How to find the best prices

By J. Carlton Collins, CPA

Q. I like to double-check prices before purchasing common items. Which app do you recommend for this purpose?

A. Dozens of free price-checking apps are available to help you instantly price-check items by scanning an item's bar code. Previously, I've used both the Amazon and Walmart apps for this purpose. One advantage of the Walmart app is the Savings Catcher, which, after you shop at Walmart, allows you to scan your receipt within seven days to compare the prices you paid against major competitors' advertised deals. If the app finds that you overpaid for any item, you automatically receive the difference in the form of a Walmart Rewards eGift Card. A few other free price-checking apps include:

  • ShopSavvy will not only check an item's price, but it will also alert you if it finds a lower advertised price for that item over the next several days.
  • Purchx not only checks prices, but it also gives you reviews so you can make more informed buying decisions.
  • ScanLife provides price checks and reviews and allows you to earn gift card rewards when using the app.
  • Amazon Flow not only checks items' prices based on the product's bar code, but according to the company, it can also recognize tens of millions of items on sight. For example, I aimed the app at the camera lens that happened to be sitting on my desk and the app immediately recognized the lens and displayed the screen pictured below.

Amazon Flow can also recognize and dial phone numbers on business cards, identify books by their covers, and instantly link you to websites based on URL images. This type of image recognition is usually faster and easier than scanning a product's bar code, so it's more convenient to use.

It's hard to say which price-checking app is best, but there is no law against loading two or more of these free apps on your smartphone to help you become a savvier shopper.

About the author

J. Carlton Collins ( is a technology consultant, a CPE instructor, and a JofA contributing editor.

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