Grocery prices continue to rise. My pay continues to stagnate. How about you? Because of my schedule and responsibilities, I’m limited to the amount of side work I can do. So, I’ve got to save money where I can, which most recently has been through the use of couponing apps. While I call them couponing apps, technically, they are grocery rebate apps.
My biggest success so far? I got a pound of bananas for .4 cents 🙂 Shaw’s had bananas on sale for .29 cents a pound and I had a Checkout 51 rebate for .25 cents off bananas.
Ibotta, Checkout 51 and Snap by Groupon are three I’ve tried out so far. I can recommend all but Ibotta.
All three work basically the same way. You download them for free to your smartphone. An email address is required so they can contact you about your balance and rebate success.
Before you go to the store, open the app, and look at what rebates are available. Rebates usually change weekly. The two I use, Checkout 51 and Snap by Groupon, always have produce rebates. Who doesn’t want money back for buying onions and tomatoes?
After you purchase the items, you take a photo of your receipt and press a button on your phone to upload it instantly to the app company. You get confirmation minutes later that your purchase has been approved for the rebate as well as how much money has been added to your account.
Once you reach a certain dollar amount of savings, usually $20, you can request a payout in the form of a check or a gift card.
Why I’m not nuts about Ibotta
I have a few reasons why I haven’t taken to Ibotta. For one, Ibotta requires you either answer a short poll or quiz or read a recipe or watch a brief video to “unlock” a rebate. None of it is time consuming but it’s a step the other apps don’t require.
You’ve also got to scan product barcodes for items you’re rebating other than produce.
But my biggest problem with Ibotta is that you’re unlocking rebates for one particular store. I can’t unlock rebates for produce at Shaw’s (Albertson’s) and then change my mind and buy the produce at Walmart and submit the receipt. That involves going through the process of unlocking those particular rebates again but for Walmart.
In contrast, Checkout 51 and Snap by Groupon, you browse offers, buy the products you want then upload your receipt. It doesn’t matter which store you’ve shopped.
1. You’re not restricted from using one receipt to claim rebates from multiple apps.
For example, both Checkout 51 and Snap by Groupon have had rebates for tomatoes recently. So between the two, I used the same receipt/purchase to request cash back. Instead of .25 back for a tomato–I’ll get .50 cents–which is nearly one free tomato, depending on that week’s price and what variety I’ve bought 🙂
2. Submit your receipt quickly, usually there’s a 48 hour deadline.
Plus, there are a limited number of rebates available. So you want to submit your receipt right away to claim the offer. Bananas are a popular rebate on both Checkout 51 and Snap. I tried to submit a rebate for bananas yesterday and all the offers had been claimed in the hour it took me to get to the store and through the checkout line! That’s not terribly common though. Usually though that’s not the case. I think bananas are one of the most popular rebates.
3. Remember, the best app is the one that is easy and convenient enough for you to use regularly.
These are just a few of a slew of couponing apps/grocery rebate apps out there. Tell me what apps you’re using or have tried? Have I given up too soon on Ibotta? Have you had Ibotta success? Let me know in the comments.