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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.

RetailMeNot makes finding real-life in-store coupons as easy as typing "(enter favorite store here) promo code" into Google. 

Maximize your rewards with Wallaby
I have two words on why it's often better to opt for credit instead of cash: rewards points! Many credit cards (and some debit cards) give you points, cash back, and other rewards simply for showing up, and Wallaby (free) can help you maximize those point systems so you'll have a nice-sized reward stash waiting for you in January.

Wallaby is an app that tracks your credit cards and their rewards so you don't have to. Just tell it which cards you carry (American Express, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and JCB cards are accepted), and Wallaby will track which cards give you the most reward bang-for-your-buck at various stores and restaurants. The app's main screen features a map of nearby retail locations, with a recommended card for each place.

Wallaby is handy if you carry multiple rewards cards with rotating categories. For example, my Chase Freedom card gives me 1-percent cash back on all purchases, and 5-percent cash back on three categories, which change every quarter. Wallaby knows which categories are currently "active," and will make sure I don't accidentally use a different card when I'm shopping at a store in an active category.

I like Wallaby because it's one of very few financial apps that don't require personal info, such as a linked bank account. However, you can offer up personal info if you want more detailed and thorough tracking--link your credit card accounts to the app, and Wallaby will track how much you spend in each category. If my Chase Freedom card only gives me 5-percent cash back in gas stations up to $1500, Wallaby can warn me to switch to my Discover It card when I've reached that cap. The app also has a feature called "WalletBoost," which is a service that recommends credit cards based on your spending habits and preferences.

Save extra at Target with Cartwheel
Who can resist the lure of Target's red-and-white big-boxiness? Nobody, that's who. If you do any of your holiday shopping at Target this year, you'll definitely want to download Cartwheel (free), which will save you even more money.

Cartwheel is Target's opt-in coupon app--it offers extra discounts on various products, usually 5- to 10-percent. To get your discount, you have to use the app, so this discount can be used on top of any other sales or coupons that Target is running. 

Here's how it works: Find products on sale in the Cartwheel app, either by searching, browsing, or scanning the product. You can search for the product by name, browse for the product by category (e.g. "cleaning supplies" or "toys"), or you can simply scan the product's barcode with the app's built-in barcode reader. Once you find the product, add it to your Cartwheel account by tapping "Add." 


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