Black Friday starts early with helpful apps

WASHINGTON – This year, you can start reading that list and checking it twice a bit early with the help of several smartphone apps.

Retailers are already offering Christmas shopping deals, says coupon site RetailMeNot Senior Editor Trae Bodge.

“It doesn’t mean that Black Friday is dead, but a lot of merchants are opening on Thanksgiving as well and there will be great deals on both days,” Bodge says.

When going to brick-and-mortar stores, technology can help find the best prices. With comparison price tools like the Shopsavvy app “you can calculate very quickly, ‘OK…that’s 20 percent off,’ or ‘that’s 40 percent off’ and so you can really decide whether you’re getting the best deal right then,” says Bodge.

If you’re already in the store and want to see if it offers the best price for an electronic gift, the app BuyVia uses a barcode scanner to help find the answer. Amazon’s Price Check app has a similar function. Just snap a picture of the product in the store and compare it to what’s available on Amazon.com.

RetailMeNot’s app displays coupons that are usable in the store.

“So if you forget to check prior to leaving the house and you’re out-and-about in your local mall, you can turn the app on and get alerted to deals right there within the mall without thinking about it in advance,” Bodge says.

With the app Milo, you type in what you’re looking for and using a locator, the app tells you where to find it nearby and gives directions.

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