I love to shop. But even more than shopping, I love to land a great deal. I have long been a coupon shopper but I have also found coupon apps are a great way to supplement my savings. Saving money is just as important as making money!
If you are unfamiliar with these tools, they are simply applications downloaded to your smartphone that will allow you to save money on certain grocery purchases. Instead of coupons redeemed at the register however, you are earning cash back in most cases. And you are usually earning $.25 – $1 per item. That adds up!
This past week I put four of the most popular grocery coupon apps available head-to-head. I didn’t change my shopping habits. I still shopped the sales and for items I needed. I took the savings where available. Here are my savings from each of the four apps I used along with my experience with each.
Checkout 51 Review
The savings was almost instant! I checked the items in app that I bought and scanned my receipt. Within a few seconds the savings was added to my account.
I was able to redeem several fresh fruit and veggie items with Checkout 51. That’s a common complaint with couponers – it can be hard to shop cheap AND healthy.
You can upload your receipt online in addition to your smartphone.
There weren’t a lot of items to choose from. However, I believe this is a newer app. I would expect the list to grow quickly.
There is currently a $20 minimum for requesting a payment. I did receive a $1 bonus just for enrolling however.
Payment by check only.
Total savings this week: $2.75 + $1 sign-up bonusSign up for Checkout 51 here.
This has long been my favorite grocery app. For the most part, no scanning! It links to your store loyalty card and your list is checked from there.
More shopping options have recently been added for non-loyalty card stores like Walmart and Dollar General. These require a receipt scan.
Every Friday they announce a freebie item. You get 100% cash back on that purchase. Even if you don’t need the item, pick it up for donating to your local food pantry.
If you aren’t sure whether an item qualifies for the cash back you can scan it on the shelf for confirmation.
SavingStar has recently added an online shopping option similar to Ebates.
Take your savings by PayPal, Amazon gift card or charity donation once you hit $5.
It usually takes a few days for savings to be confirmed and added to your account. Some stores can take up to 22 days.
Total savings this week: $4.39
Get paid by PayPal ($5 minimum) or gift ($10 minimum)
They have recently started offering non-brand specific staples like milk.
I don’t use this app much because there is so much more work involved. You have to scan the barcode of each item you want to redeem in addition to scanning your receipt.
You have to perform little tasks, usually multiple little tasks, to “unlock” your savings. You may need to learn a fact, watch a video, take a poll, share to Facebook. And that is for each item.
In the past, I have twice scanned a receipt only to receive a message hours or days later telling me my receipt can’t be confirmed and I need to rescan. By that time, I’ve already shredded my receipt.
Total savings this week: $2
Walmart Savings Catcher Review
If you register your phone number you can simply enter it at checkout and your receipt will be submitted for checking automatically. No scanning. You can also enter your receipt online or scan with your smartphone.
I was very happy to see that it isn’t just grocery stores they use for comparison. I had 14 stores listed for comparison from an area of about 30 miles from the store. In that list was PetSmart, Petco, Menards, Dollar Store, Family Dollar and Super Target in addition to the local grocers.
Payment is only available by Walmart gift card. For regular Walmart shoppers that’s great. Me? I was quickly reminded during my trip why I haven’t been back to Walmart in almost six months. Worst. Customer. Service. Ever. This won’t be a frequently used app by me, regardless of the savings.
“Catching” can take up to 72 hours. Mine went over that timeline by about 12 hours.
Your savings is capped at $599.99 per year.
You must have a Walmart.com account to use this app.
Total savings this week: $0
What is the best coupon app?
Why pick just one? The great thing about these apps is that they are in no way connected. You can use them all. While I was bummed at the Walmart savings (and experience), if your receipts are being automatically fed into the system there is no work on your end.
For the others, spend two minutes before entering the store adding items to your savings list. Spend one minute, with the exception of Ibotta, scanning your receipt to each app when done shopping. If you are netting $10 per shopping trip, that’s going to add up quickly. I shop biweekly. That’s $260 per year that I can put into savings or cash out for holiday shopping.
You can also use these apps in conjunction with merchant and in-store coupons. I always shop the circulars and use coupons when available saving us around 30-50% per trip. (Couponmom.com makes this super simple with their Grocery Deals by State section.)
The savings, or cash back in this instance, is there for the taking. And it doesn’t take the hours on end you may have led yourself to believe. A minute here and a minute could be earning you an extra several hundred dollars per year.