Back to Basics: Using Apps to Save
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Back to Basics: Using Apps to Save

Posted on Friday, January 17th, 2014 at 8:00 am
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Phone AppsRepeat after us, “Apps are friends, not foes”. If you’re smartphone savvy using apps should be easy for you. And, as it turns out, using them in conjunction with your coupons can save you more money than using just one or the other! When shopping with coupons and apps it’s important to know which applications are trustworthy, effective, and easy to use, so we’ve come up with our favorites:

1. Checkout 51

Checkout 51 is a relatively new app to US consumers, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take it seriously. Until fairly recently Checkout 51 was only available to users in Canada, the app and it’s founders are based out of Toronto, and it was originally launched in December of 2012. The Checkout 51 app is a receipt scanning program that gives you cash back when you buy certain items or fulfill particular requirements (such as having a grocery receipt over $60). Every week new offers are uploaded at 12:00 am on Thursday and then taken down the following Wednesday at 11:59 pm. For that time period you can buy the listed offers and submit your receipt to get cash back for your purchase. For example, say this week has an offer of $0.50 cash back for a dozen of eggs (any brand). You have to submit a picture of your receipt before the offer expires on Wednesday at 11:59 pm. The good news is that you can still use coupons when you fulfill offers, so your money will be even better spent!

2. Ibotta 

The Ibotta app offers you money when you buy any products currently included in their offers. When you see a product you need to buy, simply tap it and finish one of the tasks. Some ask you to take a poll or watch a video. Once finished, the offer is added to a list along with any other offers you’ve completed. When you are done picking out all of your offers, you then choose which store you’ll be shopping at. Ibotta works with several stores nationwide including Target, CVS Pharmacy, Bi-Lo, Fred Meyer, Kroger, Winn-Dixie,  and many more.  After you bring all of your groceries home, you snap a photo of your receipt and scan the barcodes on all qualifying products purchased. Once your receipt and barcodes have been verified Ibotta will either put the rewards into your PayPal account or donate the funds to a school of your choice!

3. Shopkick 

The Shopkick app rewards you for not only shopping, but it also rewards you for just walking into a store. Shopkick rewards its users with “kicks” when they open up their app (unfortunately this  happens only once a day), walk into a store, scan an item, or purchase what you need anyways! Your “kicks” can be redeemed for gift cards or certain items from your favorite retailers like Starbucks, Macy’s, etc.! Keep in mind this app was designed with the thought that if a shopper were in a store or had an item in their hands they’d be more likely to buy it. When you’re using  this app be careful to not buy what you don’t need!

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.