These nine free mobile apps will help you save time and money when shopping for gifts. Thinkstock By Cameron Huddleston, Former Online Editor November 24, 2014 If you're serious about getting the best deals this holiday season, you need to be prepared before you shop. This doesn't mean you have to spend hours sorting through the ads for sales on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, looking for coupons or visiting multiple retailers to compare prices. The secret to getting big bargains on your holiday gifts can be as simple as downloading apps for your mobile devices and using them as you do your holiday shopping. Here are nine great free apps that can help you find the best deals during holiday sales, compare prices with ease, score coupons and discounted gift cards, and keep track of your purchases. SEE ALSO: 15 Web Sites for Finding Deals Online Black Friday apps Black Friday 2014 (Android, Apple) from DealNews lets you search by store or category to see all the deals retailers are offering on Black Friday and the hours they will be open. The best feature of this app is its analysis of top retailers' Black Friday ads, including the deals that are worthwhile and those that aren't. Black Friday (Android, Apple) from FatWallet shows stores' actual Black Friday ad scans. You can search for deals by category and keywords, or sort by lowest price, most popular and most recent. It tells you whether the deal is available on Thanksgiving, Black Friday or to buy now because the current price is as good or better than the ad scan price. If you want to buy now, you can purchase products through the app (by being linked to retailers' sites). Advertisement Black Friday 2014 App (Android, Apple) from Slickdeals draws upon its community of bargain hunters to provide a list of the top-rated Black Friday deals. Users also can view stores' ad scans, search for deals by category and participate in discussions about Black Friday shopping. Coupon apps Coupon Sherpa (Android, Apple) offers hundreds of coupons from major retailers, restaurants and local businesses. If you're out shopping, you can click on stores in the "in-store" list to see which are offering coupons. Simply show the sales clerk the coupon code or barcode when you make a purchase. You also can bookmark coupons for future shopping trips. It also has coupon codes for online purchases and a list of hot deals. RetailMeNot Coupons (Android, Apple) has thousands of coupons from a long list of retailers that you simply show the cashier at checkout for savings. You can search for coupons by store or category (such as clothing, electronics, food and travel), or just peruse the day's hot deals. You also can sign up to get alerts when there are deals at nearby malls. Discount gift card app Raise (Apple) lets you buy discounted gift cards on the spot. So if you're out shopping, you can search by brand name, highest discount and nearby stores to find gift cards for less than face value and redeem them instantly to score even more savings on purchases. Price comparison apps PriceGrabber (Android, Apple) helps you find the lowest prices by allowing you to search by product name or by scanning product barcodes. And you can set up alerts to be notified when the price of a product drops. The app also rounds up local deals in 160 metro areas from sites such as LivingSocial. Advertisement RedLaser (Android, Apple, Windows Phone) lets you scan the barcodes of items in stores to find out if they’re selling for less at other retailers or online. This app also lets you scan the barcodes from store loyalty cards and keep them all in one place. Shopping assistant app Slice (Android, Apple) helps online shoppers stay organized. It alerts you when the price drops on an item you've bought so you can get money back from retailers that offer price adjustments, tracks purchases you've made online and sends notifications when they're about to arrive, and keeps your e-receipts organized in case you need them for returns.