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It’s no secret that the annual costs of shopping quickly add up.
The average person spends $7,729 per year on food, $1,968 on fuel, $3,203, and the list goes on. It may seem like the only frugal solution is to always spend the bare minimum.
Living on a budget is a great idea, but you don’t have to overdo it.
Groceries, toiletries, clothing, and other items are all essentials. If you have to buy them, why not earn some money while doing so?
Why not get discounts on every purchase you make?
This may sound too good to be true, but the tools in this post are the real deal. Read on to discover the 21 apps to save and earn money shopping.
Receipt Scanning Apps
Receipt scanning apps are popular and easy tools for saving money and earning cash back.
These apps offer you cash back deals on all types of essential purchases. When you buy a featured item, you take a picture of your receipt or scan the QR code.
The cash back is added to your account on the app. You can redeem your cash back for PayPal payments and gift cards. These apps let you access your cashback once you earn a certain amount.
They’re 100% free to use, and many of them even offer sign-up and referral bonuses.
Registration Bonus: You get $10 if you sign up using a referral code; ours is linked above. You’ll get the bonus once you scan your first receipt.
Referral Bonus: You get $10 per referral when they sign up using your referral code. You’ll get the bonus in your account once a referral scans their first receipt.
About: Ibotta is one of the most well-known receipt scanning apps. It’s user-friendly and offers tons of cash back deals on all sorts of items. Some of the categories include produce, beauty products, beverages, auto accessories, and dozens more. Ibotta partners with several thousand merchants like Target, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Amazon, and more.
For in-store purchases, your earnings are added to your Ibotta account within 24 hours of scanning your receipt. For online merchants, you don’t need to provide a digital receipt. You’ll earn cash back after a set amount of days. Once you’ve earned at least $20, you can cash out your earnings to PayPal or purchase a gift card.
Registration Bonus: $1.50 when you use promo code HH3MN. Scan your first receipt, and your bonus is added to your account.
Referral Bonus: $1.50 per referral when they sign up using your promo code. You get your bonus once a referral scans their first receipt.
About: Fetch Rewards is another popular receipt scanning app, and it’s easy to see why. It works a bit differently than Ibotta. You earn cash back when you buy specific items, but it doesn’t matter which merchant you buy them from. This app typically doesn’t offer as many deals as Ibotta, but the cash back deals often pay more.
Fetch Rewards uses a points system where one point is worth $0.01. Each cash back offer is worth a set amount of points. You need at least 3,000 points ($3.00) to access your earnings.
When you meet the cash out minimum, you choose a gift card as payment. Gift card options include Amazon, Target, VISA gift card, and more.
Registration Bonus: $0.75 when you sign up using a referral code and scan your first receipt.
Referral Bonus: $0.75 per referral when your referral signs up with your unique code/link. You’ll receive the bonus once they scan their first receipt.
About: CoinOut is very unique from other receipt scanning app. You don’t have to buy certain products or shop at certain stores. You simply scan receipts from any purchase you make. When you do this, you earn a random amount of money. It’s typically a few cents, and this is low compared to other apps. But since it’s so easy to do, it balances out.
CoinOut offers three methods of payment – direct deposit, PayPal, and Amazon gift card. You don’t need a minimum amount to cash out through direct deposit or Amazon gift card. As soon as you have a few cents, you’re good to go. You need a minimum balance of $10 to cash out via PayPal.
Registration Bonus: Get $1.00 when you sign up using a referral code or link. Scan your first receipt within seven days of creating your account to get the bonus.
Referral Bonus: Get $1.00 per person who signs up using your referral code or link. Make sure to let them know that you both get a $1.00 bonus if they scan their first receipt within seven days.
About: We often recommend Shopkick because it’s a popular and fun receipt scanning app. There are multiple ways to earn money with Shopkick. The first is most other apps; you buy a certain product from a certain store. Once you do this, you submit a picture of your receipt to earn cash back.
You can also earn money just for walking into stores or scanning product barcodes – these methods require zero spending. There are also some online cash back deals. For these promotions, you earn money for each dollar that you spend.
Shopkick uses a point-based system for earning money. Points are called Kicks; 250 Kicks is worth $1.00. You need at least 200 Kicks in your account balance to redeem for rewards. Shopkick pays via gift cards for stores like Target, Amazon, and Wal-Mart.
Registration Bonus: Receive a $2.00 signup bonus when you sign up using referral code TOF19 and scan your first receipt.
Referral Bonus: Earn $2.00 per referral when they sign up using your unique referral code. You and your referral both get $2.00 once they scan their first receipt.
About: Trunow stands apart from other receipt scanning apps. This app lets you save money on fuel when you scan your gas station receipts. When you scan a receipt, you get a percentage of cash back added to your account.
There are occasionally offers where you can earn money by purchasing products from gas stations, too. Trunow also shows you the lowest gas prices nearby to help you save money.
