Couponing apps are like your “little helpers” when going shopping.
They allow you to collect coupons while you are making out your shopping list.
They even send you alerts while you’re out shopping, to remind you of an item that has a hot deal going on (while you’re in that very store!)
Below are a few of the most popular couponing apps, and how you can best use them.
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Most couponing apps feature promoted items, and offer cash back when you purchase them.
You “activate” the offer, and then when you purchase the item, you receive the cash back.
This can be done in a couple of ways, depending on the app —
- Some apps are linked to your store rewards card, requiring no additional effort on your part. Once the purchase is sent from the store card to the app, you will be awarded the cash back.
- Some apps want you to scan a receipt with your phone once you’ve made the purchase, so they can see that you actually bought the item.Once the scanned receipt is validated, you will receive the cash back amount to your account.
In a way, this process is like applying a coupon after the fact.
And depending on the item, you can usually get anywhere from 25 cents to a few dollars per coupon.
Below are couponing apps that I have tried, and my experiences with them.
Keepin’ it old school and need a way to organize your paper coupons? Try this:
All in all, I’ve easily earned money over the past few months, for doing nothing more than:
1) activating the online coupons and
2) scanning my receipts.
This was by purchasing items I already planned on buying to begin with.
So seriously — what’s there to lose?
- You can view items by Category or by Store
- Then add to your “shopping list” for reference later
- Note if there is an item limit — some coupons can be used multiple times, whereas others can only be used once
- Purchase item, scan receipt with your phone
- This app can also be used with online retailers — you scan the itemized packing receipt from your online purchase
- Can link loyalty card for preferred partners, instead of manually scanning receipts. (Note: The available partners for this function are limited. None of the stores that I use in the Northeast qualify for this service.)
- Cash out once your account reaches $20
- Cash can be received by physical check, or have deposited through PayPal
Format: App or Web
Current earnings: $61.80
- First off, find offers by store, and then add them to your list
- Purchase items in store (or online, if using mobile in-app purchase deal)
- Redeem offers by scanning receipt with app
- Allows you to connect to Facebook, and join “teams”. The better your team does, the more bonuses & rewards you can earn. If you don’t have a ton of friends on Facebook who use ibotta, there are a number of Facebook groups that you can join to find teammates.
- The Mobile Shopping Offers give you cash back for a percentage of what you spend online at certain retailers (similar to Ebates.) Examples of online stores are Amazon, Groupon, iTunes, Jet.
- You cannot submit packing invoices as receipts from online retailers (like you can with Checkout 51.) In order to get cash back for shopping online, you need to do it directly through the ibotta app.
- You can cash out once your account reaches $20.
- Cash can be received via PayPal or venmo, or you can redeem for a gift card.
Format: App only
Current earnings: $41.32
- Find exclusive deals on food that is organic, natural, gluten-free or non-GMO.
- Purchase item in store, and redeem offers by scanning receipt with app.
- Some items require that you also scan the barcode to show it qualifies.
- There is no store list, and you are not restricted by where you buy the items. You just need a receipt showing that you made the specific purchase.
- Purchases can be made in store or online (see FAQs for details on how to submit online order proof).
- Cash is redeemed through PayPal or for a gift card.
- Unfortunately, I have no real experience with using this couponing app, other than doing the research above. My family does not typically eat this type of food on a regular basis, therefore haven’t had the opportunity to redeem these deals. Although I will be sure to make an update if this changes going forward.
Format: App only
Current earnings: $0 (<– Just trying to keep it real — depending on your personal situation, they can’t all be winners!)
- Earn reward points called “kicks”, then redeem for gift cards
- In order to earn kicks, you need to be physically in the store, and scan a qualifying item while you are in there. (Can’t buy the item, and then scan it when you are back home.)
- You can also earn kicks for “walk ins”, where the app can tell you are in a particular store.
- Another way to earn kicks is by viewing the ads on the mobile app. You can earn extra kicks by visiting online
stores, viewing products, and making mobile purchases. A lot of times, there are hidden surprises within the app. If you scroll through an ad, there could be a hidden “surprise” at the bottom, where you get free kicks.
- Kicks can also be earned by submitting receipts for specific items. However, these items are pretty limited. Compared to other receipt scanning apps, this is not one of the best use of your time.
- If you use Shopkick, then your focus should be on in-store kicks, rather than submitting receipts after the fact.
- Watching in-app videos can also help you to earn kicks. In this way, Shopkick is a little like Swagbucks, where you are compensated for spending time viewing ads.
Format: App only
Current earnings: 1,271 kicks
(500 kicks = $2 gift card)
- Find offers by store, and activate in app
- Purchase item in store, scan receipt
- Or link credit card for making purchases
- Savings redeemed into your account
- You only need to earn $5 in order to cash out
- You can cash out by depositing directly into your bank account, PayPal, for a gift card or donating to charity
- Don’t forget to cash out — If your account is inactive for 180 days in a row, they assess a $3.99 monthly fee against any savings that happens to be sitting in your account.
Format: App or Web
Current earnings: $37.92
Hopefully this will help you to decide which rebate apps might be worth your while in planning your shopping trips.
Do you have any other go-to apps to help save money when grocery shopping?
Feel free to share, and hit me up with some comments —
Robin is a full-time business professional who has worked in the financial services industry for over 20 years. She is also a personal finance blogger who shares her first hand experience with the struggles of money and debt. On Mastering the Side Jam, she focuses on ways to maximize efficiencies to make & save money, pay off debt, and live your best life.
She has been been featured on The Money Mix, Rockstar Finance, The Financial Diet and Women’s Money Talk, and has been quoted in various online publications.