10 Apps And Programs You Should Join Before You Start Holiday Shopping – HuffPost

Even though December isn’t here yet, there’s only one thing on our minds: holiday shopping! Planning what to give your loved ones can, of course, bring a bit of stress into this joyful season. The pressure of Christmas shopping increases when you have a limited budget to spend on gifts for your loved ones. But this time doesn’t need to be stressful. Believe it or not, holiday shopping can be easy and smooth, especially with the help of apps and platforms that help you save a ton of money while shopping.

Here are 10 apps, extensions, and programs to guide you through Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the entire holiday season and make the shopping process stress-free.

1. GiftList

Before anything else, what’s the first step of holiday shopping? It’s figuring out how many presents you need to purchase and who you should buy gifts for, which can help you figure out how much money you’ll be spending. If you have everything written down and planned out, it’s easier to stay within your budget, and GiftList can help you with that! The app is designed to make Christmas shopping simple on Android and Apple phones: You can create lists for specific events, including the holiday season. Add all of your family and friends’ names and the gifts you’d like to get them, and you’ll be able to visualize your Christmas shopping list, making it easier not to forget anyone.

It’s also possible to download GiftList browser extensions for Google Chrome and Firefox and add gift ideas directly from web stores like Amazon, for instance. Within the app, you can shop from popular brands — Best Buy, ASOS and Nike, to name a few — and purchase your items directly from the app.

If your family or friend group struggles with what to gift one another, you can create a wishlist of presents you’d like to receive on GiftList, and your loved ones can do the same. You can view their lists and choose their gifts directly from their wishlists. Here’s to a holiday season of excellent gift-giving!

2. BrickSeek

Launched in 2014, BrickSeek started as a web application focused on helping Lego collectors find popular sets in-store and online. It’s now a website designed to help you find discounts and markdowns on various products, from clothing to sporting goods to electronics, at the largest retailers in the United States, such as Walmart, Target, and Lowe’s, for example.

The website offers a free “inventory checker” resource. It can save you a ton of time by confirming an item is in stock before you drive to the store to buy it or tell you what store location does have it in stock. On top of that, some items are priced differently from store to store, and this feature can help you figure out where it’s cheapest to purchase them.

And even if you have no idea what you’re getting someone for Christmas, BrickSeek has a “trending deals” page with the most popular offers. How about checking it to see if you can find a great deal for someone’s Christmas gift?

3. PayPal Honey

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Honey offers a free browser extension to help you find coupons and discounts on over 30,000 retailers online. It automatically applies coupons as you’re concluding purchases online. If coupons are available for the website or product you’re buying, Honey will apply the coupon with the biggest discount. Amazing, right? It does everything for you, from researching coupons and discounts to applying and testing them out.

And that’s not all! They also offer a free rewards system, PayPal Rewards, by which you can earn cash back on your eligible purchases. All you need to do is click on the “activate cash back” button in the browser extension. Then, click on the “apply coupons” button at checkout when the Honey box pops up. PayPal Rewards will automatically activate. Getting discounts — and cashback — has never been easier, and it’ll make Christmas shopping much cheaper and simpler. Honey’s extension works on Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge and Opera browsers.

4. Rakuten

Here's how Rakuten pops up on stores within its network of cashback affiliates.
Here’s how Rakuten pops up on stores within its network of cashback affiliates.

And speaking of getting cash back, if making money for shopping is your passion, Rakuten is the place for you. It’s a website where you can shop for items from 3,500 stores, such as popular brands like Apple, Dyson and Nike, for example, but it’s most beloved for its cashback program.

This is how it works: You create a free account, then activate Rakuten’s browser extension before making purchases online (you can also shop via the Rakuten app or Rakuten website). Rakuten receives commissions from the retailers they work with and then shares them with you as cashback. It’s as simple as that! They’ll send your cashback payout every three months, and you’ll receive between 1-40% of your purchase in cashback, depending on the store you shopped at and what deal was offered at the time of purchase (you’ll see in advance what the cashback offer for each purchase will be). Like Honey, Rakuten will also apply any possible coupon codes at checkout to ensure you’re maximizing your savings.

If you’re someone who online shops like it’s your job, Rakuten is for you, and it can be really handy during the Christmas season if you’re trying to save money.

5. Skyscanner

Willing to go all out this Christmas? Skyscanner is here for you. If you’re planning on getting a plane ticket for someone you love, booking a romantic trip, or planning a vacation with friends as a holiday present, you can compare flight prices on Skyscanner to figure out how to save the most money on your purchases.

