I love to save money. Just this past Monday, I went to the Louisville Zoo with my coupons in hand. I was happy that we had coupons for $3 off per person. Then, we got to the zoo and the lady at the admission booth said I couldn’t use the coupons. When I asked her why, she said it was Fun Day Monday and admission was only $5.25 per person. That was an almost $11 savings per ticket! Since there were three of us, that means I saved $33. You have no idea how happy that made me or how much I am still talking about it two days later. Well, maybe you do since I just told the story to you again. 🙂
Coupons are a wonderful way to save money and I’ve talked about them some on Crabby Housewife in the past, but another way I save money is a bit more subtle and takes more time to accumulate. Rebate apps are like extra dollars in your budget that allow you to do fun things you otherwise wouldn’t be able to do. For example, when my husband and I celebrated our anniversary in March, we were able to use rebate credits from Ibotta to go out to dinner and a free movie.
How Rebate Apps Work
Each week, I input my receipts and every few months I get rewarded for my efforts. Although some people search through the rebates before shopping and purchase accordingly, I tend to just shop as normal and then search through the rebates to see if there are any matches. Were I more strategic about it, I’m sure I’d earn more bonuses and even more rebates. I have one friend who earns about double what I do on Ibotta alone.
Here is how I use these apps:
- Leave the house and open the ones that give me points for visiting a store or scanning items. I don’t always scan items because some are hard to find in the store and who has time. But sometimes I do. For example, the other day my husband was looking in the tools section of Walmart, so I opened an app and scanned a few items while he did that.
- Get home and put away my groceries. Then, look and see what rebates match what I bought and input my receipts.
- Look at Ibotta before eating out, shopping at Best Buy, going to the movies, shopping online, etc.
- Stack the different apps to save more on items. For example, there might be a rebate on apples through Ibotta and also through Checkout51. Thus, I can save 50 cents on apples. Don’t judge me. It all adds up!
The Apps I Personally Use
There are a lot of rebate apps out there, and you do have to be careful, because some are scams. Over the years, I have settled on a handful that give me good return for my time investment and that I know will reliably reward me. I’ve written about some of these before, but thought it was a good time to do an update.
Disclaimer: As I share each app I use and the benefits of it, I will also include a link. Some of these are links that will give both you and I a credit for you signing up and using the app. You definitely don’t have to use my link, if you don’t want to give me the credit, but I sure would appreciate it if you do.
Ibotta is my favorite out of all my rebate apps, and is the one I make the most money from. With Ibotta, you get both grocery apps and other types of apps, such as rebates on iTunes purchases, electronics, clothing, and more. On average, I earn around $3 per week, but sometimes do much better if I have a big purchase or qualify for bonuses. With this app, you have to reach $20. Once you hit that amount, you can choose a gift card or for cash to be sent to PayPal or Venmo. Gift cards you can buy with your earnings, as of this writing, include:
- Olive Garden
- Sam’s Club
- Papa John’s
- Old Navy
- Jo-Ann Fabrics
- Best Buy
- Whole Foods
- and more
As you can see, the selection is varied. If there isn’t one you specifically want, then just take the PayPal payout and use it on what you want. The best part? If you use my link, you get $10 for signing up and using Ibotta and I get a $5 referral bonus. So, you’ll already be halfway toward your first payout.
MobiSave seems to be growing. When I first signed up, they barely had any rebates. This one is unique in a couple of ways. First, you have to choose the rebates before you purchase the item. I see this as a disadvantage. However, a big advantage is that MobiSave pays you via PayPal almost immediately. There is no minimum. I’ve gotten a 10 cent payout before.
MobiSave only offers a $1 referral bonus to me if you sign up and claim at least one rebate. However, you can then invite your friends via the app and earn referral bonuses as well.
I have mixed feelings about this app, because when I first started with them I had a bad experience. But, I’ve stuck it out and have earned a total of $70.65 with them. They have a lot of name brand items from which to choose, but they also have a weekly produce rebate, which I love. It’s pretty hard to save money on produce, and even 25 cents is helpful, because I already buy these items.
You have to earn $20 to cash out. Once you have enough, you can cash out and they will send you a check. This company is based in Canada, so you’ll wait on a while on your check to arrive. The first time I cashed out, my check never showed up. I had to contact them several times to get it. However, I do have to say that the other two times I cashed out I received my heck without issue. So, perhaps it was just growing pains or something along those lines.
