Last weekend saw the start of my Christmas shopping trips. This year, I have to say I am quite disorganised! Normally I start doing out my list of who I have to buy for in October, thinking I am half way there because I have my 'list' done. Last Friday night I realised before I headed off on a shopping trip with my friends Saturday morning, that I had no list or idea of what to buy for anyone, the stress that induced was a little overwhelming.
The last year that I found myself in a similar predicament, I ended up over-shopping and going way over budget. So Friday evening I thought, there has to be easier way to organise this than a random bit of paper, so I opened up the play store and typed in 'Christmas Shopping'. A free app came up called 'Gift List Planner', so I downloaded that.
The app lets you add your list of who you have to buy for, the 'category' of that person be it your immediate or extended family, friend, neighbour, teacher and 'empty' categories that you can fill in yourself and also your budget for that person & if you have an idea for a present for them. Once I had added all my people that I had to buy for, you can hit the summary icon, which gives you your total estimated budget for your Christmas shopping. A very interesting and frightening feature all at the same time! Setting up each person was a bit tedious, but I had them all done within 10 minutes and felt a lot more relaxed heading off shopping on Saturday with my list on my phone.
You can also update each person once you buy an item, input how much is cost, it will give you a balance on your estimated budget for them. Handy if you are buying a couple of different bits for a person! In the car on the way home on Saturday I updated my list on the app (I wasn't the one driving!) and I found it a little bit satisfying to see that I had managed to get 6 people on my list sorted for Christmas! You can also tick off if the present is wrapped or not! If you check the summary again here, it will show you what you have actually spent against your overall budget, how many people you still have to buy for, *IF* you have gone over budget on estimated budgets gifts and who's present was the most expensive. There are options within the app to purchase 'Advanced Features', which lets you filter out your list to see who you still have to buy for, e.g. your immediate family category. I didn't upgrade to this as I was quite happy with the features of the free app, it did the job for me with regards, organising my list and trying to stick to a budget!
The beauty I think of this app, is if you are money conscious, this helps you to track and stick to your budget. Or even if you never had a budget, this app certainly makes you more aware of what you spend, especially seeing your estimated total and actual total right there written in front of you! Also I found it quite handy if you think of something to get someone, you can quickly whip out your phone, write it under their name in the app, so that you don't forget that 'amazing Christmas present' that your Dad would love! Hope this brings some of you stressed souls some peace when it comes to Christmas shopping!
The app lets you browse, discover, pre-order and purchase mp3's in their new online store.
The app, which is available for free on iOS and android, combines image search and sound search technology with high quality mp3 downloads. What this means for the user, is that say you are browsing in-store, and would like to hear what a certain album/song sounds like, all you have to do is take a picture of the chosen album and the app will bring up the album details and will let you listen to a 30 second clip. Or you have the option of 'sound search', (highlight of the app for me!) which is basically Shazam built into the app, for those who are not familiar with Shazam, the sound search lets your phone listen to music (be it radio/tv/in-store) and will pull up the song/album details and give you the option of purchasing the song or full album.
The app will even match up some 'similar' music/band options for you to discover & browse from your search.
Once you buy online, the mp3's are integrated into the users own iTunes or Windows Media Library on their Mac or PC. HMV have priced their music to match that of iTunes.
According to a statement from the company, the HMV app is the first non-iTunes-based service on Apple's iOS platform to allow the purchase of digital music downloads through a native app.
We are liking the new digital direction HMV are embracing since the company was taken over by Hilco Capital earlier this year and are looking forward to new progressions from HMV.
I have been using this app for quite a while, but it's only since the weekend just gone that I have realised what a gem it truly is.
After meeting up with friends over a coffee, we decided that we should look into booking a city break away in the new year. Normally, one person it left with the task, and a gazillion emails on flight options later we either give up or someone ends up with less hair! Not this time, while we were all there, I took out the phone and opened the Skyscanner app, selected dates that suited us all, inputted the information and in less than a minute, we had our options right in front of us.
Skyscanner is the handiest go-to app for checking flights. Not only is it free for iPhone & android, there are no service charges for booking through Skyscanner either. 'SkyScanner saves you time and money by finding the cheapest flights, fast. It's free, flexible and simple to use'. - Basically, it does exactly what it says on the tin!
It is so easy to use, just input where you are looking to fly to and where from, it even lets you have a wide search, so instead of selecting Dublin, you can select Ireland, and it will pull up flights from all suitable airports in Ireland flying to your destination.
You can also filter your results by price, airline and take-off and landing times. Skyscanner has the option of chart view, which lets you see prices for flights across a particular week or month.
For those feeling a bit more adventurous, you can select the 'anywhere' destination, choose your travel dates, and it will show you what countries are available and the cheapest price for flights to that country. How much time does that save you jumping back and forth on Ryanair's app looking for the cheapest city break for a particular weekend?? A lot, plus your nerves will stay intact ;) For that reason alone, this app gets my vote!
Skyscanner will give you your journey breakdown, showing which airline carrier, flight departing/arrival times, flight duration and of course the price per person, in a simple eye scanning layout.
Once you have chosen your flight, Skyscanner gives you the option of sharing flight information (through email, social media, text etc., handy if you are researching that group city break!) or booking the flights. Once you hit 'book', Skyscanner will redirect you to the airline carrier to continue with your purchase.
So have you any plans yet for the October bank holiday?! Skyscanner may give you a few options ;)