The 8 best cash back shopping apps to make every penny count
It sounds cliche, but when it comes to maximizing your budget and making sure that you’re saving all the money you can, every penny counts. I realized the truth about this recently because of my youngest son. He’s obsessed with video games (aren’t all kids these days?) and he wanted a Nintendo Switch, which is priced at about $300. That’s a lot of birthday money for a nine-year-old boy to save up, but I told him if he saved his money, maybe we could help him out.
Well, to my surprise he already had been saving his money, dating back to when we first got him a little novelty piggy bank when he was a kid. Honestly, I don’t know where it all came from, but he must have been saving change in it for a while because that thing was filled to the brim with quarters, dimes, nickels, a few silver dollars, and a good deal of pennies. When we counted it all out, our nine-year-old had more than $100! While we counted, he made sure we didn’t miss a penny and with cash back shopping apps, you can make all of your pennies count, too.
These shopping apps work through your phone and other mobile devices and they’re a lot more efficient and complex than stuffing actual pennies into a piggy bank like my son. Let’s take a look at the eight best cash back shopping apps to make every penny count!
The Best Cash Back Shopping Apps for Brick-and-Mortar Stores
Of all the various apps here on our list today, I think CheckOut51 might be one of the simplest to use. See, with this app you just go out and do your grocery shopping as you normally would, and then once you’re finished, you use Checkout 51 to upload a photograph of your receipt. I like to make sure I do this in the front seat of my car before even leaving the parking lot at the store—that way I don’t forget.
Once you’re done scanning your receipt, Checkout 51 gives you rebates in the form of credit for any eligible items that you may have purchased. The money adds up quickly, which is good because you need to have $20 worth of saved credit in order to cash out. Once you decide to cash out, Checkout 51 will then go ahead and mail you a receipt. See! I told you it was simple.
SavingStar is also a fairly simple cash back shopping app. How it works is that it’s a digital coupon app that pays users to shop at grocery and drugstores. More than 60,000 participating stores are part of SavingStar, and within their ranks you will find more than 100 retail chains.
Most of the time, this app is free to use, but beware. If you get busy and leave your account inactive for 180 straight days, SavingStar will actually charge you a fee of $3.99. To take advantage of SavingStar, all you have to do is either link the app to an existing store loyalty card or submit receipts after you make purchases just like you do with CheckOut51. Again, these savings add up until you can eventually cash out through PayPal, Upromise, or in the form of Starbucks, iTunes, or AMC Theater gift codes.
The way this one works is slightly different, in that it lets its users take pictures of printed coupons, which it transforms into digital, mobile-ready ones, thereby making them far more convenient to carry around and use. Users can also browse online directories and take advantage of coupons their friends have “snipped” as well.
This app doesn’t exactly pay, though. Instead, users save money like a traditional coupon. The idea is that coupons can all be easily kept in one digital space, instead of having an overflowing little billfold stuffed with paper cutouts.
The Best Cash Back Shopping Apps for Online Stores
If you’re anything like me, the online store that you frequent most is Amazon. I highly recommend familiarizing yourself with this app, which is called CamelCamelCamel. It doesn’t have much to do with riding through deserts, though. It’s actually a website and browser extension that shoppers can use to save money by tracking prices on Amazon. It’s really a pretty incredible resource, given the changing nature of prices on Amazon.
With CamelCamelCamel, you get access to charts and details for extensive price histories to almost every product listed for sale on Amazon. You can see the fluctuations and know when you should buy an item or when you should hold off until the price is reduced in the future. I’ve never tracked it enough to be able to tabulate an exact amount, but I know that over a long enough timeline, I’ve saved quite a bit of money shopping online at Amazon with the help of information from CamelCamelCamel. Just be warned that you can find yourself spending way more time than you expected looking through the charts!
With Coupon Cactus, you can get discounts on certain items when you shop online. Your savings sometimes add up to a percentage of the total price, generally up to 30% or as a flat discount, such as $2 off a featured product. Once your savings balance hits $10 or more, you can then make a decision to cash out the money you’ve earned through PayPal or even to have a check issued to you on a quarterly basis.
Coupon Cactus also does this cool thing that I find really helpful where you can sort the savings offers on the site by the most popular or the newest, making it easy to find the deals that people like the most or the ones that have been added to the app since your last visit.
You’d be crazy not to download this coupon app for groceries because of how much you can save with it through rebates. Ebates is a cash back shopping app that lets you save by giving you shopping rewards. Full disclosure, this one actually has a special place in my heart because it was the first one I used when I first started using apps that give you rewards.
Ebates is a centralized platform where shoppers can search for deals and coupons that are offered by nearly 2,000 retailers. It’s pretty awesome when it comes to shopping online, which is something I’d guess that we have all done much more of in recent years. To be totally honest, I haven’t used Ebates as much as of late because I’ve moved on to more comprehensive apps to bolster my budget. I’ve actually ended up seeking out newer apps, many of which are way more fun to use!
With three growing boys at home, I shop a lot. Between getting things for the kids, my husband, and on rare occasions even for myself, I’m always out shopping. Plus, I have to admit, I’ve always been one for a good sale. That’s why I use Pennyful, which requires that you hit a certain amount of savings or cash back before you can get paid. With my shopping habits, it’s easy to hit the mark. But, I’m also well aware that not everyone shops online as much as I do. For those who don’t, it’s possible to earn money shopping online with mobile apps that let you cash your total out without meeting a certain minimum threshold.
If this sounds like something that would work well for you, I highly recommend checking out Pennyful. Like Coupon Cactus, you just go online, make purchases at certain stores that are offering online coupons, and then you start to accumulate savings in an account that you can later cash out. And, they make it easy and fun to discover new products by dividing their offerings up into categories!
The Best Cash Back Shopping Apps for Both Online and Brick-and-Mortar Stores
I don’t know about you, but in 2018 my shopping habits have become a hybrid of both online and in-store shopping. There are some items that I just need to be able to get anywhere at any time with a quick click at my computer or mobile device, and there are others that I like to browse or see in person before making a final decision. That’s really where this last app comes in handy.
The beauty of Shopkick is that you can use it to get cash back on both your online and in-store shopping. You can even pair it with some of the other apps on my list because Shopkick rewards you for shopping through points (called kicks) for making purchases—or even watching product videos online. When I save up enough of these points, I can cash them in for gift cards. Shopkick even pays you to grocery shop, which is something I’m yet to figure out how to do online. Of all the mobile apps that allow you to earn money shopping online, Shopkick is the one you must have to take your shopping game to new levels.
So, there you have it, the eight best cash back shopping apps that you should use to make every single penny count. While you’re probably not saving up all the change you can find to get a Nintendo Switch, a few dollars of savings both online and in-store really does add up and make a significant difference in your budget.
I think that’s why my favorite on the list is Shopkick. You can use it when you go out shopping, or anywhere else for that matter. Simply put, there are tons of ways that Shopkickers can earn rewards right from the app—no need to go anywhere. These include kicks for watching videos and instant surprise kicks from going on Easter egg hunts in the app. Users can also get amazing deals where you can earn big points and rewards by shopping on your phone at stores like Amazon and Walmart. I highly recommend it!
Get one of the best cash back shopping apps that can help you make every last penny count. Download Shopkick’s free app today and join a community of loyal Shopkickers who’ve already discovered the rewards of shopping with a free, smartphone app sidekick.