Grocery savings in the palm of your hand

WICHITA, Kansas — Forget clipping coupons! More shoppers these days are saving money at the grocery store with something they use every day — their smartphone.

Several apps allow you to get money back on the food you buy just by scanning a barcode or receipt.

Janie Becker and Tiffany Owens are busy moms who gave up on clipping coupons because it takes too long. What’s more, Tiffany would often forget to take her coupons to the store, but not anymore!

“Because they’re on my phone that I take everywhere,” said Owens.

Digital coupons and rebates can be downloaded to a smartphone for free with apps like Ibotta, Checkout 51, SavingStar and many more. With so many available, how do you choose? It comes down to how much time you’re willing to invest.

GET THE APPS:

Janie prefers Receipt Pal.

App-Icons“You can use if for any receipts you have, whether it’s restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations,” said Janie.

Using her cell phone, she simply takes a picture of her receipt.

“And when you do four receipts, you get 100 points. It adds up your points, and you cash them in for gift cards, donations to charities.”

Tiffany’s favorite is Checkout 51, an app that offers product rebates — from a few cents to a few dollars — at many different stores. She loads the rebates to her phone simply by clicking on them. Later, after paying for her groceries, she takes a picture of her receipt to verify her purchase. Once the money in her account reaches $20 or more, she can redeem it in the form of a check.

The apps that take less time have smaller returns, but it all adds up. Tiffany has been using a variety of apps for about six months.

“On one app, I have $50 saved. Another, I have $10 saved, and another one I have $15,” said Tiffany.

Another friends of theirs, Amy Fuqua, likes Ibotta, an app that takes a little more time than others but offers a wide variety of product rebates at dozens of stores, including military commissaries.

“They also have more generic stuff, whereas some of the other apps have very specific stuff that’s harder to find,” said Amy.

To unlock product rebates on Ibotta, shoppers must watch a short video, take a survey, or see a recipe. Because that can be time-consuming, Amy does it before she goes to the store, often while watching TV at home.

Once at the store, she scans the bar code on each product she’s buying to make sure it matches the Ibotta rebate. After paying for her groceries, Amy must take a picture of her receipt with her phone to verify her purchases.

Ibotta allows shoppers to redeem the money in their account in the form of a gift card or cash.

“Yea, there are gift cards on here, but they also can get sent to PayPal, which I already have my PayPal account linked to my bank, which means the money eventually goes right back into my bank account,” said Amy with a smile.

All three ladies use digital coupons too on store apps like Dillons, Walgreens andTarget’s Cartwheel. The only downside is the deals apply only to that specific store.

GET THE APPS:

Walmart offers the Savings Catcher, an app that checks the prices on your Walmart receipt against sales at other stores and pays you the difference if a product is cheaper elsewhere.

Janie, Tiffany and Amy plan to use their savings from grocery store apps to buy Christmas presents.

“I’m currently up to $200 between all of my different apps that I have,” said Amy.

Not a bad way to take a bite out of their grocery bill!

 

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