Free Shopping Apps for Black Friday Deals
Getting the best deals for holiday shopping can be a chore, but these apps can help
Getting the best deals on Black Friday used to be simpler. You'd just wait for the Sunday newspaper, check your local retailers' ads in the circulars, then march yourself down to the store to score that $100 TV or $5 toaster oven.
Online shopping, of course, has changed all that, with retailers now able to match—or beat—competitors' prices and doorbuster deals dozens of times per day. There are more great deals, but they're harder to find. Which has made shopping for the best deals even more challenging.
Fortunately, technology is coming to the rescue. There are now dozens of Black Friday-focused websites, and even more shopping apps that can help you find, track, and save the best deals. Some will even let you buy from within the app.
Remember, however, that most websites and apps collect data on their users, which can be used for marketing and other purposes. You can enhance your digital privacy by deleting apps that you no longer use and by going to your phone's settings to control what personal information each app can access.
One more caveat: The digital security firm Risk IQ discovered that about 4 percent of Black Friday apps—or one in 25—are fake and contain links to spam, malware, or phishing sites that target your login credentials and/or credit card information. For that reason, stick to well-known sites, like the ones listed below, and apps that can be found in Apple's App Store and The Google Play Store.
Here are some of our favorite apps and websites for Black Friday deals, whether you're shopping for electronics or anything else:
There are now a dozen or so Black Friday websites, but we tend to keep coming back to just a few that are especially useful. One of them is BFAds.net, from FatWallet. We also like the BFAds Black Friday app.
Just like the website, the app will help you keep up with breaking news and leaked ads, including pre-Black Friday sales, Black Friday specials, as well as Cyber Monday discounts.
You can also check out store hours, make shopping lists, and compare Black Friday deals with prices from earlier in the month. When you find great deals, you can share them via email, text, and social media. Right now the app is available only for iOS devices.
DealNews.com is another site we check regularly throughout the year, and especially around Black Friday. We also use its Black Friday app, which lets you tap into the company's collective hive of bargain seekers.
The app, available for both iOS and Android mobile devices, offers alerts when new Black Friday ads appear, and you can save the ads that have your favorite deals. If you're more comfortable buying stuff from your computer than from your phone, you can create a shopping list on the app, save it, then complete the order once you return home.
Like the BFAds.net app, DealNews lets you share deals by email or on social media.
Getting the best Black Friday deals can be a challenge—so why go it alone? Instead, access SlickDeals.net's community of deal hunters. SlickDeals claims to be the largest deal-sharing community on the web. Every day the app, which is available for both iOS and Android devices, aggregates the best deals submitted by members, who vote up or down on each deal and provide feedback on the price and the product. The most popular entries are promoted to the app's front page.
You can set up deal alerts on products you're interested in and save money by using the app's collection of coupons, as well.
If you like to use coupons, Shopular is for you. It gives you deal alerts and helps you keep track of your coupons and cash-back rewards. Just sift through the major retailers listed, and check off the coupons you want to use right on your phone when it's time to check out. The app, available for both iOS and Android phones, can use geolocation to alert you to coupons for nearby stores.
ShopKick (also for iOS and Android devices) is a coupon-storing app similar to Shopular, but it adds a unique twist by allowing you to earn points—called "kicks"—when you shop. You walk into a store and scan or buy an item to earn points. In stores where ShopKick has installed beacons, you can sometimes earn kicks just by walking through the door. Once your kicks add up, you can redeem them for store gift cards and sometimes even products. Like Shopular, ShopKick will alert you to deals going on in the store you're in, and you can save the sales to a shopping list.
Ever wonder exactly how good a deal really is? Then check out ShopSavvy, one of the best bar-code scanner apps we've come across. Once you've loaded the ShopSavvy app onto your smartphone, it uses the phone's camera to scan bar codes, just like other scanner apps.
But it's not just a bar-code scanner. You can also get real-time pricing, reviews, and product info from the app, along with cash-back deals, extra discounts, and coupons. The company claims to have more than 20 million products in its ShopSavvy system. The app is available for both iOS and Android mobile devices.
Flipp aggregates and delivers digital circulars from more than 800 retailers and provides you with coupons when they're available. A feature added last year lets you clip coupons right to your rewards cards for instant savings at the checkout. Flipp also alerts you when coupons are almost ready to expire. It's available for both iOS and Android devices.
We've also been using RetailMeNot for a few years now. In addition to providing both online and printable coupons, the app—available for both iOS and Android mobile devices—uses geolocation to alert you to savings at local stores and restaurants, with all the deals highlighted on a map. To redeem a coupon, all you have to do is pull it up on your phone and show it to the cashier. RetailMeNot currently tracks deals at more than 50,000 retailers.