New Year, Better Finances: Simple and Easy Ways I Save Money with Apps!
If you have been following along with my blog posts, you will know that one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to continue my journey of getting myself into a better financial situation. This includes smart shopping, paying off bills, and continuing to save. If you want to read more about my New Year’s Resolutions, you can check out my blog post here.
One way I try to shop smart is by using apps! I definitely was not one to get into couponing (it just wasn’t for me), as I found I wasn’t saving much, coupons were often not made for the products I wanted, and I needed to buy a lot in bulk of items I did not necessarily need at the time, so it just seemed like more money I was spending. This may work for a family; however, it wasn’t the best use of my time for a one to two person household. In addition, I stopped getting the Sunday Paper, so in turn, I missed out on the coupon books; however, in the end, I think I was saving more NOT subscribing to the paper.
I like easy ways to save money or earn money or rewards, such as gift cards, back! Through the wonder of the cell phone, I have found several ways to do so! :). So keep reading to find out more and if there is one that interests you!
Keep scrolling to shop my outfit!
One of the more popular shopping programs that I’m sure many of you have used, as it has been around the longest, is Ebates. This is also one of the first programs I joined! Ebates is a web-based program for online shopping that gives you money back for whatever purchases you make! Not every retailer is on Ebates (like Amazon), but many of my favorites are, including Express, New York & Company, and Macy’s. At times, I’m pleasantly surprised when a retailer pops up as an Ebates retailer! The hardest thing is remembering to shop through Ebates and earning the most bang for your buck! Here are my tips and tricks to using Ebates:
Install the browser application on your laptop or desktop. I have found that this works best in ensuring I use Ebates. Whenever I visit a retailer that is part of Ebates, a pop up notification comes up, which ensures I activate cash back. This is the easiest way to shop!
I prefer the desktop and laptop to shop via Ebates. I have downloaded the app and do not prefer it. It often does not recognize my account or provide cash back when I shop. I know this may not always be convenient, but sometimes I actually prefer shopping on a larger screen anyways!
Be sure to look out for the best cash back opportunities. At times, you can earn up to 10% cash back! These often pop up during the busiest shopping times, such as weekends, Black Friday, and holiday sales. If you are planning a large shopping trip, this is always helpful! However, even if the cash back deals aren’t great, I’d rather get something than nothing!
Ebates mails out an actual check four times a year (aligned to the seasons). Then you can cash it! In the last 8 months, I’ve earned over $100 cash back! Although it’s not a TON of money, I’ll take $100 any day for shopping when I am barely doing any work. One of my favorite ways to use Ebates is just pop the check in my savings account! This is a great way to continually add to your savings. Every little bit counts!
If you have not tried out Ebates and want to, feel free to use my referral code. When you sign up and spend $25, you will get an additional $10 in your Ebates account, which will be included in your first check!
My Ebates referral code is: https://www.ebates.com/r/KNOWAK38?eeid=28187.
Ibotta was also one of the first money saving apps that I’ve used! There are a few ways to use Ibotta: Online Shopping (where you have to log in and shop through the app to get cash back) or shopping at grocery and convenience stores!
When shopping online via the app, it is similar to Ebates where you have to shop through the app to get cash back. This is where I often forget to do it! They have a lot of retailers that they share with Ebates, but you cannot shop through both. I find that the cash back is similar, so it is up to you on which one you want to use. Since Ebates has slightly more retailers than Ibotta, I generally use Ebates for online shopping; however, the BEST thing is that you can shop Amazon via Ibotta! Your purchases on Amazon have to qualify (which they don’t always), but this is awesome! I just need to remember to do this.
I like using Ibotta for grocery shopping or drugstore shopping. You can earn cash back on household and self-care products! The only thing with using Ibotta for grocery shopping is that it takes a little bit of preparation work on your end to earn cash back. You can identify your favorite retailers (for me, it is Giant Eagle, Acme, CVS, Walgreen’s, Wal-Mart, and Target). Once you know where you are shopping and what you are getting, you can browse items to get cash back. You then select the items you want cash back on. I have to be careful not to buy items just to get the cash back (that isn’t saving me any money), but at times, if I am looking for a product, I will find another brand name to try out. I try to do this before shopping, but sometimes I will even step aside in the store and add products for cash back if I forgot. If you have a Frequent Shopper Card, you can link it up and your cash back will automatically link up. The downside is that this does not always work, and I find it’s often easier and quicker to submit the receipt after the fact. Unfortunately, some stores, like Acme, only link up via the Shopper Card. At times, I have to watch if the cash back comes through; otherwise I have to submit a request.
If you are using Ibotta, here are some tips and tricks I’ve learned:
1) As I mentioned above, try to plan your shopping trip in advance, especially if you only can get cash back via the Frequent Shopper Card. Otherwise, I often find it’s easier to submit receipts retroactively.
2) Always use Ibotta when shopping on Amazon! This is where I’ve earned the largest amounts of my cash back.
3) Be sure to submit even small receipts. 90% of the time you can get cash back under “Any Item.” This can range anywhere from 0.10 and 0.50. Before you know it, this adds up.
