Armed with a smartphone you can cut your grocery bill considerably and even make money the next time you go grocery shopping. How? Buy items that are on sale and use coupons like you usually do and then earn cash back on your purchases using the apps listed below.
All cashback apps work the same way: activate an offer, buy the product, verify the purchase, and earn cash back.
- Activate the Offer – Some apps require users to watch a short video or answer a question or two about a brand or themselves before “unlocking” the cashback offer. Others let you activate an offer with a single click.
- Buy the Product – Many apps have cashback offers for kitchen staples: 25 cents back when you buy a loaf of bread, 50 cents when you buy tomatoes, 50 cents when you buy a dozen eggs, and so on. Branded goods, such as Pop-Tarts, usually have larger cashback offers.
- Verify the Purchase – Using a cashback app is a bit like sending in a mail-in rebate, without the frustrating and time-consuming process of filling out forms and mailing in UPC codes. You verify your purchase by using the app to send a picture of the receipt, scanning a product’s barcode, or both. Generally you need to submit the verification within a week of the purchase.
- Earn Cash Back – Once you verify your purchase the earnings, in the form of dollars or points, are added to your account. Depending on the app you can choose to have the money deposited into your bank account, transferred to PayPal, or redeemed as a gift card. Withdraw the earnings once you’ve reached a required threshold, which varies from one cent to $10 depending on the app.
One major benefit is that these cashback offers work no matter what you paid for the product. In other words, if you use a coupon or buy something that’s on sale you can use a cashback rebate to get the product for free or in some cases even make money!
Below you’ll find a list of the best cashback apps and distinguishing characteristics of each. In case you’re curious, the companies make money when users interact with the brands inside the app and when they make a purchase. Some of the apps only work with select retailers while others work at every store. Unless otherwise noted all apps are available for iOS and Android smartphones.
Generally you can only redeem each offer once, but usually several cashback apps will have the same offers available – sometimes even for generic products like milk or bread. Use the same purchase to get cash back from several apps and earn big!
Use at Select Stores
Ibotta – Ibotta was one of the first cashback apps and it works with an extensive list of retailers to offer cashback rewards on groceries, household goods, clothing, electronics, and even movie tickets. You need to unlock offers by completing two short activities (e.g. a single-question survey). Generally you’ll need to scan the product’s barcode and submit a picture of a receipt, but at over 25 stores you can connect your loyalty card and purchases are verified instantly.
Saving Star – Saving Star works at many popular national and regional chains and offers rebates on a variety of grocery, health, and cosmetic goods. Browse through the rebates and with a single click activate the ones that appeal to you. The app allows you to link your loyalty card from select stores and earn activated rebate offers automatically. Otherwise you need to submit a picture of the receipt.
Use at Any Store
- Checkout 51– Most cashback offers on Checkout 51 are for brand name goods, but once per week you can pick a generic offer like apples or onions to earn. No barcode scans required, just submit a picture of your receipt to earn.
- Snap by Groupon– Earning is easy since you don’t need to scan a product’s barcode when using Snap. Offers range from grocery and household staples to magazines and there are occasionally extra cashback opportunities for combined purchases such as peanut butter and jelly.
- Shopmium – Shopmium isn’t the best app as it doesn’t have as many offers as other apps and sticks to brand-name goods, but some offers can be redeemed multiple times. You also need to scan barcodes in addition to uploading a picture of your receipt.
- BerryCart – BerryCart specializes in organic, non-GMO, and gluten-free foods. Unlock offers by reading a short fact about the product or brand and earn even more when you submit a review. Submit a picture of the receipt for verification.
- CartSmart – CartSmart integrates a shopping list feature and notifies you when an offer matches something on your list. To start there are limited offers, and all are name brand, but as you use the app more new offers are available to you. Barcode scanning isn’t necessary to earn cash back.
- Shrink – Only name brand products are available, but Shrink has a slight twist that makes it extra rewarding. When you verify your purchase and earn cash back by submitting a receipt you’ll also earn points that can used for future discounts from that brand.
- Jingit – Earn cash back on a variety of products, including generic food items, by simply uploading your receipt. There are extra earning opportunities for checking in at stores, scanning products in stores, or watching videos.
Bonus Earning Opportunities
All cashback apps above require you to submit a picture of your receipt to verify your purchase. While you’re at it upload the receipt using Receipt Hog and ReceiptPal to earn even more cash back. You only make a few cents per submission, but the earnings add up.