When you buy fuel at a Trunow partner station, you earn 2% cash back once you scan a receipt. You earn 1% cash back when you scan receipts from non-partner gas stations.
Trunow pays in two different ways. You can use your earnings at partner stations to get free gas. You can also cash out through PayPal once you earn $10, but your earnings are cut in half (you receive $5).
Registration Bonus: Use a referral code or link – ours is above – to receive a registration bonus. The Makeena registration bonus changes periodically; they’ve offered $1, $2, and $5 bonuses. You’ll get your bonus once your first receipt is approved.
Referral Bonus: Share your referral code or link to get a bonus; this amount also changes periodically. Once your referral uploads their first receipt, your bonus earnings are added to your account.
About: Makeena is pretty similar to Ibotta, but it also has Shopkick-like features. This receipt scanning app rewards you for buying eligible health food products. You can see current offers and partner retailers in the app. You also earn money by scanning produce barcodes, completing small tasks, and more.
Makeena uses a point-based rewards system. Each task or receipt is worth a set amount of points. All earnings are in 25-point increments. 1,000 points are equal to $1.00. Once you’ve earned $20, you can cash out your earnings via PayPal or Venmo.
7. Checkout 51
About: Checkout 51 is similar to Ibotta and Fetch Rewards. They feature cash back offers for specific products, but you can buy them at any store. When you download the app, you add the offers you like to a digital shopping list.
You upload a photo of your receipt, and cash back is added to your account. Checkout 51 updates their offers every Thursday.
Once you’ve earned $20 in cash back, you can get your earnings via paper check. There’s a section in the app where you can request payment. Though this method of payment takes longer to receive, you still get free cash back very easily.
Registration Bonus: You get a $2 welcome bonus when you sign up using promo code 7xYw14Jb. You’ll receive the bonus once you scan your first receipt.
About: BerryCart is a receipt scanning app that’s focused on organic and gluten-free food. The cash back items can be purchased at any store where they are sold.
Fortunately, BerryCart uses GPS to show you which stores in your area carry the items. This makes it easy to get deals on health-conscious food.
BerryCart cash back deals usually range from about $0.25 to $1.00. The cash out minimum is only $5, so you may get access to your earnings fairly fast. Your payment options are PayPal or gift cards for several popular retailers.
Cash Back Apps And Portals
Cash back apps and online portals help you save money when shopping online. You start by visiting these apps or websites, and you’ll see cash back deals for online retailers.
Each partner retailer is worth a different percentage of cash back of your total purchase. Click the link to the retailer’s website, and you’ll earn money for shopping.
You can mix and match these websites and apps to find the best deals. Some of them also offer browser extensions, so you don’t have to constantly visit the cash back websites.
The process for each app and portal is pretty similar, but they all have some unique features. Learn more about our top picks below.
Registration Bonus: TopCashback periodically offers a registration bonus; sign up using the link above to see any possible current offers.
Referral Bonus: You earn a $10 bonus when you refer a user and they make their first purchase. Make sure they use your referral link or code; you can find it in your TopCashback account information.
About: Topcashback is the cash back portal that we recommend the most. It’s easy to see why it’s so great, too. They partner with nearly 5,000 online merchants to offer you cash back.
The cash back percentages through this portal are often higher than similar sites and apps. You simply get paid to shop; you don’t have to do anything else.
Topcashback lets you access your cash back earnings through PayPal, direct deposit, or gift card. There’s no minimum cashout amount, so you can redeem your money whenever you want.
If you choose to cash out via Amazon gift card or American Express Rewards card, Topcashback gives you a 3% bonus on top of your earnings.
Registration Bonus: Get $10 when you sign up using a referral link – ours is above. The bonus will automatically appear in your account. You can access the bonus once you’ve earned at least $10 in cash back through BeFrugal.
Referral Bonus: The Refer-A-Friend bonus gives you $10 every time someone signs up using your referral link. Your link can be found with the earning details in your account. The registration bonus guidelines also apply to this bonus – your referral must earn $10 cash back via BeFrugal first.
About: BeFrugal is another excellent cash back website, and it’s got many unique features. They partner with over 5,000 merchant retailers to offer cash back deals.BeFrugal offers a Cash Back Rate Guarantee; they promise to offer the highest cash back rate or they’ll match the difference from a competitor. This portal also offers coupons and featured sale items to further help you save money.
You can access your cash back earnings via PayPal, check, direct deposit, or gift card. You only need a minimum account balance of $0.01 to redeem via PayPal, so this is the easiest and fastest way to get paid.
Registration Bonus: Swagbucks currently offers a $5 bonus to users who sign up using a referral link. You’ll receive the bonus if you earn 2,500 SB within 60 days of signing up. The Swagbucks registration bonus changes frequently.
