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Five apps to help with your holiday shopping

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal | Dec. 12, 2014
Take these apps with you to the mall to save big.

Browse weekly ads with Shopular
I don't know about you, but weekly ads from stores like Target, CVS, and Best Buy rarely make it into my apartment--there's a trashcan next to my mailbox for a reason. But weekly ads can be pretty useful, especially around the holidays, alerting you to sales you never would have known existed. If only there was a way to peruse relevant weekly ads without having to succumb to junk mail crossing my threshold.

Oh wait, there is: Shopular (free), an app that aggregates weekly ad circulars (along with individual deals and coupons). 

Shopular offers coupons and one-off deals, but it's not really a coupon app--instead, it's an app that shows you all of your local weekly ads right on your iPhone. If you shop at stores like Target, GameStop, Petco, Walmart, JCPenney, Walgreens, Kohl's, Jo-Ann Fabrics, Staples, Rite Aid, Big Lots, RadioShack, or Sports Authority, you'll definitely want to check this app out. The app lets you swipe through digital versions of the circulars, save individual pages, and share deals with friends. It's convenient because you don't have to worry about losing a physical ad (or forgetting it at home) while you're shopping. 

Shopular also highlights individual deals on its "All Deals" screen. This way, you don't really have to read through the circular to find deals that are relevant to you--for example, my Shopular tells me that Target is having a buy-one-get-one-50-percent-off deal on toys. While I would've found this if I'd read through Target's full circular, it's nice to be able to see it at a quick glance. The app does let you pick favorite stores--you'll still see some circulars from non-favorites, but your favorites list dictates what types of one-off offers you'll see.

Clip coupons with RetailMeNot 
All smart online shoppers know about RetailMeNot, the coupon site that aggregates reader-submitted promo codes for online retailers so you (almost) never have to pay full price when you're shopping online. Well, RetailMeNot (free) also has an app, which aggregates online and offline coupons, so you can save money in brick-and-mortar stores even if you're not handy with a pair of scissors.

RetailMeNot's app is a nice coupon alternative for real-life shoppers, because it lets you "clip" coupons and scan them right on your phone. The app's coupons are labeled "in-store" and "online," so you know which ones you can use while you're out shopping, and which ones you'll have to save for later. Unlike other coupon apps, RetailMeNot organizes its coupons and deals in multiple ways--by popularity, by location, or by your preferences--so you can quickly find what you're looking for. 

Tap on any coupon in the app to see more details, such as rules and restrictions and terms and conditions. From the details screen, you'll be able to "clip" the coupon (if it's an in-store coupon) and show it to the cashier, who will then scan it from your phone. You can also "star" the coupon (add it to your favorites list for later), or share it with a friend via text, email, Facebook, or Twitter. Tap "Find Nearby Locations" to find nearby stores that accept the coupon, or click "See More ____ Offers" to see more coupons from that retailer. In true RetailMeNot fashion, you can also report the coupon as being no longer valid or unusable (some stores don't accept coupons that haven't been printed out).


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