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Holiday Shopping Smartphone Tips

Holiday shopping can be stressful. Remembering what you need to buy, where you saw the best price, and lots of other little considerations means a considerable mental burden on top of managing the mall crowds and traffic. Thankfully, you probably have a great little shopping helper right in your pocket. Here are five ways your smartphone can help make holiday shopping easier:

  1. Loyalty Cards: If you’ve got loyalty cards then you might as well use them when the opportunity arises. Load up your card app on your smartphone with all your membership and other accounts (e.g. add your AirMiles and other cards to the Wallet app on your iPhone or use an app like Stocard) or, if you don’t have or don’t want to use an app like that, take photos of the front and back of your cards and keep them on your camera roll for reference as needed (you can usually read them a number if they can’t scan it directly).
  2. Price Check: Holiday shopping can often mean long lineups, and sometimes that’s because of poorly marked sales, missing tags, and other little details that aren’t uncovered until you’re at the cash register. While it may not always work, I find it’s worth taking a snapshot of the price and bar code info on the shelf where you got something, as well as any associated sales notifications, in case they help make your (and therefore everyone behind you) wait a little less long.
  3. Price Compare: One good thing about mall shopping (especially when done early) is that you typically have opportunities to price compare. So head over to your camera app again and take photos of the price details (including model info, which is sometimes key for tech gear especially) of anything you’d like to find a better price for at another store (you can geo-tag the photos so you know where that price was). In addition, take screenshots of online specials beforehand so you can reference those prices while doing some bricks-and-mortar shopping (as I’ve definitely been buried in the back of a big box store with no cell reception).
  4. Receipts: Losing a receipt can be a real pain, so I tend to take photos of all my receipts, too. This way I can provide what is (usually, though some stores are picky) an acceptable proof of purchase even if I’ve lost my receipt or forgotten it at home.
  5. Coupon Codes: A final photo/screenshot tip is to capture any discount codes or coupons you can use during your shopping journeys (online or off). Again, you’ll typically be able to have someone scan that directly and, if not, then they usually can just enter the code directly.

One big warning to go with most of these recommendations is that you should pay careful attention to who you’re sharing your photos with. You don’t want your gift photos appearing in your loved ones’ camera rolls because of some previously-set sharing or syncing.