Top 5 Holiday Shopping Apps

Tickers in this article: CVS TIF GOOG AAPL GPS EBAY

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Hey shoppers! It's your favorite time of year. Sales are EVERYWHERE. From enticing window displays to unbeatable deals, everything is inviting you to buy. It's easy to get carried away. But, hey, at least you're helping the economy.

If you're tempted to open your wallet, you're not alone. U.S. holiday spending is expected to increase 4.5% this year, according to recent research from FTI Consulting , which notes that consumer confidence is approximately 25% higher entering the 2012 holiday season than it was a year ago.

It just keeps getting easier. The shopping game forever changed with the advent of the Internet. Hello, impulse buys! And now there are mobile apps to help you find great items while you're on the go. Did you expect retailers to make it difficult for you?

With so many spending options, making purchases can get complicated. How are you going to decide which shoes to buy? Don't worry, though - The Street is here to help you. These five mobile apps will help you find the best items, while saving money and time. And downloading these apps won't cost you a dime. They're all free!

RedLaser

Trying to find the lowest price for your choice item could have you seeing red. But don't fret. eBay's(EBAY) RedLaser will help you. Know exactly what you want? Use the app to scan barcodes. It will tell you where to find the cheapest price.

I tried scanning my Beanie Baby. Those still exist, by the way. It looks like you can get Floppity the Bunny for 99 cents these days. (At 16 years old, I guess she's not a baby anymore). Even if you don't have the barcode handy, RedLaser can help you find what to buy. Using the voice-activated search function, I still found Floppity!

Possibly the best feature of this app is that it stores your loyalty cards. Scan it so you don't have to bring that CVS(CVS) card everywhere. Don't let that precious wallet space go to waste.

RedLaser is a badly kept secret. As of October, it had been downloaded 22 million times!

The free app is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, but requires iOS 5.0 or later. It's also available on Google's(GOOG) Android operating system as well.

Decide Shopping & Price Predictor

Even if you find the best deal today, tomorrow might be the better time to buy. Decide will help you make that decision. Should I buy an Apple(AAPL) iPad Mini? Decide's Shopping & Price Predictor app tells me to wait! Alongside its price graph, the app tells me with 94% confidence that the price will drop within two weeks. (If only it could give me stock advice).

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