I used to have a drawer in my kitchen where I put all my coupons, rebates, special offers, etc., all those invaluable little pieces of paper that made stretching my budget to the max possible. It was just an ordinary drawer, but it was absolutely full to the brim with money-saving paper scraps.
There were coupons that came in the mail, in the Sunday newspaper, and on the back of my receipts. Sometimes, I was able to find the brands or products I was looking for; other times, to be totally honest, sorting through it all was a bit overwhelming. Okay, it was really overwhelming.
Then I discovered shopping rewards and rebate apps and pretty much ditched my coupon drawer—forever. Goodbye old paper coupons, hello easy to use smartphone app! Now that drawer has turned into our family junk drawer and I’m not even sure what’s in there. A souvenir postcard from our last vacation? Gluesticks my boys brought home from school? I think I even saw some old banana chips. Not very a-peeling (ha!), but better than the pile-o-stress that used to be at home there.
Now, when I first switched from paper offers to using smartphone apps to help stretch my budget, I found myself asking, “Can you use multiple rebate apps?” There was a lot at stake, budget-wise, so I looked into it. The answer? A big ole YES! Yes, you can use multiple rebate apps, but it takes a little bit of planning, strategy, and skill. These rebate apps aren’t the same as the coupons of yore because with rebate apps you often get reimbursed after your purchase rather than at the register. The end result is the same, though: savings. So, get ready to take back your coupon drawer!
Can You Use Multiple Rebate Apps (and Other Frequently Asked Questions)
When I first made the transition from a packed drawer full of paper coupons to a small group of smartphone rebate apps, one of the most stressful things was figuring out exactly what each of the rebate apps I was using actually did.
It’s not hard to find rebate apps—they’re incredibly easy to search for on the app stores—and I found plenty of options right away. But, for a long time, I would open my phone and get a sense that I wasn’t using each app to its full advantage—and that if I could just learn more about them, I might be able to save even more money. And it turns out I was right!
One of the keys to knowing how you can use multiple rebate apps to maximize rewards is knowing everything there is to know about each app, from how they reward you for purchases to when is the best time to use each one. Here are the most common questions I found myself asking, and the answers I found:
- FAQ #1: What exactly is a rebate app? Rebate apps help you earn cash back on your purchases. Unlike coupons that save you small percentages as you buy, you get reimbursed later, typically in a lump sum that accounts for several purchases.
- FAQ #2: Do rebate apps cost money to download or use? None of the apps that I use cost a cent and I would highly recommend you stick to free rebate and rewards apps as well. It seems like common sense to me, but I don’t think you should have to pay money to save money. That’s not good for your budget.
- FAQ #3: Do I need to mail in paperwork to get rebates with these apps? Say goodbye to holding onto scraps of paper. With rebate apps, there’s no need for paperwork. You should hold onto receipts, of course, but to get rebates with most of these apps all you have to do is take a picture of your receipt to prove you bought an item. Some apps even have scanners that you can use to scan a barcode to do this.
- FAQ #4: What payment methods can I use with rebate apps? Cash, checks, credit cards, debit cards, prepaid bank cards, gift cards…basically, however you usually pay for your groceries, clothes, household goods, etc. is how you can pay while using rebate apps!
- FAQ #5: How do I get paid by rebate apps? One of the biggest differences between most rebate apps and the old coupon-in-the-drawer system is that those coupons used to save you money at the time of purchase. That’s not how most rebate apps work, though. Instead, you use the rebate apps at the time of purchase and then you have to wait until the app approves your receipts. It usually totals up how much you’ve earned in rebates over several purchases and then gives you the option of when you want to redeem your points, generally paying you via an online service like Paypal, or via gift cards you can use at your favorite stores, like Amazon, Target, and Walmart, just like cash.
What Features Should I Look for in the Best Rebate Apps?
To be totally honest, there is one thing I miss a little bit about my old stuffed coupon drawer: I used to make a little game out of clipping coupons, turning each Sunday morning into a scavenger hunt through my junk mail, newspaper, and receipts to find all the best deals. So, maybe that’s why, in my personal opinion, the best rebate apps are ones that turn the actual shopping process into a fun game.
With my favorite shopping rebate app, you get rewarded for scanning barcodes or photographing your receipt, as well as for just walking into some of the most popular stores, in the form of gift cards at places like Best Buy, Target, or even Amazon, turning your time in the aisles into a fun scavenger hunt! And, if you really miss couponing, there are even coupon apps you can pair with a rebate or rewards point app to earn even more.
Of all the apps available on the app store, my personal favorite is Shopkick, which does all those things I described above—and more! There have been shopping trips where I use a rebate app after a purchase to get money back that goes into my Paypal account, while at the same time collecting points, called kicks, on my Shopkick app that I can save up for gift cards, all while having fun with my husband and my boys working together to turn our afternoon at the store into a game.
So, yes, my old packed-to-the-brim coupon drawer is now a thing of the past, but my budget savings are still alive and well. In fact, now that I’ve figured out how you can use multiple kinds of rebate apps to maximize rewards, I’m saving more than ever—and having fun with my family and friends in the process! I don’t even know where my old coupon clipping scissors ended up. Oh wait, they’re probably in that junk drawer with the rest of the stuff we don’t use much.
Ready to explore the best free shopping rewards app—and have fun doing it? Download Shopkick for free and join a community of loyal Shopkickers who’ve already discovered the rewards of shopping with us.
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Image courtesy Pixabay user juliaorige