Three Android Apps for Savvy Shoppers

If you plan to hit the malls on Friday, these Android Market apps might help you organize your trip and save a few bucks, too.

For some shoppers, Black Friday is a holiday, and there are plenty of Android apps to help them celebrate it. Here are three apps to add to your shopping arsenal if you plan to brave the crowds this Friday.

The Coupons App

With 5,000,000+ downloads, the Coupons app is both popular and highly rated. After logging into the app, you'll see current specials in your area and at major retailers. Today, for example, Abercrombie & Fitch is offering 30% off everything online or in store. Click on the offer to see more details and to find a store in your area. If your device has GPS-enabled, you can even scan your area for location-based deals, such as gas pricing.

A Black Friday Ads banner currently displays a menu of shops so you can see some deals before leaving the comfort of your recliner. (And if recliners are your thing, you might want to check out the La-Z-Boy deals — a red La-Z-Boy couch for only US$ 599? Sign me up.) Filters let you search by retail or food or search by company name. A new feature, available as a free upgrade, automatically pre-fills free sample forms, allowing users to request free samples and coupons with a few simple clicks.

Black Friday App

The Black Friday app offers a Stores, Category, Search, Deals, and My List menu. Under Category, for example, the Computers option shows 599 ads. Looking for an Asus Intel Atom 10" Notebook w/1GB 250GB HDD? Fry's will open at 6am and has them for US$ 148 (Limit 1 per customer). Need a Nook? Using the Search feature, I found Nook deals at OfficeMax, RadioShack, Staples, and Best Buy. Clicking the Deals button shows that Amazon will have the Princess Bride Blu-ray for only US$ 5 (with free shipping). This app has other features, such as filtering options, so check it out if you want to make the most of your Black Friday fun.

GeoQpons App

After downloading the GeoQpons app, you'll need to enter your zip code to get started. After you set the app to use your location, which is necessary if you want to find the deals in your area, the list of deals comes up with Featured Listings at the top, followed by Brands Listings. For example, one featured listing in my area would save me US$ 2 off of pet grooming. Using the Local option in the bottom tool bar shows local deals, but in my area, those are mostly for "big box" retailers. Maybe when this app has been around a while longer more local businesses will appear on it. Another option is the Tools button, which lets you make a shopping or wish list, calculate savings, or check prices by barcode.

You can also save favorite stores on your app and manage your user profile. If you want to help a local business (while helping yourself), you can use the Get Geocode option under the Profile button. This allows you to refer a local business to the GeoQpons app using a unique code assigned to your profile. What's in it for you? For every new business that signs up with your code and uses the app to publish a deal, you'll receive a US$ 10 Amazon gift certificate via email.

Not Observing Black Friday?

Despite my curiosity about money-saving shopping apps, I have to admit that I won't be hitting the big retailers on Black Friday. The apps I'll be using this Friday will be from the comfort of my home — my Netflix and Amazon apps. This isn't to say I won't do any shopping outside my house on Black Friday. My community (Lawrence, Kansas) has a Final Fridays art walk on the schedule, which is a great way to get downtown and support local businesses and artists. Although I love getting great deals online and free shipping, the bulk of my holiday budget will be spent supporting my neighbors and neighborhood businesses.

Best wishes for a happy Black Friday, no matter how you decide to spend it.

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