So, earlier this week I was on The Chat to discuss apps that allow you to save money with apps that reward you for shopping! Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, I've done a little research, made a few purchases, and saved a lot of cash in a very small amount of time! This time, I'm specifically going to talk about grocery store shopping, but I'll revisit the topic soon so I can share other ways of saving money while shopping.
The four apps I preview on the show work by allowing users to select items they intend to purchase then scanning a receipt afterwards proving the item has been bought. There's nothing to clip or print, and they can all be used in conjunction with other in-store offers, like a BOGO. Each offers states an amount they're willing to give you in cash back and an amount you must reach before requesting your cash out. The best benefits of these apps is that they are all available through the Apple and Google Play stores and they're FREE! Let's go over a few in more detail.
Checkout 51 is great because you can use it at any store you like. The app doesn't restrict you in that way, and even asks for your location to assist in finding offers that may be available in your area. Each Thursday morning the app refreshes the offers with new products to always keep you saving! The pay out amount on this app is one of the higher amounts, at $20. Once you hit that amount is savings, you simply upload a photo of your receipt through the app or website and they send you a check. Money saved!
SavingStar works similarly to the other apps, but it has some innovative benefits that I didn't find with the others. With the app, you can sign up for a SavingStar American Express Card that helps you earn even MORE money by giving you 10% cash back on SavingStar grocery offers, 5% cash back on eligible online mall purchases, and 1% cash back on everything else. If you're going to use an app. And you're going to put your shopping purchases on a credit card. THIS sounds like a good option. Money back on top of money back! That's a win-win!
The payout amount for this app is only $5, which is the lowest of the apps I researched, and they allow you to receive the money via PayPal, directly to your bank account, or you may choose to donate the amount to a charity! This app, and possibly others, does charge a $1.99 fee to your savings amount if you do not use the app in 12 months. I say charge lightly because the lowest amount your account will ever be at is $0, and will never actually cost you money, only goes against a cash out amount that you may have. I really don't see this being a problem because you'll be constantly using the app and cashing out.
The one drawback to this app is that it's not available at all stores. Personally, I often shop at Publix because of it's proximity and that wasn't an option for savings with the particular app. You can however, use the app for online purchases like Amazon, so that's pretty great!
Snap by Groupon
Snap was recently released by Groupon, which everyone has heard of and possibly already uses to save money on items and events. Why not use them to save money on groceries as well? I love the clean layout of Snap, and the functionality of the app seems simple and functional. This app can also be used at any store, on groceries and other items you may purchase, then they reward you with cash back.
Often these apps often reward you for other behaviors as well, like sharing and connecting your friends to the app. For instance, Snap gives you $1 for each friend you refer when they redeem their first offer. Extra money is always a good thing!
The pay out amount here is $20 and once that amount is met you simply wait about two weeks for your check and start planning on what to do with your extra cash!
I'm saving what, in my opinion, is the best for last. Ibotta offered me the simplest design, options, preferred stores, and interactive offers. Users can shop for offers via category, location, specific stores or online malls. The app is available for most of your big retailers and you get to earn even more cash back by watching short videos, reading a new recipe your item may be used in, or learning more about a product.
There's a few Gamification tools utilized in this app, like badges for your first reward or referring friends and teams so that you can compete for the highest savings! That keeps me engaged and coming back for more offers. You simply select the items you intend to purchase, verify the barcode then photograph your receipt to send it in. Next, simply sit back and wait for your email to say your money is coming! Ibotta allows you to receive your cash back after $10 has added up via PayPal, Venom or by selecting a iTunes or Starbucks gift card. This was appealing to me because I personally would be more up for adding up my rewards for a specialty item than taking the cash I earned and adding back to my bank account. It's basically a reward for being so financially savvy.
So, let me know what you think and how much you save! I'd love to hear about other apps that possibly have different features than the ones I've covered, as I'm sure I'm only scratching the surface here.