4) If you are shopping for wine or alcohol at any of these retailers, this is where I have been able to get the majority of my cash back (with the exception of Amazon). Unfortunately, some of your favorite drinks are not always available for cash back, but you may be pleasantly surprised at times. This has also led me to try new wines! The best part is that I have found wines already on sale, with a manufacturer rebate, an Ibotta rebate, plus a 10% discount when I buy a case of six (I think this is an Ohio only thing). This has led to some quality wines being less than $8.
5) Lastly, the only annoying thing about Ibotta is ensuring that you get your cash back. Like I said, it is usually not an issue when submitting receipts but can be an issue when linking up through the Frequent Shopper Card. If this is the case, just submit a request through Ibotta. This is annoying, but it is worth it, especially if you are earning more than $5 back. I have never had an issue getting my money via the Help Center.
And that’s it! Once you reach $20 or more in rebates, you can choose to get it in your account via PayPal or in a form of a gift card. For me, I prefer the cash, so I always request it via PayPal. You can wait to transfer it if you want a larger chunk of money, but I prefer to bring it over right away, just in the event something goes wrong with Ibotta. In a year and a half of using it, I’ve earned over $150! This is a free grocery shopping trip. Although some may feel that’s not a ton of money, I prefer getting it over not getting it.
I’d love for you to use my referral code when signing up for Ibotta. After you sign up and make your first purchase using a Brand rebate, you will get $10 in your account. My code is: https://ibotta.com/r/xkikadf or xkikadf.
After having some success with Ebates and Ibotta, I decided to go ahead and try out Fetch Rewards, which I saw advertised on some other mobile apps. This is easier than Ibotta—you basically just upload your receipt and you get points. There are specific brands that you can go ahead and tag, but most of the time the app will recognize them for you. Just make sure you double check all the brands though, as some receipts can be wonky. Even if you don’t purchase brand name items, you will STILL get points for uploading your receipt, which is generally a percentage of the total you spend. The best part is that Fetch recognizes Aldi receipts! This is the NOT the case for Ibotta, so if you find yourself shopping at Aldi more often than chain grocery stores, then this is the app for you! Fetch ONLY accepts grocery or convenience stores. I’m assuming this would also include wholesale clubs (which I don’t frequent); however, I have not tried it. I’ve been successful uploading receipts from Aldi, Giant Eagle, Acme, CVS, Walgreen’s, Big Lots, and Target.
Once you earn a certain amount of points, you can go ahead and transfer them into rewards. Unlike Ebates and Ibotta, Fetch only offers gift cards and not cash back; however, this is still great for just uploading a receipt. In order to get any gift cards, you need to obtain at least 5,000 points, which equates to a 5.00 gift card. 5,000 points sounds like a lot, but it adds up quickly, especially if you are doing grocery trips over $100. I already have over 9,000 points after 26 receipts and just downloading the app in October. I’m hoping to save up to like 50,000 points and cash it in for a $50 gift card. Some retailers you can get gift cards from include: Best Buy, Sephora, art.com, AMC theaters, Regal Cinemas, Redbox, Stubhub, Charming Charlie, Athleta, Express, Banana Republic, Old Navy, White House/Black Market, Visa or MasterCard gift card, Petco, Applebee’s, Panera Bread, Caribou Coffee, Chipotle, Cracker Barrel, Darden Restaurants, Amazon, Target, eBay, JC Penney, Marshall’s, Nordstrom, QVC, TJ Maxx, Ulta, Wal-Mart, Kohl’s, Lowe’s, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, Nordstrom Rack, Steinmart, Whole Foods, Yankee Candle, Cheryl’s Cookie Co, Hello Fresh, Shutterfly, Auto Zone, Delta Airlines, hotels.com, and Southwest Airlines, to name a few.
Really—this is for EVERYONE. Everyone grocery shops and needs daily necessities. Plus, there is a HUGE amount of retailers to earn gift cards from—there is truly something for everyone!
And that’s basically it! I have no tips and tricks, as it is pretty simple, easy, and straightforward.
If you want to join and automatically earn 2,000 points, use my code NX3JA!
I recently found out about the Drop App through a few Instagrammers. This one is easy, but it’s not as comprehensive. With this one, you just link up any of your bank cards (credit or debit), and it will track a purchase at any specific retailer. For example, I currently have linked up Chipotle, Starbucks, Target, Ulta, Bath & Body Works, Walgreen’s, & Macy’s. Anytime I make a purchase at any of those retailers with my linked up card, I earn points. Like Fetch, once you earn a certain amount of points, you can redeem for a gift card.
I just downloaded this last fall and already earned 5,000 points in a few weeks, which equated to a $5.00 Starbucks gift card. I treated myself to a coffee! I just went on and looked, and it appears that they have limited the amount of $5 gift cards available (no more Starbucks at $5!), and they mostly all start at $10 (with the exception of Aerie and Sephora). But let’s be honest, I was probably only going to do Starbucks at $5 to get free coffees! So at this point, I’ll probably save up for a bigger Target gift card!
And that’s it! It’s pretty easy and does not require any work on your end, except to log in every once in a while to add new retailers or check your balance.
If you want to automatically earn 5,000. or $5 when you sign up for Drop, use my code: 9j0s3.
And those are the apps I use in a nutshell! Like I said previously, some require a little more work than others, but there are some on here that require hardly any! So download all, download a few! This won’t make you rich or save you a TON of money, but if you spend a lot at the grocery store, Target, Starbucks, or are just a plain shopaholic like me, you might as well earn money and gift cards back for your purchases, right?!