Everyday purchases are the ones that add up and bust your budget. Items like food, cleaning supplies and even gasoline can end up costing you the most. Many frugal shoppers have turned to shopping apps to save them money and help them stick to their monthly budgets.
There are so many phone apps that can help increase your savings that it can be hard to weed through them all to find the apps that will make the biggest difference and are easiest to use. We canvassed our experts to identify the best shopping apps to save money on your everyday expenses.
All of the money-saving apps listed are free and can be downloaded on Android and Apple.
Ibotta is full of rebates at nearly 150 mostly major retailers, for which you earn cash that you can withdraw once you hit $20. You can either have the money deposited into your PayPal account or you can redeem the money for gift cards. (You can also have the money deposited to your bank account, if your bank has opted in to this option with Ibotta.)
I always take the money, deposit it into my PayPal account and then transfer it to my bank. Then I withdraw the cash amount and put it in our grocery envelope to increase our grocery fund for the month. There are some qualifications before withdrawing your money. You must have an earnings threshold of $20 or more, have a successful redemption of one offer or more, and you must wait for a full week after signing up with Ibotta before you are able to withdraw your earnings.
To unlock the rebates on this money-saving shopping app, find the store that you plan to shop at to see which rebates they currently have, then hit the plus sign next to any product to automatically add it to your list. Once you purchase the item, take a picture of the receipt and upload it to Ibotta. Done!
The Ibotta shopping app also works with loyalty cards and doesn’t require the aforementioned steps after purchase if you link your cards to your Ibotta account. The rebates are deposited into your account within 48 hours, but I have received some almost immediately. You can also snap photos of your receipts and earn cash back on qualifying purchases.
Ibotta often offers new signup bonuses, such as $5 back when you spend $15. As an extra bonus, you can earn money for every friend you invite. At the time of this post, you can receive $10 for every referral. I have gotten my dad on this app and we compare notes weekly about our savings. This shopping app really does save you money!
Target is one of those places where I go into with a specific list of things to purchase and ALWAYS leave with more than I intended. But it helps that they always have things on sale and clearance, as well as this great app called Circle.
This money-saving app gets you access to Target Circle offers and allows you to scan barcodes to add offers while you shop. You’ll also be able to cash in on extra offers and easily see their weekly ad deals. Check out the Target Circle Week deals as well to add more savings. The app also provides other time savers, like the ability to see what items are in stock and the option to order with drive up or order pickup.
Frequently, I will just use the app in the store instead of ahead of time because I find it saves time to do it that way. I really like the functionality of this app the best, but it doesn’t always get me better deals than the pharmacy stores.
Walgreens is my favorite drug store app. Not only is it easy to use but I usually get some of the best deals with this shopping app. The home screen layout is easy to navigate; I usually start with the Weekly Ad and Coupons sections. When I find products I like, I tap the plus sign to add it to my rewards account for me to use the next time I’m in the store.
The Walgreens Cash rewards are good on future Walgreen purchases. There are some restrictions on how you can earn rewards; photo orders, alcohol, and other items or services are excluded. Some states disallow rewards on pharmacy or prescriptions.
When I combine the rewards cash, the coupons that I have clipped in the app and the Ibotta rebates, that is really when my savings go through the roof!
This app has Kroger’s weekly flyers on them, as well as digital coupons. But the best part is the FREE goods. That’s right, I said FREE! Kroger has Free Friday on select Fridays each month, meaning they offer a digital coupon for a free item. Each coupon lasts for about two weeks. Add your shopper’s card to clip other coupons to add to your savings. Send your Cash Earned funds to your Kroger Shopper’s Card, and you can use the balance for in-store purchases.
The best part for me is that my dad and I both shop at both stores and trade off free items, if we know that we won’t use them but the other one will. Sometimes I go into my store ONLY for these free items and get nothing else.
