Save your wallet with shopping apps

These days a little retail therapy is about as relaxing as trying to give your cat a bath. It’s not about finding that special something during the odd moment to yourself anymore. Now there are more apps and online shopping “experiences” than you can poke a stick at and they’re all fighting their way into your consciousness as you attempt to rifle through clothing racks in peace. Where once you might have been content to whip out your credit card for something pretty, now you’re more likely to whip out your smartphone, find the same thing for a lower price online and wait for it to be delivered to your door in a few days’ time. I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing therapeutic about coming home empty handed and still with a hole in your wallet.

That said, while the days of swinging your shopping bags as you sashay through the mall might be in the past, at least you’re keeping your bank balance in check. So let’s take a look at a few handy apps to take with you on your next shopping trip.

I don’t think I’m the only one to have come home after a solo shopping trip thinking I probably should have left that sequined leopard print dress on the rack. This app lets you snap a photo of your potential wardrobe disaster and seek advice from your social networks before buying. You friends can help you make a decision on it by either ‘liking’ or ‘disliking’ or making comments to the effect of: “looking like a wild animal in drag is never sexy.”

The app will even set up a potential wardrobe for you at its dedicated website so you can refer back later if you change your mind (or if sequinned leopards ever do become fashionable).

Red Laser
This nifty app uses your camera function to scan the barcode of that thing you were thinking about buying and tells you where you can get it cheaper. With it you’ll save a buck on anything from designer clothing through to toothpaste. If you’re feeling particularly confident you could even present the store owner with your newly found bargain and haggle for the same (or better) price.

Unfortunately the app isn’t currently supported in Australia, so you can’t physically track down the store with cheaper prices – but that won’t stop you from ordering cheaply online.  It also works as a handy QR code scanner.

If you’re the type who doesn’t like buying things only to be disappointed by them, step things up a notch by shopping with your SnapTell app. All you need to do is take a photo of the book, DVD, CD or video game in your hand to access a host of information on it from a variety of online sources. Referencing everything from Wikipedia to IMDb, SnapTell not only lets you compare prices, it also allows you to review the product and even buy it through the app.

Big W
Lastly, I’d like to do a shout out to the Big W app for making department store foraging a lot easier. Apart from having the usual specials and product brochures on hand, the Big W app lets you scan the barcode of the product you were thinking about purchasing and tells you which products are in store for a lower price. Who says all big companies are out to burn your wallet?

With the weekend upon us, there’s no doubt you’re all itching to get in on a little retail action. This time though you’ll feel better and your wallet will feel fuller with some of the best smartphone tools of the trade. Use them wisely and try to turf the phone every now and then for some real retail therapy.

All mentioned apps are available for iPhone and Android.