Melissa Carter

Melissa Carter: Holiday shopping? There’s an app for that

As in a bank heist movie, you’ve strategically mapped out how to find the best deals for the holiday shopping season, rolling up your blueprints and firing up your getaway car. But before you head out the door, make sure not to ignore the finds that are right at your fingertips. Here are a few apps I use that will not only help you find some great buys, but will also make sure your pantry is well-stocked for guests.

Whether you prefer online or in-store shopping, you need to visit before heading to the checkout. It’s basically a one-stop source for coupons and deals from thousands of leading retailers. I have saved money on name-brand clothes, makeup, jewelry, and kid’s toys through this one app alone.

It can be such a hassle to organize—let alone remember—all the loyalty cards you’ve signed up for. stores them all in one place and will update you on any current sales or rebates from each of those stores. Just the fact I no longer have three times as many little plastic cards as keys on my actual key ring is reason enough to have this app.

Even if you are just browsing, you can still get rewarded by simply for walking into the store. Their points are called “kicks,” and you get them for entering a store, scanning product barcodes, and making purchases. Those kicks can be redeemed for gift cards, iTunes song downloads, movie tickets, and Facebook credits.

You have limited time to get your holiday shopping done, so why not have someone else do your grocery shopping while you take care of the rest? I am obsessed with, which has saved many a day juggling my crazy schedule and an infant. The app works with Kroger, Whole Foods, Costco, and Petco, and for a small delivery fee you can get what you need delivered straight to your door. Cooking and forget an ingredient? Instacart will save your holiday meal.

If you prefer to go to the grocery store yourself, then make sure to sign up for both and Each offers weekly rebates on a variety of items from grocery and drug stores, and collects those rebates in an account. The increase is incremental, but over the course of just a few months I have made over $30. The apps will each cut you a check for your earnings after you reach a certain amount. Hint: If hosting a party, these apps have great rebates on alcohol.

The holidays are a time for family and friends, but preparing for them can be like putting together a puzzle as you figure out how to fit your budget and time together. These apps will certainly help put those pieces in place, and add to your master plan of conquering the shopping frenzy.