menus, create shopping lists, store recipes, get seasonal dish ideas, and even suggestions on how to use up all those leftovers!
The holiday season can be a little less stressful this year if you leverage the best holiday apps to make your shopping and planning easier.