THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID

GA Voice - - Holiday Gift Guide - By MELISSA CARTER

As in a bank heist movie, you’ve strate­gi­cally mapped out how to find the best deals for the hol­i­day shop­ping sea­son, rolling up your blueprints and fir­ing up your get­away car. But be­fore you head out the door, make sure not to ig­nore the finds that are right at your fin­ger­tips. Here are a few apps I use that will not only help you find some great buys, but will also make sure your pantry is well­stocked for guests.

Whether you pre­fer on­line or in-store shop­ping, you need to visit www.brads­deals. com be­fore head­ing to the check­out. It’s ba­si­cally a one-stop source for coupons and deals from thou­sands of lead­ing re­tail­ers. I have saved money on name-brand clothes, makeup, jew­elry, and kid’s toys through this one app alone.

It can be such a has­sle to or­ga­nize—let alone re­mem­ber—all the loy­alty cards you’ve signed up for. www.keyringapp.com stores them all in one place and will up­date you on any cur­rent sales or re­bates from each of those stores. Just the fact I no longer have three times as many lit­tle plas­tic cards as keys on my ac­tual key ring is rea­son enough to have this app.

Even if you are just brows­ing, you can still get re­warded by www.shop­kick.com sim­ply for walk­ing into the store. Their points are called “kicks,” and you get them for en­ter­ing a store, scan­ning prod­uct bar­codes, and making pur­chases. Those kicks can be redeemed for gift cards, iTunes song down­loads, movie tick­ets, and Face­book cred­its.

You have lim­ited time to get your hol­i­day shop­ping done, so why not have some­one else do your gro­cery shop­ping while you take care of the rest? I am ob­sessed with www.in­stacart.com, which has saved many a day jug­gling my crazy sched­ule and an in­fant. The app works with Kroger, Whole Foods, Costco, and Petco, and for a small de­liv­ery fee you can get what you need de­liv­ered straight to your door. Cook­ing and forget an in­gre­di­ent? In­stacart will save your hol­i­day meal.

If you pre­fer to go to the gro­cery store your­self, then make sure to sign up for both www.check­out51.com and ibotta.com. Each of­fers weekly re­bates on a va­ri­ety of items from gro­cery and drug stores, and col­lects those re­bates in an ac­count. The in­crease is in­cre­men­tal, but over the course of just a few months I have made over $30. The apps will each cut you a check for your earn­ings af­ter you reach a cer­tain amount. Hint: If host­ing a party, th­ese apps have great re­bates on al­co­hol.

The hol­i­days are a time for fam­ily and friends, but preparing for them can be like putting to­gether a puz­zle as you fig­ure out how to fit your bud­get and time to­gether. Th­ese apps will cer­tainly help put those pieces in place, and add to your mas­ter plan of con­quer­ing the shop­ping frenzy.

Melissa Carter is one of the Morn­ing Show hosts on B98.5. In ad­di­tion, she is a writer for the Huff­in­g­ton Post. She is rec­og­nized as one of the first out ra­dio per­son­al­i­ties in At­lanta and one ofthe few in the coun­try. Fol­low her on Twit­ter@Melis­saCarter

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