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Keep your cool this Yule! 4 helpful holiday apps

Dec. 5, 2013 at 7:42 AM ET

Video: Mario Armstrong demonstrates a few apps that could make your life easier this holiday season, including one that keeps track of all your online purchases and alerts you if there is a price drop.

There’s a lot to keep track of during the holiday season! 

First there’s the shopping part, which has already started for most of you (I hope!) and is a huge hassle by itself. Then you add holiday parties and decorating into the mix and you've got a recipe for getting stressed out. 

Thankfully if you’re willing to download just a few apps you can save time, money and relieve a great deal of stress this holiday season.

Uber

This car service app helps you get a ride and you can pay right on your smartphone. 

But check out this limited time feature: Dec. 5 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Uber has teamed up with Home Depot in 10 participating cities to deliver netted LIVE Christmas trees straight to your house! And the best part? You can order, pay and arrange delivery straight from your smartphone. How cool is that? They even include the tree stand, so once it arrives… Bam! You’re good to go.

Simply open the Uber app and select the new “UberTREE” option. It costs $135, and it will charged to your credit card via your Uber account (sorry, no refunds!). A quick heads-up, the trees will be dropped off at the first point of entry to your building, so that could mean your front door, the lobby of your building or the front gate. Uber won’t be setting it up or decorating it for you, although that would be AWESOME! 

If you’re looking to save some time and avoid long lines, this could be a huge weight off of your shoulders! 

Slice

OK, so you’ve got the tree. How are you dealing with all of those online purchases you’ve made? At this point, you’ve probably spent at least a week shopping online at different times of the day on different sites, and now you’ve got tons of receipts to track as well as tons of packages and deliveries coming in all the time.

Before you start feeling overwhelmed, download the Slice app. Slice automatically tracks everything you buy online! Set-up and use is super simple too, because it works by scanning your email inbox and organizing all those pesky e-receipts from the items you buy. The app even notifies you when there is a price drop of the item you purchased, so you can call up the retailer and get some money back! It’s like having your own personal elf to assist you with your shopping organization.

RedLaser

Now that you’ve gotten the tree and your receipts under control, it’s time to start worrying about the money you’re spending on the rest of your gifts. If you’re like me, you want to get EVERYTHING cheaper and you won’t spend a penny more than you have to. Enter RedLaser, a free app that transforms your phone into the ultimate barcode scanner.

There are two great ways to use this app. First, if you are looking to find the best price while you’re shopping in a store, simply scan the product’s barcode and RedLaser will tell you where the best prices are, automatically comparing the costs at your local brick-and-mortar stores as well as prices online. The app even gives you the option to buy that item directly from your phone!

The second way I use RedLaser is for price matching. Let’s say you are in a store, scan an item, and find that a different store is advertising a lower price. Now, take your phone up to the register and see if the clerk (or a manager!) will match the lower price! If they won’t, no worries, you can still order the item from the other store right there and then on your phone. You’ll never walk away from a purchase worried that you didn’t get the best deal again.

Drync

Now it’s time to relax and have a “Drync!”

Drync is an app that will make it super simple to keep track of all the different wines you taste at restaurants and parties throughout the holiday season! Plus, Drync has some killer features that will help you rate, and even purchase the wines you love.

It’s so easy to use. You simply scan the label of a bottle of wine. Once Drync finds your wine, it shows you prices, allows you to rate the wine and even gives you space to take some notes so when you check back in later you’ll remember exactly why you loved a certain wine!

Once you’ve discovered and added some wines that you love, Drync sorts all of that info under its “My Wines” tab where it includes a picture of the label and the price. The best part? You can now order those wines directly from your iPhone and have them shipped to your home (or to someone else’s if you are giving it as a gift!) There are different flat rate charges that vary depending on how many bottles you order, but if you snag a dozen or more bottles, shipping is FREE!

Two other details you need to know, you have to buy minimum of two bottles for delivery, and the shipment has to be signed for by someone that is at least 21 years old.

So there you go — apps really can make our lives better, and relieve some stress too! I already feel a whole lot better and I know you will too! Happy Holidays!

Digital lifestyle expert Mario Armstrong is a technology contributor to TODAY. Read more from him at marioarmstrong.com and follow him on Twitter @marioarmstrong and on Facebook.

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