Cooking at home instead of eating out or hitting the drive through on the way home is already a great way to keep your budget on track. But everyone still feels the pinch on a trip to the grocery store these days. If you’re wondering if there’s any way to stretch your grocery budget, check out these four apps that you can use make your grocery dollar go further.
Swagbucks has been around the online cash back scene for a long time. They have multiple ways to earn ‘SB’ that can be redeemed directly for cash through PayPal or for gift cards. Each SB is equivalent to a penny, but they add up quickly. You can earn by watching videos, playing games, taking surveys, shopping online. When it comes to groceries there’s actually two ways to save. First, you can print coupons to take to the store and scan at check out. As a bonus you get 2 SB for printing the coupon whether or not you redeem it, then you get an extra 25 SB once it has been redeemed. This is on top of the value of the coupon that is taken off your total at the store. You can print the coupons from the app, but I find it easier to print from Swagbucks.com on my laptop. Secondly, you can submit grocery receipts to match to specific offers. In the Swagbucks app go to the ‘Shop’ section of the app and tap on ‘In Stores’ to find the available offers. Select the ones that match items on your receipt, then tap on the Upload Receipt button which allows you to take a picture of your receipt. The app proceeses your receipt to match the offers and deposits the SB in your account. This is a little less complicated than printing coupons, but the offers and coupons are usually for different items, so which avenue you take depends on your shopping list.
Shopkick is a fun app with a bit of a scavenger hunt feel. You earn ‘Kicks’ at some stores just for walking inside. You also earn for finding listed items and scanning the barcode with your phone. If you’re purchasing one of the listed items you can also submit your receipt for additional Kicks. You can spend a lot of time tracking down items to scan, but if you want to grab a few easy Kicks, there’s usually a high concentration of items to scan in the health and beauty section. Additionally, the novelty ice cream and the magazines by the checkout can offer a few quick scans. The best part of Shopkick is that you don’t actually have to purchase anything to earn Kicks. The redemption scale is a little different, 250 Kicks convert to $1, but Shopkick makes up for this quirkiness with a completion meter letting you know how close you are to a reward. When you sign up for Shopkick use code SAVE785426 to get 250 Kicks towards your first gift card or PayPal redemption.
Ibotta is a straightforward coupon app. Select offers for items you’ve purchased, then upload your receipt. Everything is done in straight dollars and cents – there’s not a point system to convert to cash – which makes it easy track your earnings. You do need to have at least $20 in earnings to make a withdrawal, but Ibotta offers 3 different welcome bonuses totalling $20 to help build your initial balance, so you can redeem cash to your bank account, PayPal, or a gift card without much effort.
Fetch Rewards is my new favorite app. Once it’s setup all you have to do is snap a picture of your receipt and the app automatically applies any offers that match your purchases. There’s no ads to watch or offers to select – it’s fully automated couponing. You can also connect your email account and Fetch Rewards will check to see if your online orders from places like Target.com and Walmart.com match any offers. Fetch Rewards uses 1000 points per $1 and offers varying bonuses just for submitting receipts – so you can progress towards claiming a gift card even if a receipt doesn’t match any offers. Fetch Rewards asks for a referral code at sign up, so use NKPJT to get 2000 points towards a gift card.
If this seems like a lot, start with Ibotta or Fetch Rewards and add more as you get comfortable. Using all four apps will let you cast a wider net and get more cash back – particularly because items tend show up in multiple apps. For example, this weekend I picked up a Dove product for my wife that had cash back on Fetch Rewards, Ibotta, and Shopkick making it 50% off.
Let me know your cash back success stories and favorite apps in the comments below.
DadFindsDollars may earn a referral fee for some of the links in this article. But don’t worry Dad uses each of these apps personally to stretch his own budget and if you sign up you’ll get your own referral link to help your friends find more dollars too.