The holidays are a wonderful time but can easily become stressful when you think about all the gifts you need to buy, food to cook, and places to be. Gifts, in particular, can put a serious dent in your bank account, no matter how early in the year you start buying.
We've rounded up some of the best apps to make elbowing your way through a crowded mall as easy as possible.
Why leave the house at all if you can shop online?
Wish (iOS, Android) lets you shop for almost anything you can think of with discounts of 60 to 90 percent. On top of those discounts, when you buy something on WIsh, you earn points to redeem for coupons later.
If that's not enough discounts for you, spin the roulette-style wheel near the search bar to knock your price down further with Blitz Buy.
Other Wish customers leave reviews, photos, and videos so you can see the quality of the product you've ordered. The app has a package tracker and quick customer service responses. Items arrive about a week after you order (sometimes sooner) and returns are free.
Buying people clothing can be a hit or a miss. Sizes can be wrong and styles could already be out of date. On top of that, clothing is expensive, especially if you're shopping for designer brands.
ThredUp (iOS, Android) calls itself "the world's largest online fashion resale shop." You can shop for items from J.Crew, Anthropologie, Kate Spade, Micheal Kors, and others for a fraction of what they cost in stores.
You can filter for specific sizes like petite, plus, maternity, kids, and teens.
It works like a digital consignment store: you can buy new or gently used clothes and sell items of your own. It's more convenient than traveling from store to store looking for a fashionable find, and thredUp has a two-week return policy.
Orders over $79 get free shipping and 30 day free returns.
3. Slice Package Tracker
Now that you've ordered all your goodies, the waiting begins. Hoping everything arrives at your house on time might be more stressful than the actual shopping.
Sometimes individual apps and stores offer package-tracking capabilities, but it's less convenient if you've got orders coming from 10 different stores. And you have to enter those insanely long tracking numbers! Slice lets you monitor all your purchases in one place.
Slice supports USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHL, OnTrac, Lasership, and Prestige shipping companies. The app notifies you if a product is recalled or its price drops after you've paid for it so you can get an adjustment.
The app also monitors your shopping history, categorizes products you've purchased, and saves receipts.
Gone are the days of cutting coupons out of magazines and sales circulars by hand at the kitchen table. If you're not shopping at home this holiday season, make sure you've got the SnipSnap coupon app (iOS, Android) on your smartphone.
SnipSnap can mobilize almost any coupon so you can simply show the cashier the coupon's barcode, promo code, or photograph at check-out. If you don't have any coupons, you can find some in the app's Discover tab.
You'll never forget to use a coupon again either. SnipSnap will send a push notification when you get to the store if you have any applicable coupons. If the coupons have expired, the app lets you know that too.
5. Santa's Bag
I feel like St. Nicholas would use this app. Santa's Bag might be one of the most comprehensive holiday shopping apps available for download.
Underneath the running Countdown to Christmas clock, you can keep a detailed overview of your holiday budget. Santa's Bag tracks how much you've spent on gifts (and how many you've bought), the number of gifts you have left to buy (and the approximate cost), and if you're coming out over or under budget.
You can search in the Merchants tab as you start making your list and save images in the app.
Santa's Bag creates a list similar to Santa's own of the people you're shopping for. Recipients can either be listed as "In Progress" or "Complete." The list shows how many gifts you've bought, what your budget was, and whether you overspent for a person.
Tapping one of your recipient's names shows you a more detailed view: what you've bought, what's been ordered, and what's been wrapped or not.
The only downside to this app might be that it's only available on iOS.
6. Find My Parked Car
One of the worst feelings during the holiday shopping season is when you're weighed down with bags, it's freezing outside, and you can't find your vehicle in the mall's packed parking lot.
You could press your panic button and follow the sound, or you can download the Find My Parked Car app.
The app saves your vehicle's location with Bluetooth after you press the "Park" button. When you need to find your way back, open the app to see a location map.
Find My Parked Car can set an alert so you don't run out a meter, take a picture of your parking spot, and write a note about which garage level or street you're on.
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