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According to the National Retail Federation, 152 million shoppers plan on braving the Black Friday crowds this weekend and will spend an estimated $465.6 billion at retail outlets during the 2011 holiday shopping season—a 2.8 percent increase over 2010.

Widely recognized as the busiest shopping day of the year, retailers nationwide will open their doors in the early morning hours on Friday to kick off the 2011 holiday shopping season with special Black Friday promotions designed to entice shoppers into opening their wallets and taking advantage of deals that are simply too good to pass up.

Black Friday is two days away, so to give you a head start we’re giving you five free Black Friday apps to help you find the best deals and get the most bang for your buck this holiday shopping season.

1. TGI Black Friday by Ecatcher, Inc.

Powered by TGIblackfriday.com and DealCatcher.com, this app is a standard staple for any die-hard Black Friday deal enthusiast. TGI Black Friday takes the guesswork out of planning your holiday shopping lists by tracking the latest Black Friday ads from Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Amazon.com, Macy’s and many more. Favorite features:

  • Search by outlet and by category for more than 10,000 Black Friday deals
  • Personal shopping list to track and check off as you shop
  • Share favorite deals via email, Facebook or Twitter
  • Price comparisons to ensure you’re getting the best possible deal

[Related Article: Credit Cards That Love Black Friday]

2. RedLaser by eBay Inc.

Don’t want to hassle with searching through pages of Black Friday deals? Try RedLaser’s barcode scanner to quickly search thousands of online and local retailers to find product descriptions, reviews and detailed price results from Google, The Find, eBay, Shipping.com, Half.com and others. You scan, RedLaser does the rest. Favorite features:

  • Scans even without auto-focus, super easy and intuitive
  • List feature to create shopping, wish and gift lists to share with family and friends
  • In-app checkout lets you purchase directly from within the app from select stores

3. Shopping by The Find

While not specific to Black Friday only, this app is hands down a must have for the savvy budget conscious shopper. Featured in the Wall Street Journal, NY Times, CNET, CNN, Forbes, Smart Money and more—this is one app you’ll use well after the 2011 holiday shopping season ends. Favorite features:

  • No ads
  • Provides coupon codes and shipping deals for each product
  • Allows you to set price alerts so you never miss out on a deal

[Resource: 10 Holiday Spending Tips to Avoid Post-Holiday Debt]

4. Black Friday by FatWallet.com

Powered by FatWallet.com’s Black Friday Deal Finder, this app promises to help you keep tabs on the latest Black Friday deals as they’re released. With more than 20,000 listings from 100+ stores, you’ll be able to “search, save, share and shop” ’til you drop for this season’s best deals. Favorite features:

  • Alerts you each time a new store ad is leaked or made available to the public
  • Flag your favorites to use in-store as a quick reference and comparison guide
  • Filter searches by brand, price, rebate offers, door busters and free shipping offers
  • Create and save custom lists at FatWallet.com for quick access through the app

5. Black Friday App by dealnews.com

Created by the folks at dealnews.com, this app lets you browse the latest Black Friday ads (leaks and confirmed deals) all in one location. A clean and simple, easy-to-use app available for both iPhone and Android users. The best thing about the Black Friday App by dealnews.com? Their tagline says it all: Where every day is Black Friday™ —this app will keep you up-to-date on the best deals year round. Favorite features:

  • Save your favorite deals to create your own shopping list
  • Buy online directly from the retailer (when available)
  • Find the nearest store for your favorite deal
  • Share your favorite ads and deals via email, Twitter and Facebook

Black Friday is arguably one of the craziest shopping days of the year, but with a little help from the right app and proper planning, you can score some incredible deals and save yourself a small fortune this holiday shopping season. Have a favorite app that we’ve missed? Share it in comments section below!

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iPhone Image: Chris De Jabet, Flickr.com

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