Tobins' Tastes: My Favorite {Free} Couponing Apps

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

My Favorite {Free} Couponing Apps

While most of us use our phones for talking, texting, emailing and Facebooking, your favorite little distraction can actually be used to save you money too. On top of shopping the sales and using coupons, I use apps like Ibotta, Checkout 51 and Cartwheel to save even more when I shop. I have tried a bunch of different couponing apps and these three are by far my favorite. They are also the easiest to use and save with too.


Hands down this is the app I have saved the most money with today. Since I started using it about a year ago, I have earned over $300 in cash back between grocery offers, movie offers, bonuses and referral credits. The best part is that it can be used on top of manufacturer and store coupons as well which can make products very cheap or even free.

The idea behind ibotta is simple. There are a number of "offers" on everyday products like grocery items, toiletries, paper products, movie tickets and more. You do simple tasks like reading a fact or answering a short question to earn the cash back value for the item (ranges from .25 cents to $2+ per item). 

You go to the grocery store and shop as usual. Once you get home you upload a photo of your receipt with the purchased products on it, scan the products barcode (to prove you bought it) and in less than 48 hours, ibotta puts your earnings into your account. Once you reach $5 in cash back you can have that money transferred to your PayPal account or you can cash it in for any amount over $5 in iTunes, Redbox or Starbucks gift cards. Right now they are also offering a $2 bonus to  new users if they redeem their first offer within two weeks of signing up. Learn more about ibotta here and see an example of using it here.

 Checkout 51 :

This is a relatively new app. It is similar to ibotta in that you grocery shop as usual and then upload a photo of your receipt to earn anywhere from .25 cents to $1+ in cash back for each item. Checkout 51 usually only has 10-15 offers and those offers change each week on Wednesday. Their items tend to match up with the current Publix sale cycles but the app can be used for grocery shopping anywhere.

Once your Checkout 51 cash back balance hits $20  they will send you a check. While the offers are limited they do tend to be for high quality items and many times they will also have generic offers for things like .50 cents cash back on any brand of eggs or milk.

If you are obsessed with Target like I am then Cartwheel is a must have app for you. Cartwheel is an app that lets you select from hundreds of discounts ranging from 5% to 50% off, and add them to your personalized Cartwheel barcode. When you shop at Target have the cashier scan your barcode at checkout in store. If you don't have a smart phone you can select and load your offers on the computer and print out the barcode to bring into the store with you too. 

You can use each discounts as many times as you want before they expire and you can even stack Cartwheel on top of your Target REDcard discount and other coupons. Offers are always changing and it is a nice mix between brands and general items like eggs, milk and even meat. There are also offers for the Target cafe, clothing, baby products, household items, decor, holiday items and more.

New to couponing? Check out my Couponing 101 posts to help you get started!

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