via Tech Crunch by Sarah Perez |
Call it #RealWorldTech: the following eight mobile apps can help you save money on your groceries – even if you don’t have time to clip coupons. The latest, of course, comes from Groupon which has been steadily expanding beyond the daily deals space. But it’s only one of now many apps that not only tell you where to find savings, but actually pay you back for buying groceries, including staples like milk and bread
Ibotta is a longtime favorite, offering a variety of cash back options at just about any store. Though the app started with a focus on groceries and other CPG items as an alternative to digital coupons, it has since expanded into almost every other area of commerce, including wine & spirits, retail, apparel, electronics, restaurants, pet stores, home improvement and more.
But to get your money back from grocery purchases, it’s a fairly easy process: tap on the offer to and answer a short question or read some info, scan the item’s barcode, then snap a photo of your store receipt. Ibotta often offers cash-back for purchases of staple items, like milk – a way to get users to regularly return to the app. Ibotta users can also join together in teams for increased savings. Ibotta lets you extract your earnings via PayPal, Venmo, or in gift card format.
Checkout 51 is similar to Ibotta in that it matches your grocery receipt purchases to a list of offers it provides. To get started, you snap a photo of the receipt then select the e-coupons you’re looking to match. It’s easier than Ibotta because you don’t have to do anything but scan and snap.
While there is some overlap with Ibotta in terms of offers (a good thing, since you get to save twice!), Checkout 51 will often have its own unique deals, too. Plus, it tends to feature more staple items that anyone can claim. This week, for example, you can get cash back for buying tomatoes, yogurt, or bananas – no matter where you shop. Once your account reaches $20, you can request a check.
Shopmium also works similarly to Ibotta and Checkout 51, however its deals aren’t tied to any particular store. Not all stores are listed on Shopmium’s app, but it still honors purchases that match its offers as long as you provide a computerized sales receipt that shows all the details. (That means some small delis and markets won’t work.)
Shopmium doesn’t always have as many offers as others, but it regularly has good deals that match up with ongoing store promotions, making it always worth a look.
SavingStar is yet another app offering cash back on groceries. The company has good – if not universal – coverage on grocery chains, drug stores and big box retailers in the U.S. It often runs a “healthy offer of the week” to encourage you to buy something fresh like fruits and veggies. (That’s especially helpful since hardcore couponers are mainly shopping for packaged goods thanks to coupon stacking tricks).
SavingStar supports “automatic savings” for stores that offer loyalty cards, which makes it easier to earn rewards.
The latest to get into the game is Groupon Snap, which also lets you earn cash back for groceries. At launch, the app seemed to have a smaller selection of offers than the competition but that’s quickly changing. Some offers can only be used once, and offers can expire when the maximum number of redemptions have been reached – something you’ll see in some of the competing apps, too.
Groupon has also been offering a staple or two – this month, it’s milk and bread – so you can earn cash back for your everyday shopping.
Favado isn’t the prettiest app of the bunch, but it’s super practical. Instead of offering you cash back on groceries, it actually helps you save more at the register by telling you what’s on sale, which coupons to use and where to find them. If you’re starting to coupon clip (old-school style – with scissors!) it can be a handy mobile aid. But even if you’re not clipping, the app helps you by alerting you to sales.
An extreme couponer’s bible, Southern Savers is one of the most up-to-date, comprehensive resources for those trying to learn the lingo, learn how deals work, what coupons to stack, how offers combine, and more. The app provides the match-ups for your favorite stores – that’s the weekly store sales and the coupons that work to reduce the sale price even further. It also lets you build shopping lists, research available coupons in its massive database, and much more.
Receipt Hog has been around for some time, and also lets you snap receipts of grocery purchases for cash back. However, it complicates things by paying you in “coins” which you then have to redeem for cash. That can make it difficult to know what you’re saving. Plus the app ventures into the world of paid surveys and market research, instead of e-coupons. In fact, that’s why you’re not matching receipts to offers with this app – its about collecting data about consumer purchases, not encouraging you to buy specific items. Still, free money is free money, right?
Image credit, shopping cart: Appszoom.com