Nearly one in four Americans -- 86 million total -- hit the stores on Black Friday after Thanksgiving last year, according to the National Retail Federation. The shopping stampede doesn't have to be stressful, thanks to some handy apps that are here to help on one of the most buzzed-about shopping days of the year.
Black Friday Survival Guide
Organization and timing are essential to success on Black Friday. The Black Friday Survival Guide gives users a quick way to browse ads in real-time and create shopping lists, so they're ready to battle through the sea of shopping carts on the big day. The free app is available for iPhones, iPads and Android devices.
The Red Laser app allows shoppers to scan a barcode and instantly compare prices for that item at nearby stores and online, ensuring they get the most bang for their buck. "Cannot imagine entering any store without having this app handy!" said one user, who gave the app a five-star rating. Red Laser is free and available for iPhone, Android and Windows devices.
Never forget a coupon again with this free app that allows users to snap photos of their coupons, which are then digitally converted and ready to be redeemed in stores. The app kkeeps tabs on your coupons, so you don't have to. Whenever a user enters a store where they have a coupon saved or have coupons near their expiration date, Snip Snap will send a push alert as a reminder. Best of all, users can share coupons they've snapped with friends via Facebook, email and Twitter, passing on the savings. Snip Snap is available for the iPhone.
The familiar sting of buying something and seeing it on sale the next week can be minimized with Decide, an app with price-predicting powers for appliances and electronics, that advises consumers either to buy now or wait on each particular product.
"We use our patent-pending machine learning and text mining algorithms on billions of price points across millions of products, blog posts, and articles on the Web to enable shoppers to make the best buying decision possible," the developers wrote on Decide.com, another place where the price advice can be accessed. The app is available for the iPhone.
All of those rewards cards may add up to big savings, but they can easily take up too much space in wallets and on key fobs. Enter Cardstar, an app that allows users to lighten their wallets. Snap a picture of your card and import in a matter of minutes. When checking out in those busy Black Friday lines, simply have the cashier scan the barcode on an iPhone or Android device.