Tools to Consider
Holiday-budget apps. A popular one is Santa’s Bag (shown above), which is free and work on iPhones. After entering a gift recipient’s name, you can create a budget line item and a gift list. As you purchase products, the app tracks how much you spent and how it matches up with your budget. The free version includes ads, but you can get rid of them by paying $2.99 for the “pro” version.
Several other holiday-specific apps offer similar tracking and budgeting services, such as the iOS app The Christmas Gift List (free, though you can pay $1.99 for an upgraded version) and the similarly named Android app, Christmas Gift List, which is free.
Budgeting apps. Holiday-budget apps can help keep gift-buying on track, but McQuay says full-fledged budgeting programs are a better option. His favorite is You Need a Budget, which you can download to an Android phone, an iPhone, the iPad on Apple Watch, or simply access on the web using a computer.
The program syncs your smartphone and desktop as well as with your accounts at financial institutions, which makes it easy to import financial transactions. The program costs $5 per month or $50 per year. McQuay recommends that consumers set up a holiday-spending category and create separate line items for family members and friends.
Another popular budget program is Mint, a free service from Quicken. It also downloads transactions from financial institutions, and includes a smartphone app.
Shopping apps. Year-round apps such as the price-comparison tool ShopSavvy are available for Windows, iOS, and Android-based smartphones and can help you save money while browsing, Jesperson says. She also recommends using retailer-specific apps such as Target’s Cartwheel, available for iOS and Android phones, which offers coupons that can’t be found elsewhere.
Number of Smartphones in our Ratings.
Aimee's fascination with personal finance started when she was 10 years old and her dad bought her 10 shares of Pepsi to teach her about the stock market. Her work has appeared in CBS MoneyWatch, The Boston Globe, Bloomberg, AOL’s Daily Finance and MSN Money. When not writing about money, Aimee can be found reading a science-fiction novel. You can follow her on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.
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Original article and pictures take http://www.consumerreports.org/holiday-shopping/shopping-apps-black-friday-holidays/ site