Love saving money but hate clipping coupons? These apps are for you
Back when I was trying to furiously pay down debt, I became enamored with the show “Extreme Couponing.” Watching folks bring home cart after cart of groceries and home goods for mere pennies was inspirational to a cheapskate like me.
Those stockpiles of laundry detergent? A thing of beauty. Closets filled with cases of paper towels? A treasure trove to be admired. However, when I tried doing it for myself, I wasted hours of my life only to get a few dollars off my grocery bill.
I liked the idea of saving money while I shopped, but I didn’t like the time and energy it required. Luckily, I’ve become a slightly more savvy shopper since my coupon-clipping days, and thanks to some of the amazing coupon apps out there, I can reel in savings without lifting a pair of scissors. I may not be trimming my spending down in an extreme way, but these five money-saving apps certainly help me save a pretty penny here and there.
Ibotta allows you to choose the rebates you want before you shop. First, the app requires you to complete a small task (like watch a short ad). Then, once you’ve finished your shopping, you can upload your receipt (or link your loyalty card to make it even easier), and your rebate will be in your Ibotta account in no time.
While I don’t love that you have to “earn” your rebates through Ibotta, the short quizzes or videos you have to watch usually lead to some pretty great rewards, and their selection of retailers is pretty stellar. I love that Ibotta can also be used with in-app purchases, including travel apps such as Booking.com and my evergreen favorite Groupon.
Whether I’m shopping online or in store, I never hit the checkout without first checking for coupons on RetailMeNot. It gathers coupons, cash-back offers and even discounted gift cards from thousands of stores. You rarely strike out looking for coupons here because offers are crowdsourced between both retailers and customers.
Another plus? There is no coupon printing needed. Just click on the offer you want, and it automatically pastes the code in for you when you’re shopping online or downloads the coupon to your phone for in-store purchases. It’s the one coupon app I could not do without.
SavingStar links to your in-store loyalty cards (like your Target RedCard and Costco Card) or allows you to upload receipts in order to get cash back on their weekly deals.
Unlike lots of coupon apps, SavingsStar is primarily a selection of big name brands that you likely buy on a regular basis. Cash back for buying Annie’s brand macaroni and cheese or Yoplait yogurt? Yes, please. Instead of getting the discount at the store, you’ll rack up savings that can be directly deposited into your bank or via PayPal once you hit $5, which is a surprisingly easy target to hit, even for an under-spender like me.
For someone who loves making lists (me) and saving money (also me), Grocery IQ is a no-brainer. You can upload your grocery list and the app will pull coupons to match from Coupons.com.
Admittedly, I mostly love it for list making. (It lets you rearrange your list by aisle, and who doesn’t want that?) Plus, if you regularly buy the same items, the favorites and history section will make it easy for you to save on them.
Despite the corny name, this free app is a great way to remind me to use coupons. Yowza!! gathers coupons based on your location and then automatically downloads them to your phone for immediate, in-store use. The app constantly updates alongside your GPS, so the deals you need are always close by.