The Cell Phone App That's Saving Me A Small Fortune
Recently, I upgraded to my very first smartphone. And, being the frugal shopper that I am, I quickly searched for the best apps I could find that would help me save money. I was lucky enough to come across Shop Savvy the same day I bought the phone, and so far, it has saved me hundreds of dollars.
I wasn't entirely convinced that the app could do all that it said it could. I was quite happy to be proven wrong. Basically, Shop Savvy is a small app that utilizes the camera in your cell phone, turning it into a barcode scanner. You hold the phone in front of a bar code, and a few seconds later the phone has scanned the item, searched the web and produced a whole list of prices for the item in question. Here's a demo.
I put this to use on Black Friday, when deals where everywhere...but so was the hype. I'm something of a skeptic when it comes to Black Friday anyway. I know there are genuine deals, but there are also some stores out there looking to monopolize on the hysteria and off-load some old stock for less than competitive prices.
My first stop was Best Buy. My wife and I saw an amazing deal on a 42" Sony LCD TV. It had been marked down by several hunred dollars. I took out the phone, used Shop Savvy, and a few seconds later I was presented with a list of prices, organized from low to high. The price in Best Buy was the best. But, by just $10. When I figured into the equation the fact that I'd have to pay tax on the Best Buy purchase, but not on the online version, I was better off buying online. I also found a rebate and a coupon, making it an even bigger steal. Shop Savvy stopped my spending a total of $90 more for a TV that was supposedly an amazing, unbeatable value.
We did the rounds on printers, blu-ray players, appliances and smaller items like DVDs and CDs. When Shop Savvy couldn't come close, we knew the Black Friday deal was indeed a steal. When Shop Savvy was beating it be tens, or even hundreds, of dollars, we walked away.
After Black Friday, the app has still been a terrific tool in my shopping arsenal. Best Buy once again tempted me with an incredible deal — a 42"Panasonic Plasma, complete with an XBOX 360, Avater game, controller and a few other extras...all for $699.99, over $400 off retail. Wow! We didn't really want the XBOX 360, but at this price, we could buy the whole package, resell the XBOX and make a killing.
But, I wanted to do some checking. Shop Savvy came to the rescue and I discovered the the plasma TV in question was available for $499.99 online. The XBOX 360, $199.99. And the game and accessories, around $100 all in. That's a saving of $100 for the whole package with Best Buy, which is a good deal...but it wasn't worth it for us. We thought we were saving over $400, according to the Best Buy original price. Saving just $100 meant that we could rethink the steal, and reconsider if we really did want plasma or LCD.
Shop Savvy doesn't always work. Sometimes it cannot find a bar code in the system. Sometimes, it takes a while to scan, or you have to manually type in the model number. But it's quick, it's free and it's one of the best price comparison tools I've ever used. Having a tool like this in your pocket gives you the confidence to know when a deal is actually the real deal, or just some over-inflated pricing to try and grab your money while your head spins in a deal frenzy. If you have a smart phone, be it an iPhone, Behold 2, Droid or anything else, I strongly suggest downloading Shop Savvy today. It could be the best free app you ever install.