It’s a metasearch engine available in 30 languages and allows you to research flight deals, book hotels or hostels, and rent transportation for your stay. It’s straightforward: All you have to do is visit the Skyscanner website or download the app (available on iOF and Android), then add the location you’d like to visit and where you’re coming from, and that’s it! You can see the best deals and book your tickets, accommodation, and transportation directly from the website. You’ll make someone very happy by gifting them tickets, and you’ll make yourself very happy knowing that you saved as much money as possible with the deals on Skyscanner. Win-win!

6. Keepa

Add Keepa to your browser and you'll see if the current price on any item on Amazon is a good deal, historically speaking.
Add Keepa to your browser and you’ll see if the current price on any item on Amazon is a good deal, historically speaking.

If you like knowing whether you’re paying a fair price for your products, the Amazon price tracker Keepa is here for you. With Keepa’s browser extensions for Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera and Edge, you’ll gain access to the history of every Amazon item’s price and sales rank. That way, you can know if the item was cheaper a few months ago, for example, or if it’s at an all-time high at the moment you’re looking. You can even access when it’s best to purchase that item and during which season it is cheaper.

And since Black Friday and Cyber Week sales are coming up, and everyone is already excited about Amazon’s deals, you can check if the discounts are good. How much was this item a few months ago? And how much is it now during the Black Friday sale? Is it worth it to purchase it? You can figure all of that out with Keepa.

Thanks to the browser extension, you can also look for similar Amazon items that might be cheaper. On top of that, you can import your Amazon shopping lists into your Keepa account and set email alerts for when things go on lightning deals or drop below a certain price.

7. Goodreads

It’s no secret that #BookTok is extremely popular on TikTok, with creators and users sharing their love for books and literature daily and nightly. An app that’s very loved in this community is Goodreads, of course. But how can Goodreads help you save money this Christmas season?

It’s almost guaranteed that the book-obsessed Gen Z members of your family have a Goodreads profile, and when you follow each other, you’ll be able to view the books they would like to read. An excellent way to save money is to give people things they really want so they won’t waste them. And Goodreads can help you figure out what books the people in your life would love to receive.

It’s worth downloading the app, following your family and friends’ Goodreads profiles, and checking out their TBR (to be read) lists. That way, you can choose a present they’ll most likely love. Because guess what? They picked it themselves.

8. SeatGeek

Experiences make great gifts, and that’s why SeatGeek will come in handy this Christmas season. SeatGeek is a ticket aggregator and marketplace, which means they display tickets from other websites and their own. SeatGeek lists ticket inventory from Telecharge, Ticketmaster, Eventbrite, and others.

With the SeatGeek app, you can purchase tickets to concerts, festivals, Broadway and theatre shows, comedy shows and sporting events, including the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB and MLS. The app showcases whether the tickets you’re purchasing are a good deal or not, considering the price, section and row. Even if you’ve never been to one of those events yourself and are not an expert in the art of buying tickets to big events, you can still manage to get amazing tickets with the help of SeatGeek. Your loved ones will thank you.

SeatGeek usually partners with content creators, fan accounts and celebrities for special discounts. For example, they’ve partnered with @BeyLegion, a Beyoncé fansite, to give fans a discount code for the singer’s shows. As well as the discounts, SeatGeek usually sells tickets from the secondary market, which is why you might be able to find cheaper tickets on the SeatGeek app.

9. Groupon

With almost 50 million active users, Groupon is an e-commerce site that connects customers with the best deals and coupons on activities, services and products. You can find many discounted items from various stores and service companies and shop directly there. If you’d like to give an experience to someone you love this Christmas, you can find deals on restaurants, services like massages and facials, and even hotels and other travel activities.

Even if you’re not sure what you’re gifting someone, you can get some ideas just by browsing Groupon, and the best part is that you’ll have access to the best discounts. The website even tracks your geographic area and offers you services and activities closest to you.

10. RetailMeNot

Similar to Honey is RetailMeNot, which also has a free browser extension that will look for the best coupons as you check out online. RetailMeNot’s website also offers a page of “trending deals,” where you can buy from multiple online stores, including those for food, beauty, clothing, and electronics, to get the best deals.

You can also activate the cashback option! RetailMeNot offers cashback on hundreds of stores and brands. So as you’re Christmas shopping, you can not only stay within your budget by saving up on your purchases with coupons, but you can also make money as you’re spending money. Sounds ideal, doesn’t it?

This holiday season is upon us, and Christmas shopping doesn’t need to be stressful, especially now that we have all those apps, websites and programs working in our favor. Here’s to a great holiday season and purchasing creative, thoughtful gifts at a great price for your loved ones!

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