Tag Archives: saving

Reviewing 4 Top Coupon Apps for Android Phones

Two months ago, I began an experiment with couponing apps for my smartphone.  I downloaded IbottaCheckout 51MobiSaveCoupons.com, and Receipt Hog specifically for their offers and pay-outs.  I also have downloaded store-specific apps (like Walmart’s Savings Catcher and Target’s Cartwheel) that I’ll review at a later date. 

Disclaimer: I am not being paid in any way, shape, or form to review or endorse these apps. I mean, I’m getting deals and offers and such from them like any other user, but the companies behind these services haven’t given me anything special to talk about them. The apps are free to download. 

Sadly, Receipt Hog notified me via email that they do not have any spots currently available and their wait list is long.  Therefore, without further ado, I present to you FOUR of the Top Coupon Apps for Androids.

App Name:  Ibotta

Google Play Rating: 4.25 Stars (209k+ ratings)

Earned in First Month:  $12.65

My Thoughts:

The set-up was very simple and similar to other savings apps’ opening procedures.  I recommend looking over what’s offered before going shopping to match the rebates with other coupons and sales.  I just discovered that you can link your store loyalty cards to “unlock” rewards before you shop; my most frequently shopped store with a loyalty card is not on their list of Preferred Partners.

When you’ve done your shopping and maybe selected other rebates, you select the “Verify Purchases” button.  This leads you through two steps:  Scan Product Barcodes and Take a photo of your Store receipt.  On some items, you will not scan a barcode, like certain produce.  But since most items need to be scanned, this isn’t something you can do from the comfort of your bed or even your desk at work.  Depending on how your kitchen and pantry are set up, it may be easier to get this app going while you’re putting your groceries away.  After you’ve scanned your product barcodes, you’ll use the app to take photos of your receipt.  I have super long receipts all the time since I do bulk shopping and use shopper cards and coupons; this has to be my least favorite part of Ibotta, which has nothing to do with Ibotta and everything to do with lining up the edges and where I left off from the previous photo.

The amount you’ve aggregated in rebates goes into My Balance with which you can transfer cash to a linked PayPal or Venmo account or you can buy gift cards to places like Target, Olive Garden, JoAnn Fabrics, and more.  Of all of these options, your balance must be $20.00 minimum.

Ibotta is all about teamwork.  The social media accounts you link will be checked for “friends” that also use Ibotta, and without you lifting an extra finger, your teammates “work” together to save and earn towards Teamwork levels.  You also are rewarded for inviting friends; currently, if a friend joins Ibotta with your referral code, they receive a $10 welcome bonus and you receive $5.

There are more ways to save, like with Bonus Rebates and completing little challenges that differ each month.  These help you move along towards reaching that $20 threshold.  Without the sign-on bonus and these extras, it looks like it would take me a long time to reach that cash out amount.

Screenshot from my Ibotta account

Pros:  Easy to use; can select frequently visited stores to make finding rebates easier

Cons:  Required to scan product barcodes; like most coupons, these rebates are mainly for name brand or new products, both of which I tend to avoid

Verdict:  KEEP USING

 

App Name:  Checkout 51

Google Play Rating:  4 Stars (47k reviews)

Earned in First Month:  $1.00

My Thoughts:

The set-up was very simple and similar to other savings apps’ opening procedures.  I recommend looking over what’s offered before going shopping to match the rebates with other coupons and sales.

There is a very long list of offers each week that can be refined by selecting categories or stores.  There is not, however, a search bar.  This makes scrolling necessary and tedious.  Frequently, I do not find any offers that suit me.  The offers you “star” are listed, you select the option to take the photo(s) of your receipt, then once you click “finish”, you wait while it uploads.  And wait.  Then you get a congratulatory screen telling you how much you’ve saved.

It says, “You can request a check when your account balance reaches $20.”  This could take a very long time, considering most offers are like coupons and for only 10 or 40 cents. Once you claim a starred offer, you most likely won’t be able to claim it again.  You don’t have to scan the individual items. The receipt-photo-taking process is similar to other rebate and savings apps.

Screenshot from my Checkout 51 account

Pros:  Many options; get a real check

Cons:  Rarely are there offers I’ll use; terminal scrolling to view all offers

Verdict:  DELETE

 

App Name:  MobiSave

Google Play Rating:  3 Stars (2,393 reviews)

Earned in First Month:  $1.55

My Thoughts:

I don’t recall how I even heard of this one, but I liked the idea that I received the benefits of selected offers right away, like if I were using a paper coupon at the checkout.  The set-up was quick and simple.  There is a short list of offers.  After photographing your receipt, you’ll “paperclip” which offers actually apply to that receipt.  Once they’re confirmed, the money saved is sent directly to your PayPal account.

