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You have the ability to save money on almost anything right in your pocket. Don’t plan your next trip to the shops without first checking out these 9 apps that help you save money shopping.
Never Pay Full Price
Thanks to our smartphones, we don’t have to pay full price for just about anything we want to buy. There are all kinds of cool apps that can help us save money on everything from groceries to personal care items to hotels.
When is the last time you used a paper coupon? I can’t remember when I last used one. They’re a pain to find if you don’t get a Sunday newspaper, they’re usually only saving you small amounts of money and on things that aren’t particularly useful, lots of processed food. I just don’t get that excited about saving a quarter on two boxes of RiceaRoni.
What I do get excited about though is saving money, real money. If that describes you too, you’ll love Ibotta.
Ibotta is a cash back app. You get cash back when you make purchases in person and online. And Ibotta gives cash back on good stuff, not boxes or RiceARoni! Some recent offers include $1 back on your next Uber ride, $10 back on a VRBO booking, $3 back on Neutrogena products, and $1.25 back on Organic Valley milk.
Ibotta has almost 300 participating stores including Kroger, Whole Foods, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Speedway, Best Buy, and Bed, Bath, and Beyond.
Not only does Ibotta have the best offers in my opinion, (and I use a lot of these kinds of apps!) they also have the easiest redemption system. I don’t like having to convert points into dollars, too much math involved. I just want to know how much money I have in my account!
You earn cash with Ibotta, not points. You can withdraw that cash as actual cash or as an electronic gift card. The minimum redemption amount is $20. If you want cash, you can link your PayPal or Venmo account, and it will show up in your account within 48 hours.
You can get gift cards from retailers like iTunes, Whole Foods, and Target. Your electronic card will be delivered to your email with 24 hours.
You can earn points with Shopkick when you shop at brick and mortar stores and online. The points are called “kicks,” and you can exchange them for electronic gift cards. (If you like using Shopkick but prefer cash, you can always sell your gift cards at Raise or Cardpool).
You can link a Visa or MasterCard debit or credit card to your Shopkick account and earn points when you make qualifying transactions at a participating store.
Scan your receipts, and you’ll earn points for purchasing certain items in participating stores. When you make a qualifying purchase through the Shopkick app, you’ll earn points for every dollar you spend.
You can earn points just for entering participating stores; you don’t even have to buy anything! You can also earn points for scanning the barcode on select items, again, without having to actually purchase the scanned items.
You need 250 kicks to equal $1 and a minimum of $2 to claim a reward. The rewards come in the form of electronic gift cards from retailers like Amazon, Target, Sephora, and Walmart.
Paribus isn’t an app that will save you money while you’re shopping, but rather a service that can save you money after you’ve already made a purchase.
We hope that you’re comparison shopping for the best price when you have to make a fairly size-able purchase, you’re reading a blog about being frugal after all! But sometimes no matter how diligent you are, you buy something and soon after, see it for a better price.
Online retailers change their prices a lot. Maybe you bought a new television at Target.com and three days later, see the same television for $50 less. Darn! You just missed saving $50. Oh well, too late now.
“We’ll match the price if you buy a qualifying item atTarget then find the identical item for less atTarget.com, select online competitors, or in Target’s or a competitor’s local print ad. Price matches may be requested at the time of purchase or within 14 days after purchase.
If you find a current lower price within 14 days after purchase, just bring in the proof, and we will adjust your payment to the lower price, upon request. Target store price matches and adjustments are completed at the store on any lane.”
Great, but you don’t have time to go back to Target and get your $50 back. That’s okay because that’s what Paribus does. Paribus will scour your online purchases looking for items that may have had a change in price.
If the service finds one, they will handle the Price Protection process for you. Paribus will also work on your behalf to request your money back
The price difference will be credited to the credit or debit card you made the purchase on, or you will be sent a store credit, depending on how a particular retailer pays out their Price Protection credits.
Paribus monitors nearly thirty retailers for price drops including Target, Costco, Macy’s, J. Crew, and Walmart.
Swagbucks is an online shopping portal where you can get cash back for your purchases. Swagbucks has hundreds of partners including Sam’s Club, Amazon, and Expedia if you’re shopping for a vacation.
Most retailers are offering 2%-10% back when you shop them through Swagbucks, but not all items in your cart may be eligible for cash back.
If you’re not much of an online shopper, you can still save money with Swagbucks. You can print out coupons on Swagbucks and redeem them in person at a store. Apart from saving the value of the coupon, you’ll earn ten points for each one you redeem.
There is also a Swagbucks Local app, and it will show you cash back offers at brick and mortar stores and restaurants in your local area. Link your credit or debit card to your account, and you’ll earn points when you take advantage of these offers. Most of the offers near me were offering 7%-10% cash back, and you’ll earn 100 points just for linking your card.
Each point is worth about a penny, so $1 is equal to 100 points. Points can be redeemed for cash or electronic gift cards. Cash comes in denominations of $25, $50, $100, and $250 and will be sent to your PayPal account within 10-14 days after you redeem your points.
If you prefer gift cards, the threshold to cash out is lower; you can get cards in denominations from $1 to $100. The cards will be sent to your email address within ten days, and you can choose cards from places like Starbucks, Amazon, and Target.
Ebates is another online cash back shopping portal. You can browse through a list of participating retailers and see what cashback percentage each is offering. Some of the current offers include 20% back at Coursera, 4% back at CVS, and 3% back at Macy’s.
