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For June, we are doing a Low Spend Month Challenge.
On that note, if you want to participate, you can get the details when you sign up for our newsletter. We are sharing helpful info and our meal plans every Monday to help you cut your spending. You can also get our calendar via the newsletter. Sign up here (just scroll down to see the sign up), or if you prefer, you could check out our resource page.
Each week, we are challenging those who are participating in the challenge to try new things in order to save a little more. Last week, we talked about trying coupons. Our lovely coupon queen, Shakema, shared 5 tips to help you get started with coupons (and you should check them out if you haven’t already!). This week, we are looking into grocery savings apps.
Because I am not super familiar with these apps, I went to our Frugal Family Food Community Facebook group. It has over 100,000 members who are actively sharing tips and tricks to help everyone save money, so I KNEW they were the ones to ask about savings apps.
We took a poll in the group to see which savings apps were the most popular. I included the apps that I had heard about including Ibotta, Checkout 51, Favado, Savingstar, Cartwheel, Walmart, Dollar General, Snap, Anylist, Berry Cart, and Other (where I asked the members to name the “other” in the comments). I also required that no one share affiliate links to keep people from promoting for the sake of gain. The results were surprising.
The top ranking app by far was Ibotta. This app is pretty simple. You sign up, add offers onto the app before you go shopping, shop at a participating store, take a picture of your receipt to redeem your offers, and cash will appear in your account after 48 hours. Many members of our group have recommended it in the past, and in our sister Facebook group, Frugal Family Christmas, there are those who claim they fund the holidays with their Ibotta cash.
Let’s be honest. We all shop at Walmart. So, if we all shop there, an app that automatically checks prices and gives you the difference on an eGift card makes total sense. That is what happens with the Savings Catcher function on the app. You can also use the app to choose store pickup for your online order, use Walmart pay, makes shopping lists, compare prices, reorder your favorite purchases, and manage prescriptions in the pharmacy. Walmart’s pickup service, in particular, is very popular with our members. This was the first of the store specific apps, and it is good that such a popular company has an equally popular app.
The Kroger app was not even on my list, but in the “Other” category, it had so many mentions that it outranked the next most popular app. Using the Kroger app, you can also build a shopping list and order it for pick-up. You can view the weekly ads and load digital coupons and their store card so that you can save the most money in the simplest way. You can also manage your prescriptions and check out your fuel points. I think my favorite feature is the ability to view your purchase history. This will help you better understand your shopping patterns so you can make changes and refine your shopping process.
Checkout 51 works in a way that is very similar to Ibotta. You go through their offers, choose the ones you like, purchase them at the store, take a picture of your receipt, select your claims, then get cash back. You account has to reach $20 before you can get a check. There are lots of complaints on the app store about the functionality of this app. One was that you had to scroll through every offer to find one, rather than being able to search by item. This could be why it is lower ranking on our list. Some folks really do seem to like it, and they still made it in the top echelons of our list.
Savingstar works a little bit differently than the other grocery apps. You choose your store first. Then, you can activate your rebates. Once you shop, you can earn cash rewards. Again, you have to meet the $20 threshold to cash out. This app actually has a higher star rating in the App Store than Checkout 51. They are limited in the list of grocery stores that participate, but it could be that it is an option that would work well for you.
Cartwheel is Target’s savings app. This app works in the standard way- search for deals, shop in store, scan your barcode at checkout, then you get the savings. You can also stack other coupons and rebates. One downside, according to reviewers, you have to be in store to use it. Considering that the most popular apps in our group had the options to order outside of the store for pickup, this is a major miss for Target.
The Shopkicks app is a little different than some of the other apps, and it is very highly rated on the app store. You can earn “kicks” to gain rewards in 8 different ways, and some of the kicks do not require you to spend any money. You can just walk into one of their partner stores and earn a kick. You can scan barcodes in store without making a purchase, make a purchase with a linked card, submit receipts like other apps, visit online stores, view products online, make online purchases, and even just watch videos. The rewards come in the form of gift cards instead of cash.
For the Meijer stores, this app lets you use their store card more efficiently. You can add digital coupons and earn rewards as you shop. The app also has some features, like creating a shopping list and printing pictures from your phone, that make it more convenient to use. If you have a Meijer near you, this seems like a smart app to have.
The other apps that I listed had NO votes. I was surprised since I had heard them promoted by other bloggers as being helpful for grocery savings. I will say that I know many people use and are devoted to the Dollar General app, but it was getting no love on the day we did our poll.
All in all, I will say that it is a good idea to try out some of these top ranking apps and see if they work for you. Stack them with coupons, sales, and other deals to get the most out of your grocery dollars.
What apps do you use? Are you a fan of any that were not mentioned? Leave a comment below and share! We would love to hear about your experiences!
Amanda is a wife, mom, and all around frugal lady. She shares her family and faith on The Fundamental Home and Fundamental Faith YouTube channels. She also blogs at thefundamentalhome.com There, you can find her blog series, “How I Feed My Family of 5 for $100 Every Month.” Amanda is co-creator of Frugal Family Food and, as such, is dedicated to helping families eat well on a budget.
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