Instead of shelling out mad money for the hot item for your loved one (and possibly spending more than you can afford), why not make sure you get the best deal you can? If you have a smartphone, you’re in luck; these three apps are must haves when comparing prices and going after the biggest bang for your buck.
RedLaser uses your iPhone camera to scan the barcode of any item you come across, and instantly searches the net to comparison shop for you. Comparisons are made on the online and local levels, so you know where you have to go when it comes time to making a purchase. Prices are automatically sorted from low to high, and the condition of the item is listed by each vendor’s name (if applicable to the item). The app also stores your scan history, allows you to share your comparisons with friends, as well as create lists of items to keep all of your potential purchases in check. Additionally, you can search for items by name if you do not have the bar code to scan. Finally, the app allows you to create QR codes to share text, images, and contact details with others; a weird feature for this app, but if you don’t need it just ignore it.
This app is perfect for people who don’t mind shopping at multiple retailers to find the best prices. However, for those who just want to see the differences between two retailers, look no further than…
If you are a student and haven’t signed up for your free six months of Amazon Prime, do it now. After that, download this app. Besides giving you all the greatness of the Daily Gold Box Deals, personalized recommendations, wishlists, and the ability to search by typing the name of the item you want, Amazon also acts as a barcode scanner. The killer feature? Take a snapshot of an item and the GoogleGoggles style analyzing will determine what the item is for you and list the results. Of course, this works best with something that has a distinctive look; a book, DVD/CD/Video Game cover works well, everything else is hit or miss. If you don’t mind shopping on a mobile device, log in to your account and enjoy one click shopping for the items you are looking for. This comes in handy when you are in the store and they are sold out of an item that, you come to find using this app, that is about $10 less and will get to you in two days with Prime shipping.
This app is great for Amazon junkies, people who like to do all their shopping with one or two retailers, or those who don’t mind waiting for their gifts to be shipped to them. When looking at an item like Deus Ex, how do you know now is the best time to buy? Enter…
Decide.com takes your scanned or text entered item and searches for its pricing history. From that and comparisons to other similar items, it will let you know if you should buy the item now (because prices are at their lowest or are unlikely to fall) or wait (because prices are going to fall). The details page for each item gives you a graph of the price over time, maximum/minimum prices overall, and an approximation of when prices will change with a confidence rating. From there, the app lets you do similar things to RedLaser; you can compare prices at different retailers, read reviews, and share your find with friends on social media sites. For items that have multiple generations (re: Apple devices), the app will also predict when the next generation might be released so you don’t have any buyers remorse.
This app is great for people who don’t mind doing a bit more research when looking for gifts, and don’t mind being told that the purchase could wait if you want to save the dough.