Fiscal Fitness: Apps I Use

Good morning! It’s only about 1:00 a.m. at the moment.

Despite being tired, I have so much in my head that I started this post an hour ago hoping that writing would help me wind down.

I believe part of being a Proverbs 31 wife and momma is to be as fiscally responsible as possible. Does this mean I’m an extreme couponer? No. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Does this mean I go to multiple stores every week trying to find the best deal? Again, no. With two under two that would be daunting. It’s hard enough to keep my son entertained during one stop – I can’t imagine doing more than one with the littles with me.

I do try to find coupons for things online before a shopping trip. Usually coupons.com is a winner. Sometimes specific brand websites offer coupons.

The primary way that I save money, however, is through apps on my phone.

IBOTTA
The first one (and the one I love the most) is Ibotta. The app has a selection of categories (grocery, clothing, specialty, dining, on the go…just to name a few) and within those categories there are multiple stores or websites with individual deals or rebates. Some rebates are available at multiple locations and others are specific to a single retailer. There are specific brand rebates and then there are what they call “any brand” rebates. Each month you can earn multiple bonuses based off the number of rebates you redeem (certain ones, like “any brand” ones, don’t count – the app is very clear about what counts and what doesn’t) and the value you redeem (for example, I can earn the June Level 1 bonus if I redeem 10 rebates and my team redeems $15 worth). Your team pretty much consists of anyone you know on Facebook who also uses Ibotta. The app also rewards you when someone signs up using your personal referral code and redeems their first offer (the new user gets $10 and you get $5). It’s a pretty sweet deal and I’m close to reaching $400 in lifetime earnings. I can’t tell you how many items I’ve wanted that I’ve been able to purchase just because of my Ibotta earnings. There are multiple ways to withdraw your cash earnings: PayPal, Venmo, or a selection of gift cards. You only need a minimum of $20 to withdraw your cash. I enjoy letting it build for a while and then getting something big that I’ve been wanting, but couldn’t really justify fitting into the budget. So, in a way, it’s almost like a checking account that protects your money until you’re ready to use it. Anybody sold or willing to try it once? Here’s a link to join my team: https://ibotta.com/r/95heug

CHECKOUT 51

The second one I use regularly is Checkout 51. This one usually has a lot of offers that I will never use, but when it has offers that I want, they are typically pretty good ones. For example, there’s always a rebate for which you can choose one of the fruits or veggies listed for $.25 back. They’ve also had both types of diapers I use for a while and combined with manufacturer and store sales/coupons, I can usually save at least $3-5 when I buy diapers. It’s taken me a little longer to grow a cache on this app, but I check it every week because $.25 is better than nothing, right?! My lifetime earnings on this app is approaching $60. I haven’t had it as long as Ibotta and there are occasional periods (typically right after childbirth and the month or two after, lol) when I really don’t bother checking it. Checkout51 also requires a $20 minimum before cashing out and the process isn’t quite as simple: they mail you a check. But, that’s money back in your pocket that you wouldn’t have without using the app, so score! This app is currently running a referral bonus where every friend who signs up using your personal referral link will earn $5 cash back for uploading their first receipt and you will earn $5, too! Unlike Ibotta, who always has the referral bonus running, this is a limited time thing: new members must sign up by June 15th and upload their first receipt by June 20th. If you’re inspired to give it a try, here’s my referral link: http://c51.com/hGCu5qM

