Heading out into the Black Friday jungle? Don’t leave home without the proper supplies: smartphone apps.
We’ve rounded up 15 apps to help you do everything — from avoiding traffic to entertaining yourself in long lines — with the utmost style and efficiency. (All are free unless otherwise noted.)
Here are our favorite, must-have Black Friday apps:
Getting to the Store
Making your way to the stores and through the Black Friday crowds is half the battle. These apps should help you succeed in your deal-seeking mission.
Before you even leave the house, know what weather to expect with Sunshine.
Instead of distant satellites, this new app uses street-level smartphone sensors and crowdsourcing to tell you what it’s really like outside.
Smart shoppers never sit in traffic when there are deals to be found.
Not only does Waze automatically send you on the quickest route, it also alerts you to police, accidents and road hazards.
3. Point Inside
Need help navigating the mall? Look no further than Point Inside. This app has directories and interactive maps for more than 1,250 malls across North America.
It even features in-store maps that show you the location of specific products at select retailers like Target and Lowe’s.
ParkWhiz – If you live in a major city and worried about the nightmare that is parking, ParkWhiz is here to help. If you know which parking garage or area you want to park in, you can reserve it in advance through this app. If you plan to park in a garage that you have to pay for, this app offers exclusive discounts.
Waiting in Line
Whether you’re waiting in line for a store to open, or just to check out, these apps will help you make the most of your time.
Don’t spend another second scrolling through your Facebook feed.
Stay on top of your favorite money-saving blogs with Pocket, which allows you to save articles for later reading. (We may be biased, but we think The Penny Hoarder is an excellent choice!)
Want to make some money while standing in line? Give Swagbucks a shot. You can answer surveys or watch videos, earning “SBs” to redeem for gift cards at retailers like Amazon and Target.
6. Heads Up!
While in line, entertain your fellow shoppers — and make some new friends — with Ellen DeGeneres’ Heads Up! app.
Family-friendly and perfect for groups, you’re bound to have a good laugh playing this game in line.
Cost: 99 cents
Why do you shop on Black Friday? Deals! These apps are must-haves for your in-store experience.
Make sure you’re buying items at the best price with RedLaser.
Simply scan the barcode of any product with your smartphone’s camera, and it automatically compares prices at thousands of online and offline retailers.
Have a bunch of rewards credit cards? Not sure which one to use? WalletUp to the rescue!
Using your location, this app tells you which card will generate the most rewards at specific stores.
Even if you don’t buy anything, you can earn rewards on Black Friday with shopkick.
Once you download the app, you earn “kicks” just for walking into stores like Macy’s and Best Buy, which you can redeem for gift cards.
Holiday shopping can be crazy, but that doesn’t mean you have to be. Stay organized and on-budget with these apps.
10. LifeLock Wallet
LifeLock Wallet offers cloud storage for all your important cards (think credit, insurance and ID) so you can access them right from your smartphone.
In the event your wallet is lost or stolen, it even helps you cancel your cards.
It’s essential you have a Black Friday budget so you don’t spend more than you can afford. You could bring a limited amount of cash — but if you prefer the convenience of credit cards, don’t head out the door without LevelMoney.
This simple budgeting app allows you to set a budget for the day (or week or month) and visually see how much you have left to spend.
12. The Christmas List
If you need a way to keep track of all the gifts on your list, you need The Christmas List. This comprehensive app lets you track your gift recipients, ideas and budgets — and its shopping list view will come in handy while you’re dashing through the aisles.
Spending Time with Family
For many shoppers, Black Friday is less about the bargains and more about the experience and tradition. Use these apps to stay connected with your family and friends on the big day.
13. Find My Friends
At some point, you’ll undoubtedly lose track of your companions on the Black Friday battlefield.
Apple’s Find My Friends app can help your battalion reunite, thanks to its ability to display your friends on a map and send alerts when people enter or depart a specific location.
14. Zello Walkie-Talkie App
With all the mayhem, you might not hear your calls or texts. To get in touch quickly and effectively, try the Zello Walkie-Talkie app.
You can even create a group conversation with everyone from your party on the same channel — just like an “old school CB radio!”
Whether you’re eager to continue shopping — or are exhausted and can’t wait another minute to eat — NoWait can help.
This app lets you see wait times, put your name on the list and get updates on your place in line at thousands of participating restaurants, including chains like Chili’s and Buffalo Wild Wings.
Since mall restaurants are slammed on Black Friday, we’re betting this app will be a lifesaver!
Black Friday can be a fun and exhilarating experience — as long as you’re prepared mentally, physically and technologically. By downloading these apps, you’ll significantly increase your chances of a productive and stress-free shopping day!
Your Turn: What apps do you plan to use on Black Friday?
Disclosure: We have a serious Taco Bell addiction around here. The affiliate links in this post help us order off the dollar menu. Thanks for your support!
Susan Shain, senior writer for The Penny Hoarder, is always seeking adventure on a budget. Visit her blog at susanshain.com, or say hi on Twitter @susan_shain.