Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Save money this holiday season with tech-smart tips

Apps, websites can help you track lower prices instantly.

First Published Dec 19 2012 11:30 am • Last Updated Apr 08 2013 11:33 pm

With these strategies and secrets from Good Housekeeping financial guru Carmen Wong Ulrich, you’ll be able to spread more joy this holiday season, with less cash.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a techie, you owe it to yourself to check out three tech-savvy helpers. As you’ll see, your computer and smartphone can help save you time, hassle and money during this jolly season:

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Springpad • Keep track of your holiday lists and get the best possible prices with a little help from Springpad (springpad.com; available on iPhone and Android, free). Using the app or the website, you can drag items into however many virtual gift lists you decide to create. Springpad sends you alerts to tell you when and exactly where prices for your selected items have been lowered, or if coupons or other special offers have become available.

Ulrich decided to check it out by tracking a toy for her daughter, the Crayola Color Wonder Sound Studio. It was first listed at $35, but she received an alert a day later that she could nab it for $17.38 through the end of the month.

Amazon Wish List • This tool enables you to make gift lists and monitor price reductions on amazon.com’s mega-marketplace. Your friends and family can share links to the lists of presents they hope to receive. You can click on whatever gifts you’re thinking about getting them, easily creating your own list. Amazon will rack the items on your master list and tell you when their prices drop.

Ulrich followed a new Keurig Special Edition B60 Brewing System. At first the lowest price was $135, which was already almost 50 percent off the suggested retail price. Then, two days later, the price dropped another $5 — not a huge amount, but saving that much on every single gift on your list could add up to one very merry holiday.

RedLaser and ShopSavvy • These helpful apps, (redlaser.com and shopsavvy.com; available on iPhone and Android, free) allow smartphone users to scan bar codes while trolling the aisles at a store; then they magically track down lower prices — whether online, at other retailers, or even at the very same store, thanks to special discount codes and the like. It’s a brilliant way to avoid endless shopping around (plus the cost of gas) or the hours of Web surfing when you’re looking for that special gift.

On another matter • Avoid this sneaky retail trick. Retail stores have a clever way to get you to spend more through the "decoy effect." Behavioral research conducted by Dan Ariely at Duke University has shown that when customers are given a choice between two products, one of which is priced lower and is of lower quality, they’ll often choose the cheaper one. But when a third (decoy) item is introduced at an even higher price, shoppers are more likely to opt for the mid-priced one — that is, adding another product nudges shoppers up the price scale instead of making them stick with the bargain buy. So think carefully when you see a display of products at varied prices, and hold steady at the price you can afford.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.