Today's smartphones not only help us stay connected, productive, and entertained on the go, they can also save us money. From comparing in-store prices to revealing the best deals, here are the free mobile apps you should have in your (iPhone or Android) arsenal before making your next big or small purchase.
Available for iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone, ShopSavvy is a barcode scanner that finds the best prices for an item locally or online. In addition to the price comparisons, ShopSavvy now allows you to buy a product with one tap from online stores such as Walmart, Target, and Best Buy. So if you find something in-store, you can scan the barcode with ShopSavvy and compare prices to other local stores or, if the online shop has a lower price, buy it straight from your phone. The app also can keep a wish list of products you want to buy and show you user reviews of each item.
Wondering if that camera deal is really a good one or not? Consult Decide to know for sure. If electronics are what you're after, Decide's app for iPhone is very handy, telling you instantly whether buying now or waiting is the smartest move. Get instant price predictions and a graph of historical prices to inform your purchase. Available for iPhone now or visit Decide.com in your mobile browser.
Bargain-finding website dealnews has apps for iPhone and Android, so you can browse the latest deals on your phone and also get price alerts when an item you're eyeing hits a low price. A special Black Friday app displays leaked and verified Black Friday apps, save items to a shopping list, search for products, and more.
Find incredible local deals including freebies such as free sandwiches or drinks with The Coupons App, available for Android and iPhone. The app offers a coupon widget, gas price comparison, and the ability to save your coupon. To redeem coupons from the app, just show your phone to the cashier.
Want to get rewarded just for walking into a store? Yes, shopkick will do that for you. Unlock deals and points ("kicks") by visiting and opening the app at stores like Target, Best Buy, Macy's, Sports Authority--even some malls. You can also earn kicks by scanning featured products with your phone. Rewards include gift cards, movie tickets, and other prizes. If you're going to be shopping anyway, might as well earn something for it. Available for iPhone and Android.
Amazon's mobile app is not only ubiquitous (available for iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone), it's incredible convenient. Built into the app is price checks via barcode scanning, product details and reviews, and one-tap purchasing. If you are an avid Amazon shopper, this is a must-have app.
Want to navigate the mall more quickly (to find the nearest restroom, perhaps, where you parked, or some refreshments)? FastMall is like an interactive map of the mall on your phone, complete with store deals, turn-by-turn directions to stores and restaurants in the mall, and a quick way to find the nearest bathroom (just shake your phone). Grab in in the iTunes App Store or Android Market.
If you're looking for to save on groceries and drugstore items specifically, a coupon app like SavingStar makes it easy. Link the app to your store loyalty cards, and get credited for buying products after you select the corresponding coupons. Tap to select the eCoupons you want, shop with your loyalty card, and get the cash savings once you've accumulated $5. Available for Android and iPhone as well as online.
Like the premise of daily deal sites but not the chaos of all the emails? Yipit is a one-stop shop for 800+ daily deals sites, so you can take advantage of great bargains without the hassle. Unfortunately, Yipit at this time only offers an iPhone app for searching and browsing all local deals available.