Referral Bonus: When you refer a new user to Swagbucks, you receive 10% of their earnings for life. You can easily access your referral link or code in the Swagbucks website/app. There are often additional referral bonuses, so check the app often to see what’s available.
About: If you’re a regular Frugal For Less reader, you may know that we’re huge fans of Swagbucks. This ‘get paid to’ (GPT) app allows users to earn money in dozens of different ways. From taking surveys to playing games, there are tons of ways to earn. Swagbucks features cash back deals, and these are an easy and popular way to earn.
Swagbucks uses a point-based system; points are called SB. One SB is equal to about $0.01. For cash back deals, you’ll earn a certain number of SB per dollar spent. Swagbucks lets you access your earnings once you’ve earned at least 300 SB. It’s pretty easy to get this amount quickly, especially with cash back offers. You can cash out your earnings via gift cards or PayPal.
Registration Bonus: The Dosh registration bonus amount changes periodically. It’s often $1.00, but users have reported signup bonuses as high as $7. Sign up using a referral link/code and link your first credit or debit card to receive the bonus.
Referral Bonus: The Dosh referral bonus also seems to change periodically. Amounts have ranged anywhere from $5 to $15 per referral. You receive the bonus when someone signs up using your code/link and they link their credit/debit card to their account.
About: Dosh is one of the easiest ways for you to earn cash back on everyday purchases. You don’t have to buy certain products, and you don’t need to scan receipts. You simply link your credit and debit cards to the secure app. When you shop at Dosh partner merchants, you earn percentage cash back on every dollar you spend. Partners include clothing stores, fast food chains, supermarkets, and more.
The percentage of cash back per dollar varies with each merchant. Amounts commonly range from 3 to 7% cash back. You can also earn cash back online.
Simply click on a merchant offer in the Dosh app and make your purchase. Once you’ve earned $15 in cash back, you can transfer your money to your bank or PayPal account.
Registration Bonus: Get a $1 bonus when you sign up using the link above. Your bonus is added to your account when you link your first credit/debit card. The bonus is periodically raised for short periods of time.
Referral Bonus: You’ll also get a $1 bonus when someone signs up using your referral code or link. This bonus amount raises periodically, too. Drop recently offered a $5 bonus per referral.
About: Drop is very similar to Dosh in many ways. It’s a super simple app where you earn cash back by linking your credit/debit cards. Drop has several partner retailers, and you get to select five where you’ll earn cash back per dollar spent. Make sure to choose the five retailers/restaurants that you shop at the most to maximize your earnings.
Drop uses a points system; 1,000 points are worth $1.00. You’ll earn a set amount of points per dollar spent depending on the merchant. It’s common to earn 10 points (1%) to 20 points (2%) cash back on your purchases. Redeem your Drop points for gift cards once you’ve earned at least 5,000 points. Gift card options include Starbucks, Amazon, and dozens more.
Registration Bonus: Currently, you can get a $10 bonus when you sign up using a referral link. The ShopAtHome registration bonus changes periodically.
Referral Bonus: Get a $5 bonus when you refer a user and they make a purchase within 30 days. Your referral will also earn $5, so make sure to tell them about this perk.
About: ShopAtHome is a great resource for finding cash back offers when you shop online. To get cash back, go to ShopAtHome and click the link to a retailer’s website. You can earn up to 40% cash back. There’s even a convenient browser extension that lets you view cash back deals for every website you visit. The extension also displays coupon codes for you to save money.
Once you’ve earned $20 in cash back, you can access your earnings. ShopAtHome lets you choose PayPal, paper check, or an Amazon gift card for payment. They schedule payments for the last day of each month.
Coupons And Promo Codes
Coupons are timeless tools for saving money when you shop. But the days of clipping from newspapers are long gone, and couponing is easier than ever. There are endless sources for digital coupons, promo codes, and printable coupons.
Below you’ll find some of our favorite coupon and promo code apps and websites. You may even mix and match apps and sites in some instances. Make sure to use these great tools before you shop to get the lowest possible prices.
Registration Bonus: U.S. members earn a Honey Gold Bonus; this is an exclusive limited-time welcome bonus. You’ll receive a $5 to $20 discount for specific partner merchants. Once you create an account, this bonus offer should appear in your feed.
Referral Bonus: Earn a $5 bonus every time someone signs up for Honey using your invite code. You can find your unique code/link in the Account Overview section. You’ll get access to your bonus once your referral makes their first qualifying purchase.
About: Honey is a very well-known browser extension that automatically searches for coupon codes. During the checkout process of your online shopping trips, Honey instantly applies promo codes if they’re available. The system always chooses the code that saves you as much money as possible.
You can also use the free Honey Gold rewards program to get earn cash back from partner merchants. When you shop at a partner merchant, you’ll earn a specific amount of Honey Gold coins. Once you’ve earned 1,000 Honey Gold coins, you can redeem them for a free $10 gift card. Gift card options include Amazon, Target, and WalMart.
