Get Cash Back Grocery Shopping the Easy Way

Couponing apps are like your “little helpers” when going shopping.

They allow you to collect coupons while making out your shopping list.

They even send you alerts while you’re out shopping to remind you of an item that has a hot deal going on (while you’re in that same store!)

Below are a few of the most popular couponing apps and how you can best use them.

This page includes affiliate links. This means I may receive some sort of compensation (at no cost to you) if you make a purchase through these links.

Most couponing apps feature promoted items and offer cashback when you purchase them.

You “activate” the offer, and then when you purchase the item, you receive the cashback.

This can be done in a couple of ways, depending on the app —

  • Some apps are linked to your store rewards card, requiring no additional effort on your part. Once the purchase is sent from the store card to the app, you will be awarded the cashback.
  • Some apps want you to scan a receipt with your phone once you’ve made the purchase, so they can see that you bought the item. Once the scanned receipt is validated, you will receive the cashback amount to your account.

In a way, this process is like applying a coupon after the fact. 

And depending on the item, you can usually get anywhere from 25 cents to a few dollars per coupon.

Below are couponing apps that I have tried and my experiences with them.

Keepin’ it old school and need a way to organize your paper coupons? Try this: 

Limited Edition: Grocery Coupon Organizer Binder & Coupon Holder

All in all, I’ve quickly earned money over the past few months for doing nothing more than:

1) activating the online coupons and

2) scanning my receipts.

This was by purchasing items I already planned on buying, to begin with.

So seriously — what’s there to lose?

Checkout 51 – 

  • You can view items by Category or by store.
  • Then add to your “shopping list” for reference later.
  • Note if there is an item limit — some coupons can be used multiple times, whereas others can only be used once
  • Purchase item, scan receipt with your phone
  • This app can also be used with online retailers — you scan the itemized packing receipt from your online purchase.
  • Can link loyalty cards for preferred partners instead of manually scanning receipts. (Note: The available partners for this function are limited. None of the stores I use in the Northeast qualify for this service.)
  • Cash-out once your account reaches $20
  • Cash can be received by physical check or have deposited through PayPal.

Format: App or Web

Current earnings: $61.80

Ibotta – 

  • First off, find offers by store, and then add them to your list.
  • Purchase items in-store (or online, if using mobile in-app purchase deal)
  • Redeem offers by scanning receipts with the app.
  • Allows you to connect to Facebook and join “teams”. The better your team does, the more bonuses & rewards you can earn. If you don’t have many friends on Facebook who use ibotta, there are several Facebook groups that you can join to find teammates.
  • The Mobile Shopping Offers give you cashback for a percentage of what you spend online at certain retailers (similar to Ebates.) Examples of online stores are Amazon, Groupon, iTunes, Jet.
  • You cannot submit packing invoices as receipts from online retailers (like you can with Checkout 51.) To get cashback for shopping online, you need to do it directly through the ibotta app.
  • You can cash out once your account reaches $20.
  • Cash can be received via PayPal or Venmo, or you can redeem it for a gift card.

Format: App only

Current earnings: $41.32

Shopkick – 

  • Earn reward points called “kicks”, then redeem for gift cards
  • To earn kicks, you need to be physically in the store and scan a qualifying item while you are in there. (Can’t buy the item, and then scan it when you are back home.)
  • You can also earn kicks for “walk-ins”, where the app can tell you are in a particular store.
  • Another way to earn kicks is by viewing the ads on the mobile app. You can earn extra kicks by visiting online.
  • Stores, viewing products and making mobile purchases. A lot of times, there are hidden surprises within the app. If you scroll through an ad, there could be a secret “surprise” at the bottom, where you get free kicks.
  • Kicks can also be earned by submitting receipts for specific items. However, these items are pretty limited. Compared to other receipt scanning apps, this is not one of the best use of your time.
  • If you use Shopkick, your focus should be on in-store kicks rather than submitting receipts after the fact.
  • Watching in-app videos can also help you to earn kicks. In this way, Shopkick is a little like Swagbucks, where you are compensated for spending time viewing ads.

Format: App only

Current earnings: 1,271 kicks

(500 kicks = $2 gift card)

Saving Star –

  • Find offers by store, and activate in the app.
  • Purchase item in-store, scan receipt
  • Or link credit card for making purchases
  • Savings redeemed into your account.
  • You only need to earn $5 to cash out.
  • You can cash out by depositing directly into your bank account, PayPal, for a gift card or donate to charity.
  • Don’t forget to cash out — If your account is inactive for 180 days in a row, they assess a $3.99 monthly fee against any savings that happen to be sitting in your account.

 Format: App or Web

Current earnings: $37.92

Couponing 101: Simple Tips for Saving BIG

Hopefully, this will help you decide which rebate apps might be worth your while planning your shopping trips.

Do you have any other go-to apps to help save money when grocery shopping?

Feel free to share, and hit me up with some comments —

Robin