Free shopping apps are the best thing to happen to bargain hunters since the invention of coupons. And this is coming from somebody who lives for the feel of the Sunday newspaper, the sound of scissors cutting along the dotted lines.
With some of these apps, you can search for sales and even earn money while you shop. Plus, all of them are free to download on Android and Apple devices. Here’s a rundown of my favorites.
RetailMeNot is like the training wheels for bargain hunters who are new to mobile shopping. This app offers virtual coupons that are redeemable in stores or online. All you have to do is clip your favorite offers and present them at checkout. Plus, when you enable its location feature, you can view coupons to nearby stores. Many of the deals are unique to the site, so it’s more of a supplement than it is a replacement of your coupon-clipping ritual.
Zoomingo is a new download for me, so I’m still in that giddy phase. It’s a retail shopping app with all the bells and whistles: “Z points” that can be redeemed for deals, an easy-to-view panel of all the deals and sales in nearby stores and, if you’re the type of shopper who really values an honest opinion, the app lets you poll other users with posts such as, “Should I buy these shoes?” You don’t have to create an account to use the app, but if you do, you could get giveaway offers and free gift cards sent to you via email.
ShopKick offers redeemable points, called “kicks,” just for walking into certain stores. It works like FourSquare. You check in when you’re physically in the store (it knows when you’re not) and a little note pops up to tell you how many kicks you were awarded. Every 250 kicks earns you about a dollar toward a gift card of your choice. There are even more incentives for trying on clothes or, better yet, actually buying something. To see more about its capabilities, see a review in the Business Insider at http://read.bi/uNme3j.
RedLaser Barcode makes comparing prices so much more fun. Barcode scanners always have been a little iffy for me, but this one by eBay Mobile is faster and more reliable than any scanner app I’ve ever used. When you scan a barcode, it quickly brings up a screen of all the best deals on that product in the area. I’ll have to warn you. It can be really addicting. It made some of my trips to the grocery store last about an hour longer than usual.
Appropriately named, KeyRing helps you keep track of all those membership cards to grocery and convenience stores. It doesn’t necessarily save you more money, but I like it because I no longer have to be that person at the front of the checkout line, digging through my purse while everyone behind me stares and sighs.
Reach Abigail Darlington at email@example.com.