3 must-have apps for Black Friday shopping

No more waiting — Black Friday is only a day away.

App analytics company App Annie says Black Friday 2017 is set to be the biggest mobile shopping day ever. Yes, we’re talking buying gifts straight from our phones and tablets.

While most of us have historically done our online shopping on computers, Adobe Digital Insights says this year will be different. It predicts, for the first time, more than half of online visits to retail sites will come from mobile devices.

But never fear, there are many apps out there to take away much of the stress. Plus, planning ahead and shopping on your phone may just save you from being part of the stampede of people breaking down store doors at 4 a.m.

But even mobile shopping can be time-consuming. So instead of going to a million individual websites to make sure you’re getting the best price on that coveted perfect gift, let these apps help you out.

Flipp

The old days are gone when you would spread out every weekly circular on the kitchen table and flip through them for hours to find the awesome deals. Now the flip-through happens right on your phone with the app Flipp (free — iOS and Android).

Open the app and either let it use your location or put in a ZIP code. It collects every local flyer — it has thousands — and you can mark your favorite stores and pick which types of things you’d like to find.

Swipe through the ads, and when you tap on something you’d like to buy, it digitally circles it in ink and ads it to your shopping list. You can choose to be notified when your favorite stores have new promotions or when your chosen deals are about to expire.

Flipp is also a great place to keep all your loyalty cards by scanning their bar codes or entering the loyalty number. Not every card is allowed (like my library card or my gym membership card), but most major retailers are on there and the app gives you the option of requesting they add any card not listed.

The app also has coupons to scroll through or search. When you find one you want to use, add it to the loyalty card of the store where you’ll buy the item. The app is also loaded with rebates. Mark one, and when you buy the item, just upload the receipt, and the app will arrange for you to get your cash back.

ShopSavvy

Price comparison apps are a must during the holiday shopping season and ShopSavvy is a great one (free — iOS and Android. Use your camera to scan barcodes to see prices at nearby brick-and-mortar stores and online stores (they take shipping costs into account too).

You can also search sales going on by store or item and click right through to buy them. You can also tell the app to notify you when an item has a price drop, so you’ll know the perfect time to buy.

Paribus

Finally, an app I wrote about a year ago, but now there’s a big reason to download Paribus if you haven’t already. This app works as your personal assistant to make sure you get any money owed you because of price drops or sneaky moves by online retailers.

As The Atlantic points out, the price of almost any item can have big-time price swings depending on everything from where the shopper lives to what time of day they’re shopping.

Paribus makes sure you are paying the lowest price, no matter what. Link the email you use when online shopping and an Amazon account. The app will monitor your email to see when items are shipped to you, then it goes hunting.

If it finds the item at a lower price anywhere, it will cut through all the red tape for you, put the requests in, and get your money from the retailer. Up until a couple of months ago, it would take a 25 percent cut of recovered funds as a fee, but no more.

Capital One acquired Paribus a few months ago and has done away with the fees, so now users keep every cent. The app uses bank-level encryption to keep all your sensitive financial information safe. This is an iOS app for now, but Android users can always use the website.

Happy saving, and happy shopping.