I was busy pondering some ideas for a new blog post this week and my son suggested that I write about all the apps I use to save and make money so I have to give credit for this post to my son Nick. The following are 7 different methods I use to either save a little money or earn a little money. Obviously the best way to save money while shopping is to not shop but unless you’re totally living off the grid, we all have purchases to make. None of these ideas are going to get you rich but every little bit saved or earned is helpful when you’re busy watching your budget.
Target Cartwheel App
This used to be one of my favorite tools at Target. They’ve changed the program recently and I’m not finding quite the savings I did before but as I said earlier, any little bit of savings can add up. The Cartwheel app is actually found on the Target app now. You simply open up the Target app when you’re in the store and select Cartwheel offers. This will take you to a screen where you can either search for the item by name or collection (baby, electronics, food, etc.). A third way is to select the magnifying glass icon and then there’s a button at the bottom of the screen that allows you to scan the barcode of the item you’re interested in purchasing. This is the method I find the easiest to use. I just scan the item as I put it in my shopping cart and it will tell you if there’s a cartwheel discount available and if not it might offer a suggestion of a similar product that does have a cartwheel. This is a useful feature if you’re not brand loyal to a certain item. Once you’re at the cash registers you click on the wallet icon and a barcode will show up at the top of the screen that can be scanned at checkout.
Regardless of whether you are a frequent (yep, that’s me) or infrequent Target shopper their Red Card is a great deal. No, I’m not advising you to get another credit card, even though that is something they offer as well, I’m talking about their debit card. It works like the debit card you have with your bank except you get some extra perks, including 5% off the majority of your purchases at Target, an extended 30 days to return most items purchased in store or online, and free shipping on items you order from Target.com.
Kroger is one of the major grocery stores in our area. Despite the fact that they insist on changing their stores around constantly, which drives me crazy, they do make it easy to save money with their plus card. You can load their digital coupons via their Kroger app or their website to your Kroger plus card. Every $100 you spend on groceries earns you ten cents off a gallon of fuel at their fuel stations. In addition, they send you specialized coupons based on your shopping habits and these often include free items of products you purchase regularly. Kroger often runs promotions also where you get double, triple, or even quadruple the fuel points if you buy gift cards at their stores. This is a promotion they run often at Christmas time, which is nice since I’m often buying gift cards then anyway as Christmas gifts.
Ibotta is an app that works at numerous stores, including Walmart, Target, Kroger, and Walgreens. You select items on the app before you go into shop. Most of the items are name brand items so I don’t always find items on my list but occasionally there are some that are non-brand specific, such as 25 cents off any purchase or fifty cents off any milk product. They also offer different bonuses you can participate in either on your own or with teammates (friends that are also signed up) such as redeeming 5 offers in a certain time period or redeeming a certain dollar amount in a certain month or referring a certain number of friends. You can cash out once you have earned a minimum of $20.00. You can redeem for cash paid into your PayPal or Venmo account or you can redeem for a wide variety of different gift cards, including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Target, Itunes, and Lowe’s (some of these giftcards have a minimum payout of $25.00 though).
My referral link if you want to try it out:
Ebates is a pretty well known program. If you are ordering something online then you should definitely go to the Ebates site first before ordering. Let’s say you want to order something online from Nike today. You simply go to the ebates website, type in Nike in the search engine at the top of the page, and congrats, you find out today you get 9% cash back shopping through them. You click the button that says Shop Now and it takes you directly to the Nike webpage and you place your order as you normally would. If you spend $100.00 on your purchase then Ebates will credit your account $9.00. They pay out quarterly as long as you’ve accumulated at least $5.00 that quarter, otherwise it will roll over to the next payout period. You can opt to receive your payments via check or paypal.
I don’t do a lot of online shopping so this isn’t a huge money-maker for me but it’s an easy way to collect a little cash simply by going to ebates.com rather than your store’s website first. Ebates currently has over 2500 sites listed that you can earn from, some are well known, such as Target, Walmart, Lowes, Amazon, HP, Nike, as well as lesser known stores so it’s definitely worth a look to see if your online shopping site is listed. You can also earn extra money by referring friends to use the site.
My referral link if you want to try it out:
This is another easy app to use. You simply snap a picture of your receipt and you earn coins or slot spins. Receipts that earn you coins can come from participating retailers including grocery/supermarket stores, liquor stores, convenient stores, pet supply stores and pharmacies. Participating retailers from places like apparel stores, auto parts stores, home improvement centers, and electronics and office supply stores will earn you spins on their slot machines where you get a chance to earn coins. Gas only receipts and restaurant receipts will earn you chances into their monthly sweepstakes.
So what are these coins worth? Receipt Hogs current payout levels are as follows:
2900 coins =$15
4300 coins =$25
Once you can accumulate any of these levels you can cash out through paypal or request an Amazon giftcard. If you submit at least one receipt a week you get bonus spins and occasionally based on certain receipts you snap they will offer you the opportunity to earn more coins by taking a short survey about your purchase. Again, like most things, this isn’t a huge money maker but it’s a simple process to snap a picture of your receipt. I have earned $105 since I started using it in March 2015 and honestly I don’t snap every receipt but try to at least do once a week to get the bonus spins.
This is one of my favorites because the points can add up pretty quickly and are easily turned in for digital gift cards to your favorite stores. You get points for walking in to your favorite stores ( Kroger, Target, Walmart, TJ Maxx, Best Buy, to name a few) and you also get additional points for scanning and/or buying products in the store.
They’ve recently added some features where you can receive additional points for linking your credit card to the app and then any purchase you make at certain stores (Best Buy, Marshalls, TJ Maxx are all participants) gives you a certain amount of points based on the dollar amount of your purchase.
Basically 250 points equals a $1 and you can redeem these for electronic gift cards to a variety of stores, including Amazon, American Eagle, Itunes, Walmart, Fandango, Nike, Lowes, Target, Starbucks, and many more. I tend to save up my points throughout the year and either cash them in for Back-to-school shopping or Christmas presents. I’ve earned probably close to $400 worth of gift cards from this program with minimal effort.
If you’d like to use my invite code just enter the following after downloading the app:
Again, these are just a few tools I use to either save or earn a little bit of money. I specifically chose to share these based on their criteria of being easy to use and non-time consuming. They certainly won’t get you rich or allow you to pay off your card but who couldn’t use the opportunity to earn a little extra cash or a gift card to buy Christmas presents with or a Starbucks card to treat yourself with on a random day?
Please note, several of these have referral programs, and I’ve included a link for those and if you choose to try these programs out and use my code then we’ll both get rewarded.