Top 20 sites, services, apps for online shopping

6:12 AM, Nov 26, 2012   |    comments
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Want to score outrageously brag-worthy bargains this holiday season? Then skip the mall mayhem. From making a list and checking it twice, here are the very best sites, services, and no-brainer tech tools to login, load-up, and start saving now.

1.Better Christmas List

Smartphone app organizes your gift list and keeps an eye on your budget

Ditch that coffee-stained list you scrawled out on the back of an envelope and take a page from the tech-savvy Santa playbook with the app Better Christmas List. Having this easy, intuitive, budget-conscious gift organizer in the palm of your hand is like having your own personal Elf. Just download it, take a few minutes to type in your gift list or simply link it to your address book, organize it by groups (family, friends, co-workers), and set a budget. It even has a password-protected option to make sure your tech savvy kids don't take a peek.

2. Dealnews

Best of the latest crop of deals delivered straight to your screen

Dealnews.com is the answer to that inevitable online holiday bargain-hunting question, where do I start? It's a free website dedicated to sorting out the best deals available on the hottest gifts, such as TV's, tablets, and tablets. It sifts through some 2,000 retailers to pinpoint the best bargains, verifies them, triple-checks that the prices are really as low as they can find, then posts them on the site. If you're on the hunt for one specific gadget or gift, be sure to sign up to get an email alert. Also, check out a similar site, Brads Deals.

3. AVG Anti-Virus Free 2012

Quick security sweep to fend off holiday hackers and thieves

Cyber-scrooges are out in full force, armed with all kinds of new ways to rob you blind. Before you pull out that plastic and start spending, be sure your computer, laptop, or mobile device is virus and malware free, and that you're as protected as possible. AVG Anti-Virus is a top-notch free option, although I often recommend people upgrade to full protection all year 'round. Also, take a few minutes and create bomb-proof passwords, install updates, make sure any site where you're entering credit card information begins with https, stay off public Wi-Fi, password protect all of your devices, and be sure to brush-up on the latest scams.

4. Decide

Deal or no deal? This site and mobile app helps predict, analyze and decide whether to buy now or wait

How do you know when that door-buster deal's worth all the fuss? Decide can help you answer the, buy now or wait, kinds of questions in a snap. It runs a particular item through the retail ringer - including historical best time to buy data, price fluctuations and comparable items. Download the free app and take it with you whenever you actually set foot in an electronics aisle near you.

5. Techbargains

Electronics sale tracking site with price comparisons, coupons, and great deals

Techbargains is an online deals site for electronics, like a Ross Dress For Less is for saving on clothes. The site collects all of the best sales, coupon and promo codes on popular tech items like laptops, tablets, TVs, smartphones, and digital cameras. Rather than spending hours surfing the web for "what's on sale where," you can just start here.

6. Slickdeals

Community driven bargain hunting site and app great for finding electronics deals

Slickdeals.net is similar to Techbargains, in that it provides deals, coupons, and savings on hot tech toys and tools. But at Slickdeals, bargain-hunters tell each other where to find the best deals. It's like having a whole team of personal sales-spotters working for you. I like the way the site is laid out, and how easy it is to use to find exactly what you're looking for. Add to all of this a little bit of adrenaline and gaming, because you have to jump on the sale before it disappears. Half of the daily ads are sold out by the end of the day.

7. Best Decision

Social shopping app that lets your friends weigh in and allows you to check out, with one shopping cart

The Best Decision app is like Decide.com, with a personal twist. It connects you directly with your friends, so that you can get their opinion on something before you buy it. It also syncs up with your social network to help you find the right products, prices and features, either nearby or online. A new feature also lets you buy from two dozen different stores, like Wal-Mart, Amazon and Gilt, using a single shopping cart. Getting your friends blessing before you buy that new HDTV? Worth it's weight in gold. Entering all your checkout information just one time for all your online shopping? Priceless.

7. Wantful

Gorgeous online gift-giving wizard helps you find the perfect gift

Intending to give someone the perfect present is one thing. Actually shopping, finding, remembering, wrapping and sending the gift is another issue all together. Enter Wantful, a new online gift-givers - and receivers - dream come true. Sign up for free, answer a few questions about the person you're shopping for, and let Wantful create a customized catalogue with 16 different gifts that the receiver can then choose from. The catalog is either sent through the mail or via email, along with a card, explaining to the recipient that they can pick their pleasure. Everyone wins!

8. PriceBlink

Provides instant, automatic price comparisons from 4,000-plus merchants.

Once you get an idea of what to buy, a price comparison site like PriceBlink, eBay Sidebar, Invisible Hand, or Button for Amazon makes sure you're finding it for the best possible price. Each is an extension that does the hard task of automatically finding the best and lowest prices when you're shopping.

9. Karma

Send "real" gifts from an app on your phone to friends via text, Facebook, or e-mail

Forgot a gift and you need it for tomorrow? Or you just logged into Facebook and see that it's your office-mate's Birthday? The Karma App will help you give a great gift in about five minutes. In fact, you could get all of your holiday your shopping done in about ten minutes using this beautifully designed social gift-giving app. It lets you choose from a variety of swanky gifts like a $50 spa package, wines, and food baskets.

10. Greentoe

Name your own price electronics e-tailer

You want a new HDTV for the holidays, but don't want to spend more than $300? Then go to Greentoe, name the price they're willing to pay for that new electronics must-have, and the site's certified retail partners decide whether to match the offer. It works for Priceline and the travel industry, so why not electronics too? The site features 15,000 products from smaller retailers such as Electronics Express, Focus Camera, and from the Amazon Marketplace.

Click to see 11-20

USA Today

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