I do bulk shopping so the last time I used MobiSave, I had 6 receipts that were all quite long.  The way this app is set up to capture images of your receipts makes it difficult to know where your last picture ended and your next needs to begin.  In the end, there were 4 offers that applied to me.  There were 4 deposits made to PayPal within an hour.  My first payment from MobiSave was only $.40, but I got it right away without waiting and saving up to a $20 threshold.

Screenshot from my MobiSave account

Pros:  Immediate deposit into PayPal; frequently offered “any type, any size” deals

Cons:  Not many offers; can’t see previous pictures in series when photographing long receipts

Verdict:  KEEP USING

 

App Name:  Coupons.com

Google Play Rating:  4 Stars (18,800 reviews)

Earned in First Month:  $0.00, but I may have saved some by loading deals to my Pay-Less card

My Thoughts:

I have used Coupons.com in the past to select deals and print coupons to present at checkout.  This app allows that as well as linking to your store shopper cards for automatic digital coupons.

You *must* visit the app prior to shopping, not after.  They don’t want to capture your receipt if you have a store loyalty card; they want to provide coupons directly to the card.  Part of the set-up for this app is typing in the numbers on your loyalty cards.  If you are like me, you don’t even have these because you provide your phone number to the cashier.  I use my Kroger Plus card and I frequently use their digital coupons option, so I logged into that account to access my card number to copy-and-paste into this app.

For stores you frequent that do not use loyalty cards, you will submit your receipt after shopping.  When you’ve submitted receipts and they’re accepted, you receive cash back via PayPal.

Coupons.com has a whole slew of other money saving options, like printable coupons and online coupon codes for sites like Overstock and Guitar Center.  I’ve used their printable coupons in the past, from their website and not this app, and can attest to the safety of the printing software they need you to use.  If you use the app to select coupons, you have the option to print or email them.  I do not have a WiFi compatible printer but have emailed myself the link to print directly from my computer.  Check your library for wireless printing if you’d like to use this option.

Although I downloaded and accessed this app the same as the other savings apps, I have yet to use anything off of it.  I don’t use the products they have presented in the time I’ve been doing this little experiment (seven weeks at the writing of this review).

Screenshot from my Coupons.com account, showing what I could redeem with either loading to my loyalty cards or submitting receipts.

Screenshot from my Coupons.com account

Pros:  Many ways to save

Cons:  Lots of offers to scroll through only to discover I won’t use any of them

Verdict:  DELETE but keep visiting the website on my laptop for paper coupons

Embarking on a New Path

One beautiful aspect of this life is that there are no constants. 

Now, for a control freak like me, that concept is always first handled with trepidation.

But when I remember that life isn’t stagnant, that change is necessary for growth and to reach goals, I feel emboldened and blessed as I take the first tentative steps on the new path I see before me.

Independence

The BHE and I are both very intelligent and fiercely independent people.  We both would love nothing more than to live off the grid and thrive on our own efforts and ingenuity.

However, living in this time and place, and having been raised the way we were, we both cling to a few ideas of the modern, connected world.  Like health insurance, adult conversation, and the Internet.  I for one would like to know I have a steady income that includes benefits from a company, at least until my children are a bit more mature.  And our farm is functioning independently.

With independence comes greater responsibility, especially for oneself.  When you are beholden to none, you are more so beholden to yourself and your God.  I care not for the judgement of my peers but rather His view on the quality of my stewardship of His earth and gifts.

So the BHE and I have been talking about our options and alternatives.  I am a SAHM who would love to be a WAHM so, by golly, I gotta be independent and forge a new way.

Please, Lord, show me the next path I must thoughtfully walk upon.

Financial Independence

The goal here is to provide for ourselves, our children, our families, and our friends without depending too much on other people.  Reciprocity is the name of the game, rather than being borrowers to lenders, as that never ends well.*

For now, though, we do have a mortgage(s) and car loan (please don’t get me started on my student loans) and two small children.  We must be smart about our steps towards our end goals.  Which is why the BHE returns to work each day.  Which is why I have begun searching out ways to both save and earn.

If I do not have a steady income as a stay-at-home mom, the least I can do is be a good steward of the money we have been blessed with and use the considerable brain power God gave me to come up with new ways to work towards financial independence.

