The best money saving apps for shopping online and in-store
One simple truth of shopping these days—at least in my humble opinion—is that overall it has become easier, and I think the reason for this is we now have more choices than we’ve ever had before. When I was a kid, for example, my mom basically had to spend almost her entire Sunday shopping, going to our local grocery store, and then running errands to other little shops where we lived to fill out the other things she needed, whether it was school supplies to help us with our homework or toiletries for the house.
These days, I have the luxury of being able to get so much of what I need online, and then filling out the rest of it with my trips to local stores, often at my leisure rather than as an all-day Sunday event every weekend. If you’re anything like me—and I suspect these days most people are—you use a nice mix of shopping online and in physical stores on a weekly or monthly basis. With all the options available to us now, it just makes good sense to do it this way. With that in mind, I think it’s time that we talk about the best money-saving apps for online and in-store shopping, some of which you can use for one type of shopping, some for the other, and, in rare cases, for both.
Shopping apps have become vital in terms of saving as much money as you can while you’re at the store and enhancing your experience when you’re in those aisles. If you find yourself regularly using a shopping app that only rewards you for one or the other—online shopping or in-person trips—well then, simply put, you’re losing out on half the benefits. So, to help you out, below you will find a great list of some of my personal favorite money-saving apps for shopping online and in-store. I highly recommend giving them a try. They will help you take your shopping game to new heights!
Best Money Saving Apps for Shopping Online and In-Store
I suspect that like myself the online store that you frequent most is Amazon. Well, if that’s the case, 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 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 nature of prices on Amazon.
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, prices on Amazon often fluctuate, sometimes jumping by a pretty significant amount. 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 extrapolated over a long enough timeline, I’ve saved quite a bit of money shopping online at Amazon with the help of information from CamelCamelCamel.
Ebates is a shopping portal that offers its users as much as 40 percent cash back on the purchases they make at its partner stores, which includes a healthy list of more than 2,000 options of places to shop. There are no points or anything like this involved. The way Ebates works is that it takes a simple percentage off at the time of checkout and gives it back to you in the form of cash. It’s a pretty rapid way to save money, one that I know I certainly appreciate. What can I say, sometimes you need to stretch your budget fast.
Ebates offers a browser extension like some of the other choices on our list—including CamelCamelCamel and Honey—and it’s a very useful extension. It makes it easy to remember and keep track of all the stores where you can use Ebates to save money. However, I should point out that many stores will only let you use one of these money-saving apps at a time, so when it comes to whether you should go with Honey, Ebates, or even one of our digital coupon apps, it’s best to take your time, do the math (ugh, I know), and carefully determine which app is the best for maximizing your savings.
Like CamelCamelCamel, Honey is also an online only browser plugin app, albeit one with a sweeter name. Honey works with Chrome or Firefox, and it automatically saves you money on your online shopping by applying any available coupon codes at the checkout stage of your shopping process. If you’re anything like me, whether you have a coupon or not, you always spend a second staring at the redeem code section wondering if you’re missing out on available savings. Well, what Honey does is ensures that you get any deals that are readily available.
When you have Honey installed, you simply see a popup while you’re checking out. Once you click that popup, Honey takes it from there, trying out all known coupon codes before ultimately applying the best available option for your bill. Another feature that I’ve grown quite fond of with Honey is that it offers a rewards program for a wide range of stores—3,700 online stores, last time I checked—giving you Honey Gold points that you can later redeem for free gift cards, which, as I’m sure you are well aware, are as good as cash!
SavingStar is a digital coupon app that pays users to shop at grocery and drugstores. What’s a digital coupon app? Well, it’s probably exactly what you think it is based on the name: an app that re-creates the experience of shopping in-person with coupons. You remember coupons, right? Those paper things your parents used to hang on the fridge with magnets and keep in that one junk drawer in your house? Well, they’re back—this time in digital form. So, say goodbye to any fears over papercuts!
More than 60,000 stores are part of SavingStar and they represent more than 100 retail chains. It’s generally free to use, but beware. If an account is inactive for 180 straight days, they will charge a fee of $3.99. To take advantage of SavingStar, users either link their existing store loyalty cards to the app or submit receipts after they make purchases. Their savings add up until they can eventually cash out through PayPal, Upromise, or even in the form of Starbucks, iTunes, or AMC Theater gift codes. If you frequently use loyalty rewards cards, this may be a great app for you. If your commitment to them is less than stellar, however, SavingStar may end up costing you money via its service fee.
SnipSnap is in the same digital coupon app family as SavingStar, and it even has a similarly alliterative name, which has at times led me to confuse the two. The way SnipSnap works, however, is actually quite different. It’s more similar to the old school way of coupon collecting that used to necessitate going over paper ads and flyers with scissors and literally cutting out the coupons. With SnipSnap, you still have to do that, but instead of cutting them out you take pictures of the printed coupons with your phone. The app then converts them into easy-to-access, mobile-ready digital versions.
You can also use SnipSnap to browse online directories of digital coupons, thereby taking advantage of coupons that your friends have “snipped” as well. This one saves you money exactly the same way as a traditional coupon does—by reducing the price of your purchases at the time of checkout. The idea behind it is simple and much appreciated (at least by me anyway): that it’s exactly like using coupons used to be except that SnipSnap gives you a much cleaner and more efficient means of storing and using them. Say goodbye, in other words, to the old billfold that used to overflow with the edges of printed coupons.
Of all of the money-saving apps for shopping that I use both in the store and online, I’d have to say that Shopkick is my absolute favorite. I first began using this app as an in-store app that I used to save money whenever I went grocery shopping. I used Shopkick to get points—which Shopkick calls kicks—for normal shopping activities that I did each time I went to the store anyway, activities such as making purchases, scanning the barcodes on certain items, and even just walking into the store. Then, when I’d earned enough points, I was able to trade them in for gift cards to some of my favorite stores.
I eventually began to branch out with my Shopkick usage, using the app to collect points and earn gift cards while shopping at other places, including Target or Walmart, Best Buy, and some of my absolute favorite stores at the mall. That’s when I became aware of another major game-changer: it’s also possible to use Shopkick to get points for shopping online. Just like the app awards you points for the activities I mentioned earlier, it also gives you points for things like visiting certain online stores, viewing online products, making purchases, and watching videos, usually about cool new products. It even helps me save money before I even visit an online store because I can use Shopkick to score free online Amazon gift cards! Very cool.
I really don’t know how my mother (or anyone else) used to do all of our household’s shopping by just driving out to get things at traditional brick-and-mortar stores. I know she didn’t have another choice back then, but I’ve just become so thoroughly acclimated to my own special system of shopping both in-store and online. Now with these great money-saving apps for shopping online and in-store, I can add extra value to my system. Of course, I highly recommend you do the same.
And if I had to pick only one app to start with, I’d pick Shopkick. As you may have noticed, one thing that sets Shopkick apart is that it’s the rare app you can use both online and in-store, but more than that, it’s also super intuitive and easy to use, and—in my experience anyway—it provides the most value when you’re shopping both online and in-person. It’s also a whole lot of fun to use because it turns all your shopping experiences into fun scavenger hunts for points. I often find myself setting points goals and trying to beat them, and, to be quite honest with you, I wouldn’t be surprised if you ended up finding yourself doing the same thing, too!
Get one of the best money-saving apps for shopping both online and in-store. Download Shopkick’s free app today and join a community of loyal Shopkickers who’ve already discovered how fun it is to shop with us!
And, if you love social media as much as you love shopping online, join Shopkick on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for a little daily shopping inspiration.