6 actually useful smartphone apps to get you through Black Friday

Gracefully navigate the shopping madness by doing a little prep work on your iPhone or Android before you leave the house

Fat Wallet iPhone app
(Image credit: itunes.apple.com)

Ah, the holidays! Big-box stores compete with online behemoths for customers, while customers compete with each other to get the best Black Friday savings. And, in a new digital twist, Black-Friday-focused apps are competing with one another for downloads. Developers are creating all sorts of helpful ways for customers to sniff out bargains, track spending, and manage their nephew's wish list. Now that The Week has advised you on Black Friday "deals" to avoid, here's a rundown of some of the more helpful apps out there:

Black Friday by BradsDeals

The folks behind BradsDeals.com, a site known for tracking down coupons and discounts, put together this helpful Black Friday app that shows you all the leaked ads and discounted items from 100 major retailers like Sears, Kohls, and Macy's. Who needs a newspaper? (iPhone-only)

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Black Friday Deal Finder by Fat Wallet

Search for deals using variables like free shipping, doorbusters, online availability, rebates, and more. Useful for planning but also recommended for any quick-witted shopper who wants to do in-store product comparisons. (iPhone-only)

Black Friday app from DealNews

Both PC World and PC Magazine voted DealNews tops in its category thanks to its exhaustive, well-organized catalog. Like the other apps, this one lets you browse "leaked" and "confirmed" ads from major retailers so you can plot out your plan of attack beforehand. (iPhone, Android)

ShopSavvy Barcode Scanner

Use your phone's camera to scan products for instant price comparisons — no need to painstakingly input your search queries while angry shoppers slam you with their carts. If there's a better deal around you or online, this app will let you know. (iPhone, Android)

Wunderlist

Was it your nephew Charlie who wanted the new Call of Duty game? Or was that your boss' son Jimmy? Instead of checking your list twice, try WunderList, a super-simple task management tool that syncs lists on your desktop, iPhone, and more. (iPhone, Android)

Mint.com Personal Finance

The whirlwind holiday shopping season can make it difficult to keep your finances in check. One solution: Mint, a virtual-money manager that automatically keeps tabs on your bank and credit card accounts to help you master your budget with a friendly, easy-to-use interface. Best of all, it's useful well after January rolls around; no wonder TIME Magazine named it one of the 50 best iPhone apps out there. (iPhone, Android)

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