9 smartphone apps for a happier holiday season


Holiday shopping apps

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They say the holiday season ranks as one of the most stressful times of the year. It doesn’t have to be that way. These 9 smartphone and tablet apps will help you get the most fun and least frustration out of your family gatherings this season.


1. Price check

Found a great deal at your local brick-and-mortar store? Before you swipe your credit card, scan the item’s barcode to check online prices and customer reviews to make sure you’re not missing out on something better. Some retailers will even match a better price found online!
App: ShopSavvy
Price: Free
Available for: Android, iOS, Windows Phone


2. Gift list

Make sure you don’t forget a gift for your third-cousin twice-removed, or you know, anyone more important on your holiday shopping list. Use this app to create a list of gift recipients, and then to track your budget, purchases and gift ideas for the hard-to-shop-for people you love. In addition to checking your list twice, you can store everything from photos of the gifts to receipts in Evernote.
App: Evernote
Price: Free
Available for: Android, Blackberry, iOS, Windows Phone


3. Budget breakdown

Avoid a holiday hangover when your credit card bills come due by tracking your spending during the spree. This personal finance app helps keep gift-giving in perspective — and maybe it can help with that New Years Resolution to finally figure out a budget, too.
App: Mint
Price: Free
Available for: Android, iOS


4. Travel guide

Whether you’re driving down the street or flying across the country like Santa on his sleigh, chances are you’ll leave your home at some point this holiday season. Avoid hassles of being hungry or hotel-less in an unknown city and most of your travel plans by pocketing this travel guide on your phone. If your travels include a flight or stop in a major city, Trip Advisor also offers Seat Guru and Gate Guru for flight info, and standalone city guides for many major metro areas.
App: Trip Advisor
Price: Free
Available for: Android, iOS, Nokia, Windows


5. Family photographer

You won’t miss a moment of family memories when your camera is inside your phone. But convenience doesn’t always translate to optimal phone photo-taking conditions. Before you share the crying-on-santa’s-lap episode with family, keep the low lights and red eyes at bay by running the image through this Google-powered photo-editing app. You can spruce up any picture automatically or manually, or add an artistic flair for fun.
App: Snapseed
Price: Free
Available for: Android, iOS


6. Tasty how-to

Most families have cookie recipes and traditions passed on from generation to generation. This year, give back to Grandma with a tasty take on traditional desserts via Martha Stewart. Don’t worry about biting off more than you can chew; this Apple-only app includes plenty of visuals, including photos and video. Sweet!
App: Martha Stewart Makes Cookies
Price: $1.99
Available for: iOS


7. Calorie counter

You won’t feel so bad about eating that slice of pumpkin pie when you compare it to the calories in the cookies you didn’t consume. Track your turkey intake with a calorie counter to help maintain a tasteful figure despite the holiday season's many temptations.
App: MyFitnessPal
Price: Free
Available for: Android, Blackberry, iOS, Windows Phone


8. Weather watchdog

Whether you’re bundling up children to face the sledding hill or deciding when to travel, the weather will play a starring role in your holiday decision. Keep the temperatures and wind chill on your radar with this all-encompassing weather app.
App: WeatherBug
Price: Free
Available for: Android, Blackberry, iOS, Windows Phone


9. Home helper

Murphy was on to something with the whole “whatever can go wrong, will” rule — at least when you invite a dozen or more people over for a nice meal. The Angie’s List app can help line up a house cleaning service before the guests arrive and connect you with a local plumber when someone jams your garbage disposal or, even worse, the toilet. Even on a holiday, we won’t leave you holding the plunger.
App: Angie’s List
Price: Free (Android version requires paid membership)
Available for: Android, iOS


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This article was written by Meranda Adams, Senior Editor for Angie’s List.