The cash back isn’t immediate. Once you make a purchase, the retailer will notify Ebates and Ebates will add the amount to your cash back balance. There are also in store cash back offers. Link the credit or debit card you plan to make your in-store purchase on and click the “Link Offer” button.
Some recent offers include 2% back at Athleta, 3% back at Theory, and 4% back at Sephora. Ebates has some travel deals too including 7% back with Expedia, 2.5% back at Alamo Rent A Car, and 1% back with British Airways.
Ebates pays by PayPal account or paper check. The site does only pay out four times a year though, February 15th, May 15th, August 15th, November 15th. This is kind of annoying, but it also makes for a bigger payout each time which is kind of a nice surprise when you finally do get paid.
If you just can’t be bothered with any of this, I have a great app for you. Honey is the lazy person’s money-saving shopping app! Honey is a browser extension available for Chrome, Safar, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Opera.
It automatically searches for coupon codes for the site you’re shopping on. Not only does Honey find the codes, but it also tries them out for you.
You know how great this is if you’ve ever searched for coupon codes for something and tried a bunch of them only to find that none of them work. All that time wasted and no money saved.
Honey does this fast too. If Honey finds a valid code, it automatically applies it to your purchase. Honey works with thousands of online retailers including Amazon, Target, Walmart, and Macy’s.
7. Checkout 51
Checkout 51 is a cash back app that pays you for making certain purchases and uploading a copy of your receipt. Each Thursday morning (maybe Thursdays because many people do their food shopping near the weekend) you’ll get a list of offers.
Choose the ones you want and buy them. Not at participating stores, you can buy them at any store! Take a photo of your receipt and check off the from the list that matches the offers you selected.
The app will process the information and credit your account. The threshold to cash out is $20, and you’ll be paid by check.
Checkout 51 is an almost entirely a grocery savings app. Some current offers include $1 back on Clorox products, $1 back on Suave products for men, and $1 back on Wasa Cracker products.
One of the best ways to save money is to comparison shop. But that takes time which is something a lot of us are short on. ShopSavvy is an app that does the comparison shopping for you.
You can search for items you’re shopping for by entering them into the search feature, or if you’re in a store, you can use your phone’s camera to scan an item’s barcode. ShopSavvy takes over from there.
It will show you the cheapest place to buy the item locally or online. The app will even give you a map and directions to get to the store. ShopSavvy gives you user reviews for items too so you can make sure you’re getting a quality product.
The savings on ShopSavvy are pretty substantial. Some recent deals include saving $100 on a vacuum cleaner and $182.40 on a stand mixer.
You can use ShopSavvy as a shopping portal to get cash back too. Recent offers include 5% cash back at Staples, 5% back on Overstock, and 3% back at Walmart.
ShopSavvy has curated a list of its top recommendations for products in more than 400 categories including phones, laptops, blenders, cameras, and even cotton candy machines (I added that one because it was so strange it made me laugh. Are lots of people shopping for and reviewing cotton candy machines!? I guess they are!).
You don’t get your cash back at the time of purchase. You will receive it via PayPal or paper check every 90 days.
I don’t drive, but I know most people do and the cost of gas can take up a big chunk of your budget, so I’ve included this one for all you drivers! And while gas isn’t really thought of as something you shop for, it is something that many people have to buy.
GasBuddy is an app that lets you find the lowest gas prices near you. You can search by city or zip code. The average price for my zip code is $2.51 per gallon, and the cheapest was $2.31 per gallon.
You don’t need an account to search for the lowest gas prices, but if you do make an account, you can save even more. Link your debit card, and you’ll save .10 per gallon on your first fill up and .05 per gallon after that.
The app also has a neat feature that shows you the approximate gas cost for a trip. If you’re planning to hit the road for vacation this summer, this is a great tool to help you determine your budget.
Which Apps Are Our Favorites?
Ibotta also gives cash back on certain items regardless of the brand. Recent ones including cash back on any brand of motor oil and baby wipes. Ibotta has a lot of cash back offers on wine, beer, and spirits if you like to have an occasional drink which is something a lot of other cash back apps don’t offer.
Ibotta is one of the easier money saving shopping apps to navigate. You can shop by categories like grocery, pharmacy, and travel to name a few. You can shop by store including Whole Foods, Family Dollar, and Petco.
And you can search for something specific using the search bar on the top of the app. I shop at the Fresh Market but didn’t see it listed even after entering my zip code, but I was able to find it using the search feature.
Ibotta also lets you choose offers from the desktop site and not just the app. I know I’m in the minority, but I much prefer doing things like that on my laptop rather than on my phone.
We also like Ibotta’s redemption system. No points to calculate by fractions, huge redemption thresholds, or long waits to be paid once you have redeemed. Ibotta is worthwhile and straightforward.
Honey is the other winner for the sheer ease of use. Really, we can’t think of a good reason not to install Honey. After you’ve done that, that’s all you have to do! One of the best ways to save money on almost anything you buy is to see if you can find a coupon code for it.
But that can be frustrating; they don’t always work. Honey does the work for you.
Because no one should make a big purchase without doing research by reading reviews and looking for the best price, we like ShopSavvy because you can do both right on the app. And if the price drops after you’ve bought the best deal ShopSavvy showed at the time, you can use Paribus to get the additional discount!
With the advent of the internet and smartphones, it’s easier than ever to save money. No matter how frugal you are, you have to spend money on some things. And being frugal just means you want to save money when you can while still getting the best value possible on the things you buy.
With these money saving apps, it’s possible to save money on almost anything you buy. So download them now and watch your savings add up! Happy shopping!
Paribus compensates us when you sign up for Paribus using the links we provided.