The holidays are no longer right around the corner -- they're upon us. Whether you're waiting patiently in a long line of shoppers at your favorite store, looking for the next deal, at home on the couch with your loved ones, or stuffed to the gills with turkey, you're sure to have your Android smartphone or iPhone close by.
Here are the best apps to have at your fingertips to see you through the season. Even better: they're free. Most apps featured below are available for iOS and Android devices.
The new newsnet5 app: Of course, we've got to plug our own app, too! Get the latest local news, weather, traffic and more. If you have it already, make sure you've updated - it's a whole new experience. (And the iPad app is now free, too!)
GasBuddy: This might not be the newest app on the block, but you can't beat GasBuddy for the most comprehensive look at gas prices in your area, sure to help in a season of heavy travel. Just type in your zip code, and discover where you can find the cheapest gas.
Groupon/Living Social: These similar sites offer 50 to 90 percent off deals on popular products and things to do based on your area. Great for entertaining visitors in your hometown, or getting a nice hotel or massage on the cheap over the holidays. Deals include, but aren't limited to, travel, restaurant discounts, electronics, fashion and events.
MYHABIT/ Rue La La/ Gilt: These sites offer daily sales events on designer brands, often for serious discounts. MYHABIT offers free shipping and 360 degree views of many items. Rue La La offers one-tap checkout and free shipping for 30 days after paying once. Gilt sales are curated to follow the latest fashion trends.
These apps are the way to get your hands on luxury brands without paying luxurious prices. Be sure to monitor the sales daily -- a downside of the great deals is they often sell out fast.
RedLaser: RedLaser gives you the ability to scan barcodes with your smartphone to compare prices for the same item at different stores. Reviews for many products, as well as coupon circulars and store hours, are also available.
Shopkick: This is one to have in your back pocket when Black Friday shopping. Similar to Pinterest or Instagram, you can see most-loved items at selected retailers in your area. As an added perk, you can earn "kicks" for walking into certain stores, such as Target or Best Buy. These "kicks" are points that add up and can be redeemed for gift cards. Visually stunning.
Ibotta: Shopping can actually put cash into your pocket (really!). By buying featured products, you can earn cash with Ibotta that can be put in a PayPal account, or can be put towards gift cards. You can use Ibotta with stores such as Target, Kroger, Walmart, Whole Foods and more.
You can also "engage to earn" and earn small amounts of money by watching videos about your favorite products or reading nutrition information. For example, buying a People magazine at Target can earn you $1, while taking a one-question poll about Wasa crispbread through Sam's Club is worth 25 cents.
This app isn't going to work very well as a get-rich-quick scheme, but those quarters could add up to a small amount of holiday savings.
Apps Gone Free: AppAdvice.com experts curate a list of normally paid apps that they then feature for free. There are between five to 10 apps featured each day. This is a great way to try out that game that looks like a lot of fun, but you don't want to shell out $5.99 for.
Apps Gone Free for iOS (http://bit.ly/1iiO1cr)