Cool shopping apps to help you save cash

Whether you're braving the crowds in stores or shopping online, there are several smartphone applications available that can help you snag the best deal as you attack your holiday shopping list.

Some apps help you make the most of price matching, Bridget Carey, senior editor of CNET.com, explained on "The Early Show." Some large retail stores will match their competitor's prices, such as Sears and some Best Buy stores.

Celebrating the Holidays 2011

"So you see a movie you want, scan the barcode to see other advertised prices. I've used an app like ShopSavvy -- works for Android, Apple and Windows phones -- and showed my screen at a Best Buy, and they honored the Sears price or Walmart price," Carey explained.

Carey warns, however, that customers should check the price matching policy at the store they're in before boldly brandishing a lower price on a smartphone.

The ShopSavvy app is available for Android, Apple products and on Windows phones that are coming out soon. Carey said the app's creators are constantly trying to make their updates compatible with a variety of smartphone devices.

For those planning an electronics purchase, Carey advised Savvy.com, a website with an app that will alert you if a product hits the price you want.

"If you don't want to pay more than $400 for a computer, you can sign for an alert on Savvy.com and (have it send you) an alert when it hits that price," Carey said. "The other thing the app does, is you can take a picture of your receipt, you don't have to hunt for the product, and if the price drops within 30 days, you can get the credit back."

"If you're armed with a charged phone, and if you have a few extra moments while you're standing in that long line, use an app on your phone to see if there are any better deals elsewhere for the product you want to purchase," Carey said.

This year, Carey added, you may even need an app to open a gift from retailers like J.C. Penney.

"You can actually leave an audio message (for your) secret Santa," Carey said. "So you can download any QR scanner, just search for the letters 'QR' and it will direct you to a website where you can play a greeting. It's a QR code sticker J.C. Penney is handing out, so you have to use a scanning app, which takes you to the audio greeting the person recorded."

You can also give the gift of an app this holiday season.

"Gift cards can feel so cold sometimes, but if you're getting someone an Apple product, for example, you want to help them fill it up. On Android, you can't get gift cards, but on Apple you can do either (a gift card or an app). And instead of just giving a gift card to go with it, you can give a particular app as a gift. Now this only works for Apple's App Store, but when you're at an app, instead of you buying it, you click buy as gift. Then you can email (the sender) a link and a message, or print out a certificate to put it in a card," Carey said.

"If you really want to get someone something for (an Android user), Amazon has an Android (app) out there, so you can get an Amazon gift card (and) you can put that toward apps for your Android device," Carey said. "Amazon is good at this with their apps. One new Amazon app called Flow can even identify a book or DVD just from taking an image of the cover. More people are shopping with apps inside stores to make sure they get good deals and do their research before making a purchase."

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