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girl shopping with her phoneAs someone who tends to view crowds with a certain level of dread, I’d much rather spend Black Friday under the covers, gradually emerging from my food coma.

I do need to shop, though. With that conundrum in mind, I thought I’d take a look at the best holiday shopping apps you can use right from your smartphone.

Target Holiday Wish List App

The Target Wish List app is a must-have for parents!

Kids can explore the Target catalog, search for specific items or scan barcodes for toys they want on their list. They can also rank their wishes and even send the list straight to Santa himself.

Behind the scenes, parents manage the wish list for each of their children and can share it with family and friends.


When I think of big names in the online shopping game, Amazon is at the top of the list. This app is pretty self-explanatory, it’s the Amazon store, only it’s on your Android or iOS phone. This enables you to shop on the go so you don’t need to be near a computer when Amazon does their lightning deals throughout the holiday season.

The one warning I’d give you with this app is that you may not be able to gift or otherwise purchase digital goods (i.e. music, eBooks, etc.) through the app, depending on your phone’s operating system. If you have one of the newer Kindle tablets, you should be okay, but it’s something to be aware of.

Gift Card Granny

By now you should have realized I’m way too lazy to want to put up with the frustration of store crowds at 6 a.m. The second thing to know about me is that I’m notoriously cheap. I never saw a free meal I didn’t like.

Your friends and family probably like free meals, too. This is where Gift Card Granny comes in. This popular website-turned-app for iOS and Android is obviously all about the gift cards, but the real secret sauce here is the discounts.

This and other sites like it buy gift cards for less than what they’re worth, from people who aren’t planning to use them. Then they mark them up a couple dollars and resell them to you at less than the face value. You might be able to get a $25 gift card to your favorite restaurant for $20.

This isn’t just good for those looking to give gift cards themselves. It’s also a good way to save money in your shopping by buying a gift card at a discount and then using the gift card to purchase something at its face value. In effect, you’ve bought the item itself at a discount.


Shazam started as an app to figure out what song was playing. It still does that, but now advertisers have figured out a way to leverage the app’s listening capabilities to pitch their products.

When you see the Shazam icon on a commercial, you can open the app and have it identify the commercial to get more information on the product. Some advertisers even offer coupons and free stuff through the app. It’s worth having on your phone all the time, but especially this time of year.

Scanner Apps

Should you actually venture into the stores this holiday season (May the force be with you), it may help to have a scanner app like this one for QR codes and barcodes.

Stores will have displays with QR codes that give more information on products on sale and coupons. Occasionally, you can get more information about a product by scanning the barcode as well.

You may also see these QR codes in print magazines and newspapers. It’s a good way to use your phone to get deals.

Your Favorite Haunts

You should also look for apps from the stores you regularly visit. Many stores offer exclusive deals through their apps or through text messages. If you’re going to be in there all the time anyway, you should check into all the possible deals they offer across all mediums.

These stores may even offer more information on products from within the app if you’re in the store. This is a great way for them to deliver information to you.

Did I miss any good shopping apps? Leave your favorites in the comments!

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