Comparison shopping is one of the best way to save money, but sometimes being short on time outweighs being short on cash. The Red Laser iPhone application costs only $1.99 and can save you time and money.
The application works by using the camera on the phone to scan an item's bar code. The bar code is read and the phone searches on the Internet for the best price. Within 5 or 10 seconds the cheapest online price is right at your fingertips.
We took the app to Best Buy to see how well it worked. A DVD from the R&B artist Usher was listed at $24.99 in Best Buy but when we scanned the bar code with Red Laser we found it for $12.99. Which website had the cheapest price? Bestbuy.com - believe it or not!
There were other products that were more expensive in the Best Buy store than they were at bestbuy.com including a Sony Cybershot camera that was $35 cheaper on the store's website. There are Internet kiosks in the store that allow you to search bestbuy.com to see if cheaper prices are available on line and Best Buy says they'll match the online prices in the store if you bring it to the cashier's attention. It's not a bad idea to use the kiosks to bargain shop even if you don't have an iPhone.
Other products were more expensive at Best Buy than they were online. A Uniden cordless phone set for $99.99 at Best Buy was $87.99 on amazon.com.
Other deals didn't pan out, like a 26" LG HDTV. It was about $50 less expensive on the iPhone app than in Best Buy but when you add in $45 for shipping and handling a sizable discount becomes just $5.
One shopper outside of Toys R Us let us look in her shopping cart and see if we could find any deals on the iPhone. Most of what Andrea Pellicone purchased for her son and daughter was cheaper at Toys R Us than it was on the iPhone app. Out of 4 or 5 toys there was only one good deal we found on the iPhone, a Nintendo DS game that was about 40 percent cheaper online than at the store.
Pellicone was impressed, "I would use it for the kids stuff and gifts absolutely, I'm a bargain shopper."