STATEPOINT — During the holiday shopping season, which kicks off with Black Friday, the stores can be even more stress-inducing than usual — but only if you don’t plan.
Luckily, being prepared is easier than ever. Over three-fifths of U.S. adults have smartphones, according to a study by Pew Internet & American Life Project, changing the way people communicate, do their jobs and even shop. To better navigate this busy shopping season and save time and money in the process, use your smartphone as your personal shopping assistant.
If you aren’t yet up to speed with how mobile technology can help with shopping, here are some ideas for how to use your smartphone to save money and time this holiday season:
• Plan ahead: If you have a preferred shopping mall or shopping district, view its website on your phone to consult its directory, get a map of the mall, find out about store hours and learn about special events and deals.
• Simplify with technology: It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the bombardment of ads touting coupons, Black Friday sales and holiday store hours. By simplifying, you can sort through the heavy stream of information coming at you via television, radio as well as print and online media. Use your smartphone – it’s called smart for a reason – to help you find deals based on where you like to shop and what products you’re looking for.
For example, Shoptopia.com and the Shoptopia iPhone app filter products, retailers and promotions to deliver personalized, timely and relevant shopping information and deals based on your search criteria and location. It can even be a social experience, as users can share favorites with friends.
Shoptopia is available as a free download in the iTunes app store and can be accessed at Shoptopia.com/news
• Make a list: Santa makes a list for good reason and so should you. Before hitting the stores, create a shopping list on your phone. You can use a shared document to store everyone in the family’s wish list in one place. This will help you avoid potentially large impulse purchases stimulated by sales and help you stay focused on what you really need. Use personal finance apps to help you stay on budget as you shop.
Don’t ruin the “the most wonderful time of the year” with shopping stress. Take advantage of new tools that can make your time in the store more productive and cost-effective – from identifying new trends to finding the best deals.