5 Free Black Friday Apps

By Louis DeNicola, Cheapism.com

It's that time of year when holiday decorations start showing up in shops and homes and wish lists are getting longer. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday rapidly approaching, the savviest shoppers are already using Black Friday apps on their smartphones to keep an eye on the deals.

According to CNN Money, Black Friday weekend set a new record in 2012 with sales hitting more than $59 billion over the four days. This year as always, the plethora of ads shoved in your face during the weeks leading up to Black Friday makes it hard to find the best deals. To help you out, we checked several Black Friday apps that have been updated and released for 2013, many of which accompany websites. Use these Black Friday apps to stay abreast of the latest deals and add items to a saved shopping list while you're out and about. When you return home, log on to the site for easier viewing.

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App App Price Barcode Reader Customized Shopping Lists
FatWallet Free iOS, Android No Yes
TGI Black Friday Free iOS, Android No Yes
Blackfriday.fm Free iOS, Android No Yes
ShopSmart Free iOS, Android, Blackberry Yes No
Amazon's Black Friday Free Android No Yes

(iOS, Android). FatWallet's new Black Friday Deal Finder 2013 app is the iPhone, iPad, and Android version of its Black Friday website. Last year's version earned a low rating in the Apple app store, but the 2013 update gets rave reviews. Users are pleased with the new, user-friendly design and the ability to view product images; several people call it a "must have" for shoppers this year. The app also lets you look through scanned Black Friday ads, quickly navigate to the desired product page, and continue on to the merchant's page for purchase. An updated feature lets you search through scanned ads to find specific items, making it easy to check deals against your gift list. Also new to the app is two-click purchasing with FatWallet checkout. If you shop through FatWallet's Black Friday website while logged into your FatWallet account you earn cash-back rewards on online purchases.

Related: 6 Tips for Making and Sticking to a Black Friday Budget

TGI Black Friday App (iOS, Android). DealCatcher's TGI Black Friday app was one of the highest-rated Black Friday apps last year for the iPhone and the site just released an updated iPhone, iPad, and Android app to track this year's day of deals. Browse by popular deals as well as the newest ads and sort through stores or product categories to fulfill your shopping list. Some items may be available before Black Friday and you can compare prices across a number of vendors as well as shop online through the app. You can also share your favorite savings via your email, Twitter, or Facebook accounts. The 2013 update has improved speed and the bug has been fixed that caused users to experience a crash while using the app.

BlackFriday.fm (iOS, Android). BlackFriday.fm had the No. 1Black Friday app in the Apple app store for iPhone users in 2012. This year the app lets Android users in on the fun with the release of the Black Friday Ads 2013 Edition app for Android users. The app will keep you updated on all Black Friday news about the latest leaked ads and retailers' latest plans for the big shopping day. As with the other apps, you can look through the scanned Black Friday ads or product categories and add items to a shopping list. A new addition to the app lets you easily share your best steals with friends and family.

Use a Black Friday app to score deals.

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ShopSmart (iOS, Android, Blackberry). Shoppers like that they can use ShopSmart on their iPhone, iPad, Android, or Blackberry to instantly compare in-store prices with those on Amazon.com, well-known for low prices. By simply scanning an item with the app's barcode reader, the app will find the price of the product online. You can also set alerts for when products reach the price you want to pay. For Black Friday, you can quickly determine whether the price in the store is a real steal or if you should wait and purchase online. There is also a manual search bar for even more accurate shopping.

Amazon's Black Friday App 2013 (Android). Amazon has compiled a list of the Black Friday deals by category and/or store, which most users say makes comparing deals a cinch. Users can read full scans of the Black Friday deals and save items they wish to purchase to their device. Shoppers can also share their best buys with others through the application. The app also lets you make shopping lists to keep Black Friday shopping on track. Ads are available in the app even a month before Black Friday so you can get an early start.

Shopping Tip. With so much information being "leaked" in the weeks before Black Friday it's easy to get dragged down by information overload. It's also easy to be swept up in the storm of gale-force sales and overspend on items you don't really need. The Black Friday apps noted above are helpful resources for finding deals this November. But the best approach to holiday shopping calls for a list of specific items or people you want to buy presents for and using the search and wish list-functions in the Black Friday apps to find exactly what you need. The gift to yourself? You'll save money, and more importantly, avoid overspending this year.

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