When we decided to start budgeting we quickly realized our simple spending budget encouraged us to spend less on groceries so we could save money for more time out and/or doing things we enjoy. I’ve always thought coupons were a waste of time but grudgingly went along with Sara saving 15 cents on 3 gallons of hummus. Once we started our budget, I accepted it and started searching for other ways to save money. Here is a summary of some of the things we tried:
Ibotta is the first app we tried, and still one of our favorites. You start with a $10 credit, and can cash out once you’ve saved $20. The process is fairly simple: Unlock offers in the app and take a photo of your receipt with the offers you’re redeeming. Our favorites are the generic produce offers: I’m looking at the app right now and I can save $0.25 each on bananas, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, carrots, apples, red bell peppers, and zucchini. Ibotta also has deals on booze. If you drink Bud Light you need this app. There are always multiple deals on Bud Light that will save you $2-$4 per purchase. Right now there’s an offer for $8 off 2 – 12 packs of aluminum bottles. Use my referral link and get $10 to start! https://ibotta.com/r/dhilcah
Where does Ibotta fall short? Sponsored offers. Most of the savings are for specific brands and products, so they won’t help you unless you buy based on the offers or are lucky enough that the offers are for things you already buy. We don’t shop off our list much, so our savings are typically limited to produce. We typically only save a few dollars per shopping trip. Ibotta wins because it’s easy and regularly saves us money, but falls short because we typically only save a few dollars per shopping trip.
Checkout 51 is similar to Ibotta in almost every way, except it doesn’t offer savings on alcohol or produce. These are the only offers we typically use, so Checkout 51 has saved me $1.25 total, and simply doesn’t get used. Check it out to see if brands you buy are included. If they are not, skip this app.
Yaarlo is like a cash back portal but also pays out for simply taking photos of receipts. I started diligently snapping every receipt, but my total has peaked at $1.83 and I’ve simply stopped using it. Check it out if you are interested in using it for cash back, otherwise it’s not worth your time.
My favorite. bevRAGE is alcohol only, so skip it if you’re not a drinker. It has deals for both stores and restaurants, and is worth a check every time because it has generic offers. Redemption is easy by selecting an offer or offers and snapping a photo of the receipt. My favorites I’ve seen are $2 off any bottle of whiskey, $1 off any six pack, $1-2 (varies) off 12 or 24 packs, and $1 off any draft beer. If I combine this with a sponsored offer in Ibotta, suddenly I’m saving a few bones every time I buy beer. Use my referral code to sign up and we’ll both get $4 credit! https://api.bevrage.com/promo/XVVUXKNC
Cash Back Sites
I only started using cash back sites recently, but love how passive and easy they are.
The classic and standard, Ebates tracks purchases through your web browser and gives varying cash back when you click through their site. I knew I would never bother to check when making online purchases, so I added the browser extension. A week or two later, when I was emergency printing presentations for a training session at work for the next day, the little number appeared saying there was an offer available. I clicked it and suddenly was earning $59 back from Fedex Office on spending that would be reimbursed by my company. This is obviously an extreme example, but I’m up to $74.87 including a $10 welcome bonus and a Hertz car rental. I plan to keep the Ebates extension installed to pick up other random offers.
I installed TopCashback to attempt to cash in on hotel stays while traveling for business. I regularly stay at Hampton Inns and other Hilton properties, and 4% sounded great when you consider a 4 night stay regularly hits $500 or more. Unfortunately, I am 1 for 3 on Hilton stays and only earned $5.16 on a $129 stay. My $608.80 and $218 stays didn’t qualify for who knows what reason. Most of the offers are similar to Ebates, so I will keep trying Ebates which I’ve had more luck with. I’m up to $27.22 saved so far. Use my reference link, and I’ll get $10 back. https://www.topcashback.com/ref/posume94
I don’t remember how I found Mogl, and I forgot that I signed up until I received an email informing me I saved $3.39 from dinner. This is exactly the kind of savings I’m looking for: completely passive. Mogl is similar to rewardsnetwork.com where you enter credit card information to link a card, and earn airline miles when you use that credit card at participating restaurants. I eared $3.39 two months ago and haven’t earned a dollar since, so it’s clear the network of participants is small. I keep meaning to target participating restaurants while traveling for business, but I never remember. If I start using this actively, I expect I could earn a little more money. I plan to keep my cards linked, but probably not expend energy finding participating restaurants often.
I am currently using the United Mileage Plus variant of RewardsNetwork. There are many airline partners, and you have to choose one to link cards to. You can’t double dip and earn miles with United and Southwest, for example. You have to pick one. I can’t remember or find my password for MileagePlus, which goes to show how much I’m using it.
A few weeks ago we saved $60 off a $150 grocery bill using traditional paper coupons. Our cart was full of fresh veggies, hummus, and other hippie rabbit food that nobody ever markets or promotes. We’ve been saving $10 to $20 on almost every grocery or Target trip lately. Without actually counting, I have no doubt this is actually the most lucrative money saving tool we use. It’s old school, your grandma can teach you, you’ll be embraced every time you hand over a stack of coupons, and it works. If someone could just add some reclaimed wood and Edison bulbs to paper coupons and give them a trendy name like Couponly they could become the next big thing.
What tools have you used to save?