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 pay you to shop!
Ready to make some money with your receipts? Great! Let’s get started.
The first one is one of my FAVORITES…
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.
2. Checkout 51
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.
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!
What’s great about Fetch is that it’s super easy – just scan your receipts! Any grocery receipts will do, including Walmart, Target, and CVS, as well as traditional supermarkets.
How to Use Fetch Rewards
- Set up your account.
- Add products or brands that you typically buy to earn additional points.
- Scan any grocery receipt, regardless if there is a Fetch brand on it. Each scan is worth 25 points.
- 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.
Fetch pays in gift cards at the ridiculously low minimum of $3.00. This app keeps my Amazon account going but there are dozens of places on their reward list, from Target to AMC Theaters to Red Robin. I cash mine out regularly but another good idea is leaving points in there and buying online gift cards for your family and friends, for birthday or Christmas gifts!
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.
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.