5 Common Shopping Problems and the Apps That Solve Them

I had planned to share the very best shopping apps out there, but that list became incredibly long. Because the truth is there is more to shopping than clicking “add to cart.” In fact, the apps I use most are those that help me to solve some of my most common shopping dilemmas like: “how much can I spend?”, “how much does it actually cost?”, and “does the product even exist?” So here are my top five shopping problems and the apps I use to solve them.

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1. Problem: Figuring out the final price after taxes and sales

I’ve suffered mind melt while trying to figure out how much something is actually going to cost after sales tax and multiple discounts. I like a deal, but it can be daunting!

Sure, there are calculator apps that do it all, but who wants to spend a bunch of time scrolling through extra functions like “mortgage calculator” when you only need to know how much something costs? On Sale Discount Calculator is a one-page app. You open the app, enter the price, tax rate and discounts, and it shows you final price along with how much you saved.

Clever alternative: Sale Price Discount Calculator. This one is a bit newer and features a few more bells and whistles (if you like that sort of thing).

2. Problem: Figuring out how much you can afford to spend

I’ve suffered mind melt while trying to figure out how much something is actually going to cost after sales tax and multiple discounts. I like a deal, but it can be daunting!
The app store is full of budgeting apps, but I don’t have time for those that require me to spend hours entering each transaction, or pouring over my credit card statements. Mint does that work for me. Powered by INTUIT (the Turbo Tax folks), Mint is sophisticated enough to tell me when I’m about to go over budget, and even when certain subscription costs have gone up.
Clever alternative: Dave Ramsey’s Every Dollar.This one won’t require your social security number to get started and it is oriented around your financial goals. Whether you want to pay for college, save for a home, or quit living paycheck to paycheck, the app will walk you through making a budget to meet those goals. One downside is that you’ll be entering your expenses manually.

3. Problem: Figuring out if you got the best available deal

Some small things I buy without hesitation (this weird lip mask for instance), but when it comes big ticket items like a new tablet or television, I want to be sure I’m getting the absolute best price out there. I don’t have time to scroll and wait for deals across dozens of sites.

Solution: ShopSavvy.

Though confusing at first, (the iPhone app doesn’t do much) the extension for your Safari browser really delivers. To install it go to Safari > Safari extension > and type in ShopSavvy in the app store window. It will add a little icon at the top of your bowser window, and if you click on it when viewing the product page on a website, it will give you a little drop down with all the best prices from across the web. Really. It’s incredible.
Clever alternative: Price Pulse – This one tracks Amazon pricing on an item, which (when you buy practically everything on Amazon anyway) is fairly useful.

4. Problem: Figuring out what to eat, when to eat it, and what groceries you’ll need to buy

At some point I became sick of throwing out tons of spoiled food every week, and decided to meal plan. But I didn’t have 3 hours to sit down and painstakingly research recipes and ingredients. I also wasn’t about to spend money on a meal plan – I was in this for the savings, after all.
The Mealime app definitely falls in the “how is this free?” category. Just open the app and scan through beautiful pictures of hundreds of mouthwatering recipes designed to be cooked in an hour or less. Filter by ingredients and dietary restrictions. Pick out your recipes for the week and, boom, Mealime spits out an easy-to-read shopping list. You can even add your shopping list right to Instacart. It doesn’t get easier.

Clever alternative: Plan to Eat – Meal Planner uses your recipes to create meal plans and shopping lists. This is great if you already have recipes you want to use.

5. Problem: Figuring out if the product you want actually exists.

How many times have you come up with problem and wondered, “Is there a product out there that will solve this problem?” For example, last week I was going for a walk and only wanted to bring my keys, but I had no pockets and didn’t want to carry anything.

Me? Recommend Amazon? Of course I did. Because when you shop the world’s largest store, you can pretty much guarantee if the product exists, it is being sold there. As it turns out, the product solution to my problem was there! I typed in “secret pockets” and found an awesome scrunchie with a zipper pocket for keeping my keys. Now I can go for my walks in my sundresses without carrying anything.

Clever alternative: LIKEtoKNOW.it If you’ve ever wondered how to mimic an exact look you’ve seen on an Instagram influencer, you’ll end up here with affiliate links to buy what they’re wearing on Amazon or elsewhere.


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