A new feature of the Kroger app is that you can now shop for items from Bed, Bath & Beyond and Buy Buy Baby at their e-commerce site and get free shipping along with fuel points. You can now find several Bed Bath & Beyond and Buy Buy Baby items such as the Cuisinart Power Advantage 7-Speed Hand Mixer or the Dr. Brown’s Deluxe Bottle Warmer & Sterilizer. The curated site’s inventory may change of course, but items are grouped in easily navigated categories.
This shopping app is one of my newfound loves. Receipt Hog doesn’t care which store you shop at. It just wants you to take a picture of your receipts and rate your visit. There are different levels of rewards for big box stores, gas stations, specialty stores, grocery stores, etc. You’ll also be able to take surveys to earn additional coins.
You can take a picture of any receipt within a two-week period, and it will be credited to your account. Once you hit 1,000 coins, you can redeem them for a $5 gift card (sent to your account email) or get the amount deposited into your PayPal account. If you hit 2,900 coins, it turns into $15. 4,300 coins turns into $25 and 6,500 coins turns into $40.
Connect your loyalty card accounts to link purchases, and fill out surveys for additional rewards. The catch is that not every purchase will earn cash, but every receipt will earn either coins, sweepstakes entries or other bonuses.
The Fetch Rewards app functions almost identically to Receipt Hog, except it’s even simpler. You earn points by taking photos of your receipts and uploading them. Simple! Each receipt will get you a minimum of 25 points, and qualifying items that are listed on the app will earn you more. Save on brands such as Blue Moon, Beyond Meat, and Betty Crocker, and possibly earn more with special offers.
Once you have enough points, you can redeem them for a gift card. They have dozens of retailers to choose from — even Visa gift cards are available. The amount of points needed to redeem for a gift card vary slightly, but generally you’ll want the point amount to equal the dollar amount. So, 5,000 points for a $5 gift card and so on.
Formally known as Ebates, Rakuten is one of the staples of the cash back industry. The app offers cash back on over 2,000 of the biggest retailers around and lets you choose whether you get your money by check or through PayPal. You can even get cash back for cruises! The Rakuten app also features in-store coupons, app-exclusive cash back opportunities, and 5% cash back on thousands of restaurants. To get started, you can sign up here and get an extra $30 bonus when you spend $30 through Rakuten.
Swagbucks gives you points for answering surveys, watching videos, shopping online, and more. You can redeem your points for gift cards for over 100 retailers, including Walmart, Amazon, Target, PayPal and many others.
Refer a person to Swagbucks and you will earn 10% of their eligible Swagbucks earnings for as long as they are actively using the app, with no limit. However, not all categories count toward your 10% earnings.
Swagbucks is a free app. It’s probably one of the best known rewards apps out there and has awarded almost $600,000,000 to members. (Avid users call themselves “swaggers.”) Some people save up the points and gift cards they earn from Swagbucks to use for holiday shopping.
Shopkick is a fun app that rewards you with points (or “kicks”) that can be redeemed for gift cards to your favorite stores. Shopkick rewards you for walking into stores and scanning items and purchases.
Shopkick is similar to CVS Pharmacy ExtraCare app for qualifying purchases and collect 2% back in ExtraBucks Rewards. You can also receive 2% ExtraBucks Rewards on certain CVS purchases made through Instacart or Shipt, and a $3 reward when it’s your birthday.
You can save on particular items such as Tide, Pampers, Progresso or Larabar by sending app coupons to your card. You can also connect prescription records, transfer prescriptions, or set up a schedule for medications on the app.
Once known as GetUpside, this app is best known as an app for gas purchases. In fact, you can get up to 25 cents per gallon off gas. The Upside app shows a map of your area gas stations so you can find the best deal per gallon. But the app deals have a time limit, so pay attention. One gas station may still have better prices than a gas station that participates in the app program. And in order to receive the discount, you have to take a photo of your receipt and check in.
But the app also offers discounts on groceries as well as restaurants. Cash back is paid through PayPal or a check, and there is no minimum balance required. If you refer a friend, you can receive gas discounts every time the friend fills up their vehicle.
Have you tried any of these apps? If so, which one is your favorite and why?
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