Registration Bonus: Sign up using a referral link – here’s ours – to get an exclusive welcome bonus. Groupon’s bonus changes periodically. Sometimes they offer $10 in Groupon Bucks, and other times they offer 50% off of your first purchase.
Referral Bonus: You get $10 in Groupon Bucks when you refer a new member to Groupon. You’ll get a unique referral link that you can copy/paste or post directly to social media. The bonus money is added to your account once you make your first purchase.
About: Groupon is unique from other websites because it focuses on local deals. They offer discounts for nearby restaurants, spas, salons, hotels, medical practices, and more. You can get up to 90% off the price of a local good or service. Additionally, Groupon offers thousands of online discounts for clothing, electronics, kitchenware, and more.
Groupon lets you purchase vouchers that offer discounts on a good or service. For example, a new patient dental exam from a local practice normally costs $270. Groupon lets you purchase a voucher for this full service, but you only pay $55. That’s an 80% discount on the new patient exam. It’s easy to see that Groupon is a must-have for finding deals in your city.
About: RetailMeNot is a great app and website to find digital and in-store coupons. The company partners with thousands of merchants, so it’s easy to find discounts on the products you need. If you let the app access your location, it’ll even alert you if there are coupons for the store you’re in. You’ll also find promo codes for shopping and discounted gift card for popular retailers.
RetailMeNot features hundreds of cash back offers, too. You can use them for in-store and online purchases. Each offer has step by step details to make sure you’re eligible for the offer. Once you’ve earned cash back, you can transfer the money to PayPal.
About: Coupons.com is a must-have tool for any frugal shopper. It’s one of the largest and most popular coupon sites/apps. You get instant access to thousands of printable coupons, digital coupon codes, and even cash back offers. Coupons.com collects manufacturer coupons from major brands, so you can easily access them all in one place.
You can even use the platform to create a digital shopping list. You click on a coupon to “clip” it, and the item is added to your list. When you’re finished, you simply print your list and the coupons. Coupons are divided into categories such as household, beverages, health, foods, and personal care. New coupons and offers are available daily, so make sure to check the app/site before you go shopping.
19. Target Cartwheel
About: If you shop at Target, download the Target app for instant access to Cartwheel digital coupons. You’ll see hundreds of coupons for in-store use. Coupons are divided into store categories, so browsing them is easy. You’ll get percentage discounts, dollar discounts, manufacturer coupons, and more.
There’s no clipping or confusion when you use Cartwheel coupons. Simply select the coupons you want to use in the app. All of the ones you choose are added to a list.
A cashier scans the barcode in the app during checkout. You’ll automatically save money on any eligible items. Cartwheel even keeps track of your lifetime savings, so you can easily see how beneficial the app is for you.
Budgeting And Investing
Budgeting is a crucial way to save money shopping. Creating budgets on your own can be a bit frustrating, but fortunately, there are tools you can use.
Below you’ll find two apps for budgeting and saving/investing. These apps guide you every step of the way. You can create a simple budget or start investing spare change. With these tools, it’s easier than ever to be financially savvy.
About: Mint is an all-in-one app that’s ideal if you’re new to budgeting. The app and website are both 100% free to use. The secure platform lets you track all of your bills, bank accounts, credit cards, and loans all in one place. You use free financial planning tools to set budgets and other money goals. You customize everything to suit your financial situation, so getting on the right track is very easy.
Mint lets you set budgets for different shopping expenses. Some categories include groceries, restaurants, and entertainment. Since your bank and card info is linked to the app, Mint keeps track of how much you spend in each category. If you go over your budget you’ll receive a notification. This can help you stay on track and save money. You can adjust your budget for each expense whenever you want, too.
Registration Bonus: Sign up using this link and get a $5 welcome bonus.
Referral Bonus: You get a $5 or $10 bonus when a new user signs up with your referral link. The amount changes periodically, but it’s typically $5 or $10. Your referrals also receive a $5 bonus for signing up; make sure to tell them about this perk.
About: Acorns is a very popular robo-investor app that makes it very easy to save and invest money. You link your bank and credit/debit card info to the secure app. When you make a purchase, it’s rounded up to the nearest dollar. The change from rounding app is automatically invested in your Acorns account.
You don’t need to know anything about investments to use Acorns. The app does the legwork for you by picking investments that are best for your financial needs.
In addition to this, Acorns features cash back offers in their app. The cash back you earn is automatically invested into your Acorns account. Saving and investing doesn’t get any easier than this.
More Easy Ways To Save Money
The apps featured in this post make it so easy to save money shopping. We’re always exploring different ways to cut expenses, so you’ll always have resources for frugal living. Read these three posts to about saving money to learn more: