One of the joys of owning a smartphone is the money you can save or get rebated with apps. For those of us with tight budgets who eat allergen free and organic, saving money on groceries is a critical skill! In addition to coupons from lots of places, there are websites and apps that really
1. Checkout 51: ONLINE, ANDROID AND IPHONE
This app focuses on traditional items, but what I love is that every week, you can submit fruit receipts – ideal for eating clean on a budget! While it is a great app, there is not much in the way of organic foods to collect rebates on, but that’s ok – every little bit helps.
How To Use Checkout 51:
Once you download the app to your phone and set up your account, you’ll see a list of “Offers.” At top every week starting Thursday, you’ll see a link to produce that you can select. Choose one (for example, bananas). You get one rebate for those. The next step is to take your grocery receipt and click “Upload Receipt.” This will give you a guide on how to snap a photo of your receipt. When ready, click the blue “Got It?” button at the bottom and take a picture of your receipt inside the guides. You can add extra photos for a longer receipt. Once you submit, you’ll be taken back to the list of offers. Check the ones you want and hit submit.
This program has a $20 threshold for cashing out, which I’ve only been able to do once or twice. It also has great difficulty when your sales register receipt is mostly legible except for the store name. However, their customer service and ticketing procedures are easy and can help you get your rebate within a day.
You can cash out via check once you reach the $20 minimum.
Unfortunately, at this time Checkout 51 does not have a referral program.
2. Ibotta: ANDROID AND IPHONE
This is my favorite rebate app because it’s easy to rack up the rebates. To date, I’ve earned $115.75 with it, and that’s with someone who’s on a strict diet! There are so many places you can use it – grocery stores, online stores, pharmacies, Best Buy!
How To Use Ibotta:
Now for Groceries, Beauty & Wellness, and other categories, some stores will require that you scan your loyalty card first. Examples include Rite Aid and Weis Markets. You’ll see a credit card icon next to the store name if that’s the case. I recommend checking all the markets and shops you regularly visit and scan your cards first. Then, all you need to are the tasks before you go shopping at those stores. Otherwise you’ll see an icon of a camera.
- Select the store and make sure you qualify for the rebate by having purchased the required items or amount.
- Select the item you’ve purchased and do the required tasks, usually 2 or 3. Each task earns a certain amount of money so it’s worth it to do all of them. Tasks can include watching a short video (less than 30 seconds usually), taking a quiz or clicking a link.
- For branded items, you’ll need to scan the barcode on the package after you select “Verify Bar Code.” For certain items, like “any” produce or for items with a minimum purchase, you won’t need to do this. For example, this spring I spent $100 at Best Buy. To get the rebate, I merely needed to submit the Best Buy receipt after completing the tasks.
- Once you’ve completed tasks and barcodes for all the items on your receipts, select “Redeem” and continue through until you get to take the photo. Submit and they will contact you when you’ve been approved.
This app is not only great, it also has lots of earning potential. You can earn rebates for produce and brands in general, such as “any tomato sauce.” You can also earn with “teamwork” challenges. Every month, you’ll get the opportunity to earn additional rebates ($1, $5, etc.) depending on how many friends you have on Ibotta and what you spend. Another great thing about Ibotta are brands – regularly they have rebates for Seven Generations, Marley Coffee, So Delicious and other allergy-friendly or organic brands you might use.
You can cash out via Paypal, Venmo or buy a gift card. At this time, cash out minimum is $20.
Their referral program credits you $2 when friends sign up and give your friend $10 to start. Here is my referral link: https://ibotta.com/r/kmzc3w
3. SavingStar: ONLINE, ANDROID AND IPHONE
This app is a little different, as it requires you to enter your discounts in advance. It also has accumulative savings, like you may need to buy $15 or $30 for a particular brand or several brands over a period of 2-3 months to quality, but your earnings are greater.
How to Use SavingStar:
- After setting up your account, click “Stores” under the menu. Click the plus sign to add your local stores. Select the store you want. Add the number on your store loyalty card. Some stores, like Target, will require you to keep your receipt and add it.
- Now, go through the list and add coupons.
- If you see the rocket icon, you can “boost” your savings by clicking the button.
Once you have at least $5.00 in your account, you can cash out. You can use Paypal. It takes 2-3 business days
There is no referral program, however, in my newsletter, I share the link to my online coupon page, where I track the healthy and allergen free deals that all of these apps offer by week. Don’t miss out, sign up now!
