Has the promise of comfort and joy this holiday season gotten lost among all the wrapping, cooking, late-night parties and endless shopping? Relax! These days there are countless apps to help you ease holiday stress and put some merry back in your life. From organizing your gift list and tracking packages to finding the best deals and nabbing a prime parking spot, these apps are sure to take the pressure off you during this incredibly busy season so you can focus more on what's truly important.
—By Barbara Booth, CNBC.com
Posted 23 November 2015
For busy shoppers who want the best deal on a particular item but don't have the time or desire to comparison-shop or track down coupons, BuyVia Personal Shopper gets it done. Unlike other "deal" apps, which send coupons and alerts on random products, this social shopping assistant service sends alerts only for the specific product you are looking for.
Just type in some product details, along with the price you're willing to pay, and the BuyVia team of shopping experts will set to work immediately to find the best bargain in the most popular local and online stores. An alert is pushed out each time a good deal is found.
Have a lot of people to buy for? This smart shopping-list manager will not only keep you organized but on budget as well. Just enter the names of all your recipients and all your gift ideas, and it will keep track of everything you've bought, what you have left to buy, and how much you've spent.
Getting a joint gift for Grandma? The job usually lands on one person to choose the gift, reach out to everyone, collect all the funds, and make the purchase. But with Giftfund, the whole process can be done right on your smartphone, with no money changing hands at all — and no more nudging those who keep forgetting to make their contribution.
Once you create a Giftfund for someone, choose a gift and invite friends and relatives via text or email to join in and contribute, sharing with them the unique ID number so they will be granted access. Once the funds are collected, the gift is shipped to the recipient, along with a gift receipt and a full list of all the contributors. Additional, unused funds raised are sent to the recipient as an Amazon gift card.
If you don't have the time or energy to locate all the coupons and deals in your favorite stores, then it's time to join the other 6 million users of Shopular. By targeting your location, this app sends timely, relevant deals to your smartphone as soon as you are at or near a store or mall.
Forty thousand merchant locations across the U.S. currently participate on Shopular, and in June the company reported that retail deal engagements within the app had topped 300 million per month.
Parking-lot road rage can strike at any moment during the holidays, so just imagine having a spot to stow your vehicle waiting just for you at the mall. With ParkWhiz, you can reserve and pay for a parking spot — even private spots that aren't being used.
Just plug in your destination, and the app's map will pinpoint the closest garages and self-parking lots in the area, along with the available rates for your date and time. Reserve and pay in advance and, upon arrival, just show the attendant your ParkWhiz pass.
Did the thought of inviting 100 guests for a holiday party seem a better idea before you were overwhelmed with shopping, wrapping and decorating? Or are you a veteran party planner that just wants to put a new spin on your festivities? Whatever the case, Food52 has you covered.
The ultimate guide to holiday entertaining, this app is brimming with fun recipes, video tutorials and step-by-step photos, offering tips on everything from setting up your bar to centerpiece ideas and how to recover from disaster.
With Pounce, shopping is as easy as snapping a photo and tapping the "Buy" button on your smartphone. Using image-recognition technology, Pounce allows consumers to take a picture of any item in a store, print ads and circulars, bypassing retailers' websites.
It also eliminates the need to check out, since all your shipping and payment information is stored on the app. Orders are automatically shipped directly to your doorstep.
With countless packages stockpiling on your doorstep during the holidays, it's important to keep lists of everything you've ordered online and know exactly its whereabouts when in transit. But all those confirmation emails and 18-digit-plus numbers can get unwieldy.
With Slice you'll never have to enter a tracking number again or search through your inbox. Slice automatically analyzes emails containing order information from your online shopping and organizes all your purchases in one place.
An added bonus: Slice will alert you if a price has dropped after you bought an item and will help you get a refund, as well as let you know if any of your items have been recalled.
Giftster is a mobile gift registry that connects family and friends so users have access to everyone's wish lists. No more wondering what to give or doubling up on items. "Wishes" can be added at any time, and purchases are recorded each time someone buys an item, so everyone is informed. Connections are easily made, through email and Facebook.
With Chameleon, you no longer have to fight crowds to find the item you're searching for. This app actually tells you which aisle your product is in — and offers a real-time price scanner and inventory status for every product in the store.
Need to find a bathroom? Chameleon's guided map gives you all the nearby locations, as well as staircases. The app also features coupons, reviews, deals and trends.
Ever stand at the register, kicking yourself for forgetting the "one-day-only 20- percent-off-your-entire-purchase" coupon?
BluePromoCode offers you access to deals at more than 40,000 stores and lets you house all of your online promo codes and in-store coupons on your smartphone—nd its staff are working to make sure the codes actually work.
If time is running out and you still haven't sent off your holiday well-wishes, justWink, by American Greetings, can ease the process. With endless options, from fun and quirky to heartfelt and traditional, cards can be created via justWink's website or mobile app and sent by email, mobile or posted directly onto Facebook.
Cards can be customized with a personal message, photo and even a digital signature.
For those of you who aren't quite ready to make the switch to digital cards, you can order the cards and have them shipped to you or pick them up at a local retailer that sells the justWink line.