Saving

I’m known for my budgeting and my coupon-clipping and my bill pay spreadsheets… and my penny-pinching.  I will be the first to raise my hand and admit that I am a tight wad.  For all the hosting I’ve done, I can tell you I have upset a few guests in the past with how tight I hold my fist.

I found some new ways to save, and I plan on writing up my reviews of the apps that are helping me do so.  In fact, a couple of the apps are more than Saving; they cross the line into Making.  It is pretty cool.

If you want to get started on your own, I am using:

Checkout 51
Flipp
Coupons
Ibotta
Every Dollar
MobiSave
Walmart’s Savings Catcher
Target’s Cartwheel
And Payless’s (Kroger) digital coupons

Making

I decided to take it one step further.  Part of my approach to minimalism has been selling as well as donating and trashing the things we don’t need or want.  Now, after the passing of my beloved father-in-law and the subsequent inheritance of all of his shit crap garbage hoarded stuff belongings, we have a major inventory with which to work.  Antiques and collectibles, unopened boxes of supplies and tools, decorative items that have no place in our home, clothing and accessories that fit no one we know… the list goes on.

Thank God for the Internet!**  I have opened both an eBay shop and an Etsy shop as well as have posted items on all Craigslist sites that cover areas within an hour drive of me.  Also, if you didn’t know this, go take a peek at what’s around you in terms of Facebook pages labeled “yard sale” or “ rummage” or “swap”.

Here are some items I have up for sale:

blade.jpgashtraycoke-case

 

Here is the link to my eBay store, DeichMileFeirme, and my Etsy shop, Thoughtfully Sought.

Branding

While you’re online, reading this post and checking out my shops and the various apps I mentioned above, go ahead and check me out in the other corners from which I shine.  See the fun, colorful, crazy, thoughtfully sought path we are treading on my Instagram account.my Instagram account.  Find out what inspires me and what my big project ideas are on my Pinterest account.  Go crazy and LIKE my Facebook page.

If you’re trying to make a little extra on the side (and I do mean a little), start stretching your touch to various parts on the Internet.  There’s so much out there, and what goes around comes around. ***

How have you earned a little extra lately? 

What was the big-ticket item you last saved a ton on? 

If you were going to brag about how little you spent at the grocery, how would you explain how you did it?

 

*Proverbs 22:7 – The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.

**Seriously, I think I say that twenty times a day, if not more.

***Hebrews 13:15&16 – Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. 16 And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.

Personal Review of ClickList

In effort to cut back on money and time spent on food’n’stuff, I decided to give Kroger’s ClickList option a try.

I am not receiving anything to tell you about my experience:  nothing free, no money or credit, nada.  But that’s okay, because on my Thoughtfully Sought path through life, I’m hoping to share what I’ve learned with others for the sake of sharing and possibly learning something new.

To make a full disclaimer, I do have family members and friends who work for the Kroger Company.  No, they aren’t getting anything from this blog post, either.  Sorry, guys!

ClickList

Before I go any further, I would like to state that I think this is a stupid name.  The Kroger Company probably spent a big ol’ chunk of money on a team of well-educated individuals to come up with that name, so I apologize to all who put effort into it.  But I could toss out about 15 better names in 40 seconds if you asked me to.

Anyway


Where I live, I shop at the Pay-Less stores of the Kroger family.  I was on my Android phone looking at my weekly sales ads and going through my digital coupons when I saw the “shop online” option.  After recently reading an advice book suggesting one creates more time with her family (or for her other priorities) by shopping for groceries online, I decided to give it a whirl.

I poked around on the site for a bit, saw how they save my previous purchases, looked into payment options and the cost, and decided to take it a step further and get out the laptop.

Once I logged into my Pay-Less account, I got a full screen with all my shopping options.  I used my list from these free printables to “shop” for what I needed.  Thankfully, the webpage shows what items cost and if they are on sale.  Then I looked through the digital coupons offered and added a couple more things to my “cart”.

ClickList does give a total amount of what is in your “cart” but it does not factor in the digital coupons.  It also doesn’t take into account any paper coupons you might have.  Note that Kroger/Pay-Less still accepts the coupons, though.  When you call to say you’re ready and in their parking lot, they will ask about your paper coupons while the computer will automatically access the digital ones you’ve loaded to your card/account.

So, let’s see, where was I?  Right.  I loaded up my “cart” and went to “check out” where it let me review what I was ordering and select a date and time frame to pick up my groceries.  Shortly after choosing my options, I received a confirmation email.


I was expecting another email or text or call or something once my order was ready, but I didn’t.  They only send you that first confirmation, pull your order before your time slot, and eagerly await your arrival.

