Smart shopping apps to save you money this holiday season - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Smart shopping apps to save you money this holiday season

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The expression "There's an App for that" is quickly becoming the way to save money when shopping.

Going by the wayside is clipping coupons from papers. Many stores now have their own smart phone apps that offer coupons and rebates.

Jenny Martin with Southern Savers says now the way to save in stores is by tapping your way to deals.

"When we think of coupons, we think of them the moment we're checking out of the store," Jenny says. "And we don't think of them before we get to the store. Or you're in your car and you're like: 'Oh, we're right here; let's stop in.' Well, that's the awesome part of cell phone coupons because I'm going to get it the moment I check into the store."

A lot of stores, especially office supply stores like Staples also have reward programs.

Jenny says this holiday season, those apps will alert you to their best bargains.

"Huge laptop deals. Staples usually beat the competitors which are kind of shocking, but they will have some of the best prices that are out," Jenny says.

But don't just take the "apps word" for it. Jenny says use other app sources like Amazon Price Check.

For example, for Lysol Disinfecting Wipes, you can scan your barcode and it starts searching for the item, Jenny says.

"It instantly pulls it up and tells me that this product is actually $5.88 right now on Amazon," she says. "It's $5.88 on Amazon, whereas here in the store, it's $6.99. But on Amazon you'd have to pay for shipping unless I have Amazon Prime."

Look for stores that price match like Toys "R" Us meaning if you can find the price cheaper elsewhere, the store will honor the better bargain.

Apps like ShopSavvy allow you to check to see which store has the best price.

"The fun part is here in Toys "R" Us, they're going to price match from a number of online retailers like Target, Wal-Mart and Best Buy," Jenny says. "So we can sit here and say this is actually $29.96 at Wal-Mart; I've just saved $5, but I can get it here at the register."

You can also sign up for your favorite stores by text message.

"That link is going to pull up a website and a lot of times that website has a coupon that I'm going to show my phone at the register," Jenny says. "They're going to scan it and I'm going to get the discount."

Another app to have on your phone is ShopKick. It offers instant coupons when you're in the store.

You get to earn points which you can redeem for gift cards later, but you're also going to get coupons, Jenny says.

However, sometimes you can have trouble getting the app to recognize when you are in the store. So pull up the app on your phone before you go inside the building, experts say.

Other apps that can help you save? Retail Me Not.

"They're really the online encyclopedia of coupon codes but they have all the printable ones that I could use in the store, as well," Jenny says.

Geo-tag app Foursquare can also help you save a lot, experts say.

"If I'm eating out tonight, we're at Chili's or Outback or all kinds of restaurants and we check in on Foursquare that we're eating there, we're going to get a coupon instantly for a free appetizer," Jenny says.

With Ibotta, any time convenient after the purchase, you can take a picture of your receipt and scan the UPC symbol.

"Ibotta will redeem the offer," Jenny says. "Sometimes $1, $2, it just depends on what the offer is, back into your account. When you have $5 saved up from various offers you've redeemed, you can get it out in a PayPal deposit."

And a just recently launched and must-have app is Cartwheel. It's not the traditional coupon - like a $1 off. Rather, it's percentages off.

"The fun part is this can apply to up to four products," Jenny says. "So, I can come in here and have a field day getting 20 percent off all four boots if I want to, so it's not limited to one like a lot of mobile offers are."

You can use Cartwheel on sale items and in conjunction with other coupon offers. Just show your phone at checkout for the savings.

Another example: If you want to buy flannel sheets, we found a 20 percent off offer on the Cartwheel app.

They sold for 24.99, but a quick moment to check the app and we found we could save nearly five dollars.

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