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You’ve scoured the web, or maybe you went old-school and leafed through the paper inserts in Thanksgiving’s newspaper (how quaint!). But either way, your Black Friday shopping targets are in your sights.
The horrible truth: All that preparation can get shot to hell in an instant, once you’re faced with the reality of the biggest retail day of the year. And the actuaries think this one is gonna be a doozy; online sales over the Thanksgiving weekend last year totaled roughly $19.62 billion, and some analysts are predicting that 40 percent of all holiday-season sales will happen over the coming days.
Related: What not to buy on Black Friday
Amid the frenzy, it’s a good idea to have a little help at the ready. These apps will help get you home in one piece with deals worth bragging about:
For Making Your List: BFAds.net (Android & iOS)
Boasting more than 100 Black Friday ads from top retailers and couponing site FatWallet, this app lets you build your shopping-spree game plan ahead of time. Add deals you want to score to your shopping list, and get notified the second the sale goes live—doorbuster or otherwise. The app’s team of expert shoppers also annotate deals with coupons and promo codes to save you even more moolah.
For Navigating the Labyrinth: Point Inside (Android & iOS)
Instead of hunting for a mall directory or craning your neck over a crowd once you do find one, pull up a complete indoor map on your phone. Point Inside includes searchable directories and floorplans for hundreds of malls and shopping centers nationwide. Not only can it help you find your way to your next purchase, it can also point you to the nearest bathroom, ATM, or refueling station (er, food court). Point Inside also powers indoor mapping features within apps for major retailers, including Target, to keep you from aimlessly wandering the aisles.
For Double-Checking Deals: Shop Savvy (Android & iOS)
Before you drop an item in your cart, use this app to scan the barcode. It’ll tell you in seconds what comparable prices are online and at nearby brick-and-mortars, including whether it’s in stock. If you don’t pull the trigger right then and there, you can add scanned items to a list and get notifications when prices change. Enroll in the app’s Purch Perks rewards program to earn cash back for shopping at dozens of big partner stores like Best Buy and Target, and checks will start rolling in every 90 days.
For Spotting Deals You Missed: RetailMeNot (Android & iOS)
The online couponing mecca wants to make sure you never willingly walk past a bargain. Allow RetailMeNotto access to your location, and it will send you alerts to nearby sales and discounts. You can also tell the app which mall or shopping center you’re planning to visit, and it will surface deals in that location ahead of time. Present in-store coupons to the cashier on your phone screen, and save some trees, too. Feeling peckish? The app also features discounts from popular restaurant chains, so you can save some scratch while planning your next move.
For Taking a Breather: Calm (Android & iOS)
Nerves feeling a bit rattled after a spat over the last Xbox One S Bundle? Head back out to the car or find a bench and plop down for a few minutes of de-stressing guided meditation. The Calm app will help you quietly meditate for 2 to 20 minutes, with the sounds of nature drowning out the chaotic din of the superstore. The app uses a popular form of meditation called mindfulness, which focuses on paying attention to sensations, such as the feeling of breathing, free from judgment.