Holiday Shopping on a Budget: Apps

November 7, 2013


Between Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, entertaining, and purchasing gifts, not overspending in November and December can be a challenge! Here are five apps to help you plan better, stick to your budget, and save money along the way.

(Note: I do not own a smart phone but have been able to make use of these apps with my iPod Touch.)




  • compares prices across local grocery & drugstores
  • view local sales & available coupons
  • mark favorite brands & items
  • get notified when your favorite items are added to the weekly sales lists for your stores
  • make a list, email it to yourself, print coupons
  • Android or iOS


Example: I wanted to see which nearby store had the best price on our family’s favorite ice cream for our Sunday Sundaes. Entering it in the search bar was so much easier than looking through the ads! I’m really excited about this one.



Snip Snap


  • take a picture of a printed coupon from a retailer, and the app converts it to a mobile-ready coupon
  • search a database of printed coupons
  • get push notifications when coupons are about to expire
  • get location-based reminders when you arrive at a store for which you have a deal saved
  • iOS or Android

Example: Take a picture of your Michaels coupon, and it’s converted and stored on your phone with no worries about forgetting or losing it!





  • before shopping, complete brand-related tasks that are each worth a certain amount of cash
  • purchase items, choosing from a variety of retailers
  • use store loyalty card or take picture of receipt to verify purchase
  • receive earnings in Ibotta account, cash out to PayPal
  • iOS or Android

Example: For the Chobani tubes, I learned a fact and took a poll to earn a total of $.50.


After buying the item and verifying my purchase, that $.50 will be deposited into my Ibotta account. When I’m ready, I can transfer it to PayPal.



Target Cartwheel

  • choose from in-store savings in every department
  • stack savings on top of sales, printable coupons, and manufacturer coupons
  • use deals multiple times


This week, I will be using this Cartwheel deal


along with a $1.00 off 2 coupon and a $.55 off printable (x2) in order to get a fantastic price on quality paper napkins!



  • access current deals at local stores
  • view ads
  • search or scan codes to do price comparisons between both online and offline retailers
  • scan a food’s barcode and discover potential allergens
  • iOS, Android, or Windows Phone


Example I scanned the barcode on the back of one of my son’s books to see how much it costs from a variety of retailers.


Do you have a different favorite shopping app?

Please share and describe it in the comments!


To learn more about budgeting, visit A Time For Everything. 


Melissa is passionate about people living within their means and becoming--and remaining--debt-free. She is the owner of A Time for Everything, which includes both a shop where she sells handmade cash envelope system wallets and accessories, and a blog where she writes about frugal living, creating, and life in general. She's been blogging since 2007 and making pretty wallets since 2011.

15 comments on “Holiday Shopping on a Budget: Apps

  1. I use ibotta and my local grocery store’s mobile coupons. I haven’t used Cartwheel much- every time I go to Target I end up with more in my cart than on my list! I’ll have to try the others!

  2. Ila says:

    I love Cartwheel and combined with my other coupons and redcard, it has saved me tons! I love how I can easily change the items I want while in the store!

  3. Great tips Melissa – I love Target’s Cartwheel!
    xo, Becky

  4. Kristin says:

    I use Target Cartwheel, along with the Target mobile coupons that I get texted every weekend and the printable Target coupons from their website. Combining all of those with manufacturer’s coupons can really add up!

    Another app I love, especially around the holidays, is Go Wallet. I wrote about it last year after I discovered it, and it really kept me from wasting gift cards that typically are forgotten, lost, etc.

  5. I love all of these appt…I use Cartwheel and Ibotta every week!!

  6. Marilyn says:

    To better plan your holiday lists, online passwords, and coupons in conjunction with everything else on your calendar, you might give LifeTopix a try. You can see our slideshare about it at:

Get the latest downloads from A Bowl Full of Lemons printables shop.
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