It’s that time of the year again. When every free waking hour is either spent scouring the internet for gift ideas or trying to find a place to park at the mall. This holiday shopping season, use social media and technology to make your life easier.

Be social. Now more than ever. It’s an easy way to not only find great deals, but to share them with friends and family. Here are some hints and benefits to help you this season:

  • Follow your favorite stores and brands on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Post about great deals and purchases you made while shopping.
  • Check friends’ Facebook walls and Twitter handles to learn about deals.
  • Social media is helpful in earning first-mover advantage at stores.
  • Stay instantly updated on flash sales, discounts, or limited-time offers.

And, when you’re ready to shop ’til you drop, get those smartphones and tablets out (but charge them first), download these apps, check out these websites, and click away!

  • Google Shopper: access to prices, consumer ratings, and reviews using barcode-scanning capability.
  • PriceGrabber: reviews for online merchants with the ability to set a notification for when prices for a product have been met
  • Shop Savvy: referred to as “the leading mobile shopping assistant”
  • Black Friday by BradsDeals: buy Black Friday deals directly from your phone and have instant access to every Black Friday ad out there
  • RedLaser: the global leader in mobile shopping and scanning with options to shop locally, organize loyalty cards, save favorites, and compare prices.

Other great sites and apps to check out are: 8coupons, Mashalot, Dealupa, BuyVia, SaleSorter, Catalog Spree, and Amazon’s Price Check!

The mall, shopping outlets, and retail stores can be a real battlefield during the holiday season. Your best weapon will undoubtedly be social media and smartphone applications. You’ll save time, money, and some of your sanity.