There are no referral bonuses for Checkout51, but you can sign up at:
This one rarely has items I use, but occasionally they will offer a freebie and a healthy discount, which is for items such as sweet potatoes, salad, etc. If you buy a lot of brand name products, you’ll likely find a lot on this app. Make sure you choose them as soon as you see them, as they are limited in quantity. Popular ones tend to run out. With Saving Star, you can cash out when you reach only $5, which is nice. Get paid via PayPal.
No referral bonuses, but you an sign up at:
I will be honest – I hate shopping at Walmart. For the most part, I avoid it like the plague. I don’t like the way the store is set up, it is always crowded, and I don’t think their prices on most things are all that great. Occasionally, I have to shop there, and my husband tends to shop there a lot. That is why it makes sense to download the Walmart app on your smart phone. You can then go to the section labeled “Savings Catcher”, add your receipt, and if anything you bought is on sale for a lower price at another store, then Walmart will refund that money.
Most of the time, they say their prices are lower, but occasionally you will get a refund. You can print it out as a gift card and spend it in store or online. If you shop there a lot, especially groceries, you’ll save a good amount of money. I keep hearing rumors they are doing away with it, but so far it still works.
I discovered this app in the last year and I really like it. It is super easy to use and to collect points. When you reach 400 points, you can get a $1 Amazon gift card. Or, save your points for things like eGift cards from Best Buy, CVS, GameStop, Panera, Regal, Starbucks, Visa, and Walmart. Points add up really quickly. Within two or three weeks, i earn the 400 points.
Basically, all you have to do is to snap a photo of your receipt. Every four receipts gets you 100 points. See how fast it adds up? There are no referral bonuses for this app.
I’ve had this one for a while, and though it does take some time to get the coins to add up to 1000 (where you can begin cashing out for Amazon gift cards or PayPal, it is so much fun that I don’t really care. What else do I have to do anyway? ha!
So, similar to ReceiptPal, you just take a photo of your receipt, but then you also indicate if your trip was good or bad out of a five star rating. They are essentially tracking some info for marketing for companies. General info, that is. They aren’t going to give your specific habits to the company.
You earn coins each time you feed the pig a receipt. He lets you know if he’s hungry. When you meet certain goals, like uploading three receipts, you’ll earn spins on the slot machine. If you hit certain wins, like three oranges, you will win a few additional coins. No referral bonuses.
This one is new to me. I actually heard about this one because of Ibotta. We had purchased a laptop for my husband from Best Buy when I realized they require the scan of a QR code at checkout to get their rebate through Ibotta. I went back in with the receipt and the computer (we had just left), and asked what we needed to do. It turned out that we had to return and rebuy the computer.
So, the young man helping us was extremely nice about it. I apologized to him for being a pain, but explained that it was going to save me about $20. He said he understood because he uses rebate apps, too. Then, he started telling me about ShopKick and how much he likes it. He said he is a college student and on a budget, so doesn’t spend a lot, but with this app he could earn points every time he walked into certain stores. He’d already earned enough for a gift card and that made him really happy.
I pulled it up then and there and downloaded it. While the points are adding up slowly, it is mostly my fault. I forget to open it when I got shopping. You have to have the app open when you walk into a store to earn the points. You can also scan things and buy certain items for rebates. But, the easiest and free way to earn points is simply by walking into the listed stores.
So, at 500 kicks, you earn a $2 gift card, or you can save points and get bigger gift cards. Some of your gift card choices include:
- TJ Maxx
- American Eagle
- Old Navy
- Best Buy
- Papa John’s
- Yankee Candle
- Barnes & Noble
- Foot Locker
You get the idea… There are a ton to choose from. You can even choose some specific prizes or donate your kicks to the Red Cross. I think as I get used to the app and perhaps remember to just open it when I head out shopping that I will do better with it and earn more, too. You can link a credit card and it will automatically register qualifying purchases, but I’m always reluctant to give anyone my CC info without necessity.
If you sign up for ShopKick and complete one walk in, I can get a referral of 500 kicks. Here is the link:
Rebates are a small part of the big picture of how I save money these days. I used to be able to do much better with coupons, but over the last 8 or 9 years coupons have changed. First, they took away triple coupon days. Then they stopped doubling coupons (at least in the area where I live). Finally, they began to reduce the value of coupons, or you have to buy two of an item for the same $1 off.
Rebates help to fill that gap a little and stretch our budget a bit. With the economy being what it is, and our focus on attempting to pay off what we can, every little bit helps. I hope learning more about each of these apps and how I use them also helps you. Happy rebate shopping!