We use our smartphones all the time. Like it or not, from connecting to scheduling to entertaining to capturing all the important moments, they seem to be here to stay. And since they are always at our fingertips, we might as well use them to save on everyday purchases! There are lots of free money saving apps available for Apple and Android to help you save (and earn) money on everything from groceries to retail purchases.
iBotta pays you to shop for groceries (and other items) through a fairly simple (albeit time-consuming) system of choosing a store, tapping on an offer, answering a question/reading some information, scanning the item’s barcode, and snapping a photo of your store receipt. Rebates generally range anywhere from $.25 to $5. You can join together in a team with friends or family to earn more and get your earnings through PayPal, Venmo or a gift card.
Checkout 51 is similar to iBotta but a little less time consuming. You just have to snap a photo of your receipt and then select the e-coupons you want to use — no answering questions or scanning barcodes. Offers are updated weekly, so you can find the best deals out there! There is some overlap with iBotta in terms of offers, so if you use both apps, you can save twice. Once your rebate earnings reach $20, you can request a check.
Publix is my go-to store for grocery shopping, and I love their mobile app. It allows you to view the weekly ad, choose your favorite location, plan your grocery list (automatically arranged by aisle!), and choose from a wide variety of digital coupons. You select which coupons you want to use and then just enter your phone number at checkout for instant savings. Used in combination with other apps like iBotta and Checkout 51, you can reduce your cost at the register AND earn money back through rebates.
RetailMeNot is a coupon app that quickly pulls up coupons/coupon codes for many major retailers that can be used in stores and online. It has a pretty easy search option and features daily “hot deals.” If you turn on location services for the app, you can get automatic notifications for nearby deals.
Shopkick rewards you with “kicks” (aka reward points) for visiting participating retailers and scanning or buying specific items within the store. You can also connect your credit or debit card to your account to earn kicks when you spend money at certain stores. You can redeem kicks for retail and restaurant gift certificates.
Cartwheel is Target’s savings app, and if you are a Target addict like me, it will save you lots of money. Basically, you scroll through the offers, choose the ones you want (generally saving anywhere between 5 percent and 50 percent), and scan your personal barcode at checkout. In addition to the discount offers, there are additional coupons that offer money off or gift card rebates based on amounts you spend on certain categories of items. For instance, last month I received a $20 gift card for spending $75 on baby formula, diapers and wipes.
Another great app that doesn’t really fit in the grocery or retail category is Gift Certificates and More. This app basically gives you free gift certificates to various restaurants in your area. You search through the featured restaurants, choose the gift certificate you want to use, show it to your server and hit redeem.
While these are a few of my favorites, there are hundreds of additional apps available to help you save money on the things you are already purchasing. Using them in combination may take some planning, but they can really help you save big bucks!