Your Grocery Budget: Apps
Updated: Oct 27
Want to save money at the grocery store? There’s an app for that! With everything these days becoming digital, I guess it’s no surprise that coupons and other savings are now available right on your phone.
I must admit that over the past few years it seems the amount of money you can save via some of these apps has gone done. There was a point maybe 4 years ago where I had several apps on my phone that I was constantly toggling back and forth between. It wouldn’t be uncommon for me save $5 or more on one grocery trip with a few clicks (and some preparation). As time has gone on, it seems the savings aren’t quite as abundant and the amount of money you need to “save” before actually transferring the money to your bank account has gone up. However, I do feel like some of the apps are still worth discussing. Free money is free money, right?
I think most couponers can agree that Ibotta is the best savings app out there for grocery shopping. First, you download the app and create a username and password. Then click to add savings from different stores that you’re interested in. After you go shopping, you scan or photograph your receipt to redeem your saved offers. Once you have saved enough money with the app, you will be able to withdraw the cash. You can have the money sent to you via PayPal or Venmo, or you can choose from their gift card options.
Since I started using the app in 2014, it has changed and grown quite a bit. You’ve always been able to save at stores such as Walmart, Target, Tops and Wegmans, but their list of retailors has grown significantly over the years. You can save on things like groceries, but also clothes, crafting supplies and electronics. There are also lots of options to save while shopping online, very similar to Ebates, in which you get a certain percentage of “cash back”.
Most of their offers are brand specific. From example, right now there is an offer for $0.50 off Starkist Chicken Creations which is available at Walmart, Target or Tops (some offers are available at every retailor). Be sure to read the fine print as some offers involve buying 2 or more, while others you can use up to several times on one receipt. There are some “Any Brand” offers as well, but generally only a few are available at one time. You usually have to watch a short ad or answer a poll question to unlock “Any Brand” offers.
If you can line up your shopping with some of their bonuses, you get really rack up the savings! Some of their bonuses are based on redeeming a certain amount offers in a certain time frame. There are others that involve redeeming multiple offers from the same company. For example, right now there is a $0.50 Jif bonus when you redeem 2 out of the 3 Jif offers. Bonuses can be as little as $0.25 but some are $10 or more. You can also make a lot of money for referring friends to the app.
If you can get in the habit of looking up deals and being consistent with using the app, you get definitely save a lot of money. I have saved over $200 in using the app for 4 years! I’ve really slacked with it in the last year or so, so I’m sure I could have saved more. If you can use Ibotta offers on top of sales and regular coupons, you will become a savings master!
Checkout 51 is another app that is set up just like Ibotta. You add different offers to your list and then upload your receipt to redeem them. Once you’ve redeemed $20 or more in offers you can request a check or have the money sent to you via PayPal or other third party.
I personally haven’t had as much success with Checkout 51, but feel it’s still worth it if you’re willing to put in the time to scroll through multiple apps. You will often find the same products available on both apps- double savings!!
SavingStar is also quite similar to Ibotta and Checkout 51. I used to love it because you only needed to redeem $5 worth of offers before cashing out. They eventually switched to a $20 minimum so I stopped using it.
One thing that’s nice about SavingStar is for some stores you can upload your loyalty card information. So instead of having to upload your receipt after each shopping trip, it will automatically update your savings.
This app is set up differently than the others as you don’t have to buy specific products to save. You just upload all your receipts. Be aware that they don’t sell your personal information, but the data they collect from you is used for market research (which I assume may be true about the others as well).
Uploaded grocery store receipts, as well as receipts from other specific types of stores, give you coin rewards. Depending on how much money you spent, you will be given up to 20 coins per receipt. There are also bonuses and ways to spin a wheel to get more coins. Once you’ve collected enough coins, you can get your money via PayPal, a Visa gift card or an Amazon gift card.
I personally found this app too time consuming. I was hoarding receipts like crazy and it became a little much. Once I was almost ready to redeem my coins for actually money, it seemed like they raised the minimum redemption amount.
If you don’t mind collecting all your receipts and spending a couple minutes a day, there’s no reason not to at least try this app. One huge plus of this app over others is that you do not need to shop at specific stores or buy specific products. Just shop like you normally would and scan those receipts!
Most stores have an app these days, and some of them have clipless coupons and other ways to save. As long as you have the storage on your smartphone, you mine as well start downloading them!
The Wegmans app has had digital coupons for a while now. You can clip as many of them as you’d like and they will be saved to your Shopper’s Club account. When you scan or swipe your Shopper’s Club cart at checkout, the savings will be applied. Definitely pay attention to these- once in a while they will have a coupon for a free product!
Target's app has Circle offers you can add which can save you 5-50% off specific products. Many target brand foods havie a 5% off Cartwheel app regularly. What’s really nice is you can scan what you’re buying to check if there’s any Circle offers for it. I always try to make an effort to scan everything in my cart before cashing out to make sure I’m going to get all the deals!