Here's How to Win Black Friday ... From the Couch

Seven apps for spotting deals and avoiding scams

By Alex Lauer

 
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22 November 2016

Black Friday has gone from a day of deals to a weekend of war.

But with a few new apps and browser extensions, we’ll help you get through the shopping weekend unscathed. Follow our advice and you might just wake up Saturday morning to a refrigerator full of leftovers and a completed Christmas list.

Your apps:

2016 Black Friday
A Black Friday-specific app from the year-round coupon gurus at DealNews. Get the latest ads before they reach your doorstep, search specific stores and scroll their constantly updated list of the best online and in-store offers.

Santa’s Bag (iOS) / Christmas Gift List (Android) / Mint
It's necessary to set spending limits. These three apps make it simple. Santa’s Bag and Christmas Gift List let you create wishlists, set budgets and import recipients — all in red and green Christmas splendor. Mint is a better comprehensive budgeting app, connecting to your bank accounts and automatically updating purchases — for those celebrating something that doesn’t include Santa.

Slice
Everyone has that folder in their email for online purchases, but how often do you look at them? (Never, we know.) Slice connects to your inbox and pulls out all the need-to-know info: shipping details, price drops (aka potential refunds) and recalls. It supports most email providers, even everyone still on AOL. No communication discrimination here.

Coin Up
‘Tis the season for charitable giving, but it’s easy to forget when your gift list takes a month to tackle. Coin Up combines the two. All you have to do is link a credit or debit card, choose a charity, pick a donation limit and call yourself Kris Kringle. Coin Up rounds up all purchases you make to the next dollar, then sends that spare change to your charities (up to a pre-set limit). Your reward? An auto-generated tax deductible receipt at the end of the year.

Other resources:

Wikibuy
A lot of people go straight to Amazon because it’s easy and has everything. While you’re doing that, this Chrome extension will search the web for a better deal on another site, including a coupon search. In the app version, you can also search for a specific product or scan a barcode. They give you a total price, return policy and delivery date. Buy it directly through Wikibuy and they handle the rest.

Honey
Another Chrome extension that finds coupons for any website you’re shopping at online and automatically adds them. This includes free samples, free shipping and other coupons beyond a price discount. Because Honey gets a commission on purchases, they give you points for every purchase you make, which you can redeem for cash when you rack up enough.

Fakespot
Shopping for deals on Amazon, it's tough enough making sure you're getting a real TV and not an empty TV box. So when it comes to their clusterf*ck of reviews, who knows what you can trust? Fakespot knows. Copy the url of any Amazon product, paste it on their website and get a detailed analysis of how trustworthy all those 5 stars raves are. If you’re not willing to switch tabs during your shopping experience, you can download one of their browser extensions or apps for an instant reviews review.

Oh, and a good roundup of larger chain stores and e-tailers like Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart and Target can be found here and here. Can’t leave out the big boys.

(And watch for our selectively curated Black Friday roundup later this week.)

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