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Top 5 Apps to Use While Shopping in Stores

I have a question that’s often met with a great debate: Do you like shopping in stores in person, or do you prefer shopping online? I am not a stranger to the joys and pure convenience of shopping online. After all, nearly everything we need is at our fingertips without a closing time. However, I find it’s enjoyable, and often eye opening, to shop in stores. 

My allegiance to shopping in stores may be due to the fact that I truly love any excuse for an outing – I typically catch up on podcasts or audiobooks while I drive, and I often join with friends to shop together. Plus, I almost always discover something in stores that I would have scrolled past online, especially if I’m searching for a new piece to add to my current season’s wardrobe.

In the past, the point that may have encouraged me to shop online rather than in stores was the ability to save money by using apps. But, I have discovered great options that completely justify my in-store allegiance and create the same type of seamless experience. Whether you’re running to Target, shopping for clothes, or purchasing your weekly groceries, I like to think of these apps as the top five best apps to use while shopping in stores. Here’s the rundown:

1. Target:

Because it’s so easy to add one more thing to my cart when I’m shopping at Target, I have turned to Target’s app for years. Their app used to be called Cartwheel, but they merged the Cartwheel feature together with the ability to search and shop. The combination has proven helpful, so now I can look through Target’s weekly ad to see the latest deals, click through the Cartwheel ads to see which of my frequently purchased products or categories are on sale, and even see if my local store has something in stock without ever leaving the app. Paired with the ability to save 5% each time I make a purchase with my Target card, the app has been such a helpful way to save money in stores!   

2. Shopkick:

I discovered Shopkick last year, and I have used the app ever since! Shopkick allows you to earn “kicks” or points when you’re shopping in stores or online. I use the in-store shopping feature the most because I am able to earn kicks for simply walking inside. The walk-in kicks are typically awarded at the store’s entrance, so I like to make sure I have my app open when I arrive. While I walk down the aisle in stores like Target, Walmart, or even CVS, I scan products currently featured in the app to earn even more kicks. You can also submit your receipt when you have purchased products that you have scanned to earn even more!

My favorite feature about the app is I am able to cash in my kicks for gift cards or even cash back through PayPal whenever I’m ready. You only have to earn 500 kicks, which I can do in a single errand run, particularly if I am visiting Target and Ulta, to cash in for a $2 gift card. You can also cash in for gift cards of higher value! Last year, I saved my kicks and cashed in for a $25 gift card to take with me on my trip to Disney World. 

3. Ebates:

Thanks to a recommendation from a blog I read daily, I rarely shop without Ebates when I am shopping online. As long as you have their plugin turned on, Ebates notifies you whenever you’re visiting one of their partners’ websites where you can earn cash back. Last year, I realized they also offer the same feature in stores!

When you open the app, you can explore their “In-Store” section located at the bottom of your screen. There, you will uncover the many brands who team up with Ebates. Simply link your credit card in the app, and you will earn cash back on every purchase you make in the stores supported by Ebates! It’s a great way to save with very minimal effort. But, please note: your cash back arrives in the form of a “Big Check” once per quarter, so your cash back is not immediate.

4. Fetch:

The grocery store where I shop weekly is a family owned business, so it’s not supported by many of the most popular apps. They simply don’t know the company exists! That’s why I’m such a fan of the app Fetch.

Fetch is best used when shopping at the grocery store – any grocery store. What’s great is the app is filled with products from 250+ brands, like Breyers, Campbell’s, and Kraft. Whenever you purchase a product from one of Fetch’s supported brands, you can submit your receipt. The technology developed within the app compares the items you purchased with those currently highlighted on Fetch to uncover where you can earn points. The main downside I have experienced is you can only earn points when purchasing a brand’s specific product.

5. RetailMeNot:

RetailMeNot takes the questioning out of couponing and wondering whether you have all of the latest deals at your fingertips. I use RetailMeNot most when I am shopping in stores like The Gap, Pier1, and Staples.  Although the app does have cash back features, I use it most often for its coupons.

I cannot be the only one who tosses nearly every deal that arrives by mail only to realize later during the promotional period that I do actually need something from that store. It’s the worst! With RetailMeNot, I can find the coupons I previously threw away and present them on my phone at the cash register when I check out. Though I may have initially felt frustrated when I have tossed a coupon that arrived from a retailer, RetailMeNot saves the day because they have the same deals from the retailers saved in the app with none of the paperwork to cart around in my bag. Win-win!

Have I convinced you to shop in stores? What apps do you like to use to save money? Pro tip: you can pair multiple apps together to save when more while you’re shopping!