SAVINGSTAR

This is the last app I use that has specific offers for which you can earn rebates. It’s one that I just started using recently and I think it’s the most complicated. The list of stores you can upload receipts from seems a lot smaller to me, which only bothers me occasionally. Most of the time it’s not a big deal because I do most of my shopping at one store. The offers vary in that some only require that you purchase one item and another may require that you purchase more. Some offers that require multiple items to redeem also require that they be purchased in the same trip, on the same receipt. Others give the option to redeem over multiple trips – however many it takes to spend the required amount (for example, you would get $3 back after spending a total of $12 on Nestle Summer Treats and Toppings that are listed on the offer) as long you upload your receipt each time. Occasionally, the app has a free offer where you can get a full rebate on a single item (usually something small like a Cadbury egg at Easter) and there is usually a “Healthy Offer” that refunds a percentage back on that item (right now, it’s 20% back on mangoes). Some stores have loyalty cards and you can hook them up to the app to get your savings automatically and others require you to upload your receipts. The minimum payout is $5 and you can choose to have the funds deposited in your bank or PayPal accounts or to a gift card. My savings on this app are approaching $16 – I’m still getting used to using it. Most of those savings have been through purchasing Beech-Nut baby food. Awesome sauce!! Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be a referral program with this app yet.

TARGET CARTWHEEL

This is Target’s money-saving app and is great when used in conjunction with their RedCard because you can earn money back through the offers in the Cartwheel and then 5% on top of that when you use the RedCard to make your purchase. I would recommend searching for things you know you plan to purchase before you get into the store and then anything you pick up along the way, you can scan the barcode and who knows? There may be an offer for it. Typical offers are 5% back, but occasionally you’ll see more: 30%, $2, $.75 Of course, you can use manufacturer and store coupons, too, so the savings will start to stack up. You are limited as to the number of offers you can put into your Cartwheel, but the more you use it, the more offer spots open up. To take advantage of the offers in your Cartwheel, just have the checker scan your Cartwheel barcode before completing the transaction. No referral code on this one either.

WALMART SAVINGS CATCHER

Though I don’t shop at Walmart nearly as often as I used to, I sometimes run across offers and coupons that I can’t redeem anywhere else. Every time I shop there, no matter how few items, I scan the receipt (really easy because they use a QR code – wish Ibotta and other stores would start doing that!!) and sometimes I get money back. Keeping in mind that I don’t shop there often, my lifetime earnings are barely over $30…but it’s still $30 I wouldn’t have if I didn’t use the app!! If you’re not familiar with it, it basically takes the items on your receipt that are available elsewhere and compares the Walmart price with other advertised prices in the area. If Walmart’s price is higher, they refund the difference to your account and you can put it on an eGift card that you can print and use in the store or online (you don’t have to print it to use it online, of course). So, I guess you could say it’s a price-matching app. No referral code here.

RECEIPT HOG

This is the last app I use and it works much differently than the previous three. This app rewards you for uploading receipts – pretty much any receipt gets you something, whether it be coins or entries into their monthly sweepstakes. There’s a slots game that you can earn spins on by uploading receipts and you use it to earn more coins. Some people have won the value of their most recent shopping trip receipt that they uploaded and others have won $100. I haven’t been that lucky yet….my fingers are crossed, lol. There is a list on the app of what receipts are accepted and which are not. The list seems to be shrinking..though there are still some that don’t earn coins, just sweepstakes entries. Your coins can be redeemed through Amazon or PayPal and there are different dollar amounts per number of coins (i.e. 1,000 coins rewards $5, 1800 coins rewards $10, etc.). I’m excited because I just realized I have enough coins to redeem for $30 – woohoo! When you cash out, it takes seven days for them to review and approve your request and then they will email you. This app doesn’t have a referral bonus either, from what I can see. Who knows? Maybe they’ll add one in the future.

You might think that these just take too much time, but it really isn’t bad. I just do it as I unload groceries since a couple of them require you to scan item barcodes and the receipt. It’s awesome when more than one app is offering cash back on the same item – talk about excited, lol! Especially when I have a coupon for the item and the store has it on sale. BONUS!!

I hope this post offers some insight or answers any questions you might have had about any of these apps. Perhaps you’ve been encouraged to give them a try. You can always close your account and delete the app if you decide it’s not for you. All of them except for Target and Walmart (I’ve just learned by trial and error with them) have pretty good FAQ and help sections on their apps.

Do you have any money-saving apps not listed in this post that you absolutely love and want to share with me? Please do!

Okay…I think I can go to sleep now. Tomorrow is going to be a looooong day since I’ve been up so late. Sigh.

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