It's that time of year again. The time when Holiday cheer turns into gift buying fear. When grown men cry at the prospect of spending time in a mall and when mothers and fathers are busy checking off their lists. Before smartphones, we were relegated to paper-based lists that were often lost, covered with coffee stains and worn thin by eraser use. But now we have Android and its ever growing list of apps to help us through the gift buying season.
1. Shopping Calendar
The Shopping Calendar app by GalleryApp is a free download from the Android Market. Though the free version does include ads, there is a paid version which is ad free. Both versions provide a calendar and budget tracker to help you organize, plan and keep track of your shopping lists and expenses. You can create your own custom lists or use an existing list as a reference. Once you buy an item, simply long press it, select delete, and it will forever be gone from your shopping list.
2. Mart Shopping-Free
Also available as a free download in the Android Market is Mart shopping from Android Arbeit. This app allows you to create a shopping list and create a shopping plan. For those who like a bit more organization with their Holiday shopping, this app may just fit your needs. Users can select from quick shopping lists already built into the app, or can create their own custom apps. The app currently has a 4 Star rating in the market, making it a popular and useful shopping app.
3. Holiday Gift Ideas-Free Version
Everyone has at least one person on their list of Holiday shopping that is very challenging to buy for. The developers at Jameson Software have come to the rescue. Their app, Holiday GIft Ideas which is available as a free download in the Android market, created categories of age groups and relationships, you can simply select a category and view a list of gift ideas that matches the common interests of those in that category. If they only had a category for mother-in-laws, I would be all set this Holiday Season!
4. Christmas Gift Organizer
DY Software developed their Christmas Gift Organizer in an attempt to keep the Holiday shopping (and spending) organized and under control. This app makes it easy to create a list, a budget and even a set of "to-do's" for everyone on your shopping list. They even gave the app a green and red design to really blend in with the mall decorations. Currently the app sells for $.99 in the Android market.
5. Size Chart
The developers at Ubiquitous Software Solutions must be parents, for, as a parent, keeping track of what sizes my 9 and 6 year old wear is no easy task. The Size Chart Shopping app takes the guesswork out of picking out the right sizes for everyone on your shopping list. You can keep track of shirt, pant, shoe and even underwear sizes for everyone on your list. And just in time for the Holiday Season, the app can ever provide a countdown, showing the days left till Christmas. This app is currently going for $.99 in the Android Market.
6. CC Shopping List
CC Shopping List takes list creation one step further than most other shopping apps. With CC, you can create lists for specific people or for certain stores. The app uses convenient "sticky notes" to keep your lists separated and easily identified. Having the ability to create a list for specific stores is a very convenient feature.
There are two weaknesses with this app that need to be pointed out. One, though like many other free apps, this is ad supported. The challenge is that the ad sizes are fairly large and can be distracting. The other drawback is the lack of a spell check feature. Not a big deal if you either are very good at smartphone typing or don't care about misspelled words.
7. Barcode Scanner
Though this app won't help you arrange your shopping list, keep track of your budget or give you a handy list of clothing sizes, it may just save you some money. Barcode Scanner is a free app in the Android market and can scan both 1D and QR codes. Once the bar code from a product is scanned, the app will beep and will pop up a menu of information about the product. Typical information could be customer reviews, recalls and, most useful, local stores that also sell the same product. Using the location services of your Android phone, Barcode Scanner will list stores near your location and will include their prices. Not only have I saved a few dollars on some products but also was alerted that a gift I bought my wife had a lead paint issue.