4. Berry Cart: ANDROID AND IPHONE
What’s great about Berry Cart is that it strictly focuses on organic and allergy-friendly brands, like Erewhon, LIVE Kombucha and CoCo libre. It functions similar to Ibotta, with a few twists. It also has a website but you need to be on the app to capture rebates.
How to Use Berry Cart
- After setting up your account on your phone, be sure you have your GPS or location on, or you’ll be required to enter your zip code so Berry Cart can search local deals.
- This app does deals by store, but it’s not obvious like with Ibotta. Click “All Deals” then “Filter” and select the store you’re looking for.
- Next, select the item you have purchased at that store. Under “Redeem,” you’ll see one or 2 green buttons, which, like Ibotta, are tasks you must do to earn the rebate.
- After you complete, select “Redeem.” Then, scan the bar code on the product. Select all the products on your receipt.
- Next, take a photo of your receipt as per the guidelines.
Click “Earnings” to select your cash out option. You can cash out via Paypal or buy a gift card. At this time, cash out minimum is only $5.00.
Inviting friends earns you $2 for everyone who signs up and their first rebate. Here is my referral link: https://www.berrycart.com/rf/
5. Target App featuring Cartwheel: ONLINE, ANDROID AND IPHONE
Target lovers – pay attention! Cartwheel is a great way to save money but it is a bit unwieldy! Here are my best practices for using this app. First of all, you’ll need it on your phone for when you are in the store but it’s easier to select items from your computer except for those you want to store. Now, normally I don’t do groceries at Target and I had heck of a time figuring it out so I annoyed a red-shirted clerk (poor guy) until I got it right. On one trip, I saved a about $10 between Cartwheel and my Red Card. I totally recommend getting a Target Debit Red Card – NOT credit card. It’s wonderful and you can link it to your school for donations. It’s a great way to save money while eating clean on a budget.
How to Use Cartwheel:
- Once you have downloaded the Target app, set up your account. Next, you’ll want to search for items you want to purchase at Target on your next trip. Target has really been opening up their organic and allergy-free items, such as Silk nut milks and Rudi’s Bakery breads. As of this writing, 7/29/15, the pricy Earth Balance Buttery Spread is listed for 20% off the list price. You won’t that savings without Cartwheel. That discount is added to a bar code you pull up on your phone. You get 10 spots for adding offers and can earn more with your phone as you go along.
- Now shop for those items. You can also scan the items you are shopping for and the app will tell you if they are on sale or if there is a sale version of something similar, which is a God send when you are buying things like small appliances or kitchenware!
- Now give your clerk the barcode and he’ll scan it, adding the savings automatically for your purchases.
- As a note, you can use your own coupons and stack offers including the Red Card 5% discount.
There is no cash out program for these points.
There are no referrals but you are connected to friends and can see their cartwheel offers – and they can see yours, unless you opted out. This will help you earn badges and more offer spots.
6. Hopster.com: ONLINE and App
Hopster allows you to print some great coupons, and all you have to do is earn points and have a reliable printer. Brands I love and regularly use on Hopster.com include: Orgain, Beanitos and SunButter, Melt, Culturelle, Wellesse, The Natural Dentists, Barbara’s and BabyGanics – and more but these brands change regularly and they also carry greenwashed brands so I’d advise you to be a savvy consumer with these.
How to Use Hopster:
Sign up at Hopster.com with email or Facebook login. Once done, you complete certain tasks to earn points. You can like a brand on Facebook, sign up for emails and newsletters, take polls, watch videos and more. Once you’ve earned points, you can then go to coupons and select the brands you want. There are some you can print without using any points, but the more points you have, the more you can unlock higher value coupons.
Earn even more points are earned by using your coupon, snapping a photo of your grocery receipt and emailing it to Hopster.com.
Learn more about the Hopster App, which has NO minimum payout and pays direct to Paypal instantly.
There is no cash out program for these points.
Download the app, scan your receipts. You don’t get cash but you get rewards, like Amazon gift cards. You get 25 points for each coupon, plus referral point, plus special bonuses on certain products. It may tell you to You get to pick. Available at Apple App Store and Google Play.
I’ll be honest – this one is counterintuitive to use but it does have those rare brands. Actions, like follow on social media, score points but I haven’t quite figured out how to do it!
Stay tuned next time when I’ll show you where and how to shop at the grocery store!
What apps do you use to save money? Share with us!
This was originally posted on May 29, 2014.