Ok, maybe they aren’t eager.  I don’t know, I couldn’t see them from the parking lot.

I arrived at the store near the end of the time frame I chose, pulled into one of the designated spots, and called the number on the sign.  The friendly individual who answered asked which spot number I was in, talked with someone near him, then informed me it would be just a moment before a clerk came out to my car.

Since I could see said clerk helping another ClickList patron, I was cool with just sitting for a few in my air conditioned vehicle with two slumbering babes in the back seat.

Soon, the nicest guy I’ve ever met at a grocery store came out with another man and a rolling cart with some black plastic tubs full of white Kroger grocery sacks.  The friendly guy asked where I would like my groceries and if my doors were unlocked.  While the one man loaded the rear of my SUV with the bags (even putting the frozen and refrigerated goods in the cooler I had back there for that very reason), Mr. Super-Friendly-Nice talked with me about my experience, coupons, who I talked to when I called the number, et cetera while he ran my debit card on his tablet.

For whatever reason, the tablet didn’t like my card, and Mr. Super-Friendly-Nice ran back into the store for another one.  Meanwhile, the other dude was still loading my 60+ items.

Finally, I was loaded and paid for (that sounds inappropriate) and rolling out of the lot within less than 10 minutes of pulling in (yep, really inappropriate).

Extra Benefits

  • I don’t know if it was promotional or what but there was no fee associated with getting my groceries this way.  After telling a girlfriend who lives in another city about my experience, she said it cost her $4.95 to use the ClickList service.  For me, it was free and super easy, plus I didn’t have to drag my littles through a grocery store.
  • Ok, so not having to take the kids through the store was a huge plus.  That hour that we didn’t spend in the store?  I made a point to go to a free city park with them.  How’s that for awesome!
  • Also, I didn’t have any impulse buys.  I saved money by not setting foot inside and being lured by sights, smells, and sale signs.  I got precisely what was on my list, or on sale, or what I had a coupon for, because I was able to directly search for those things.  It was great!
  • I only had the one store to go to!  Normally, I would run to a handful of different stores on grocery shopping day.  This time, I decided the convenience of ClickList was worth the extra 10 cents on the marinara and the 40 on the salad dressing that I wouldn’t have paid having gone to Aldi’s for those things.

Unknowns

  • I chose not to get produce or meat during this experiment.  I am, as many others are, particular about my meats and fruits (heh heh, inappropriate again).  We get our meats at a local meat market, so that wasn’t a concern, but I do like to get quite a bit of my produce at Kroger.  However, I just don’t know if I can trust a clerk to pick precisely what I want.  And what if he or she accidentally drops my bananas?  What if there was a bigger melon? How do I know the best peach, tomato, avocado, etc was selected?  I don’t, so I didn’t get produce that day.
  • I also don’t know how refrigerated and frozen items were handled.  I should have asked.  I would think if you ordered ice cream, frozen peas, a gallon of milk, and some eggs that the staff would somehow ensure those items stayed the temperature they needed to.  For instance, I selected the time slot of 3-4, and Mr. Super-Friendly-Nice informed me that my order had been ready since about 2:55.  But I didn’t get there until almost 4.  I didn’t order ice cream, but I’m hoping if I had, they would’ve somehow noted that some of my items needed to stay frozen.  I don’t know.  But I hope.
  • Since I didn’t have paper coupons to use this time, I am not entirely sure how that process works.  They say they take them, but I don’t know what that means.  I’m assuming a clerk comes out, gets your coupons, goes in to scan them, and comes back out to take your payment.  I don’t know, sorry.

Arriving Home

I drove straight home, and the BHE helped me unload sleepy kids and all the groceries.  My cold things were cold in my cooler, and everything else was set on our kitchen table.  Since they gave us both a receipt and print of my order on a 8.5×11 piece of paper, I had no issues checking off the items as I put them away.

Yes, everything was there.  Every last thing I requested online was in my kitchen.  How awesome is that!

I decided I must write a blog post about my experience with ClickList because it was easy, free/cheap, and accurate.  I did my grocery shopping one night while my family slept and I sat in my pjs in my bed with a glass of moscato.  I didn’t have to get out of my car and, more importantly, I didn’t have to get my kids out of the car, into a cart, around a store, through the check-out line, and back into the car to drive all the way home and unload the whole mess.  I saved money and time (and a headache).

If this service stays free, I’ll keep using it.  If they begin to charge, like maybe $4.95 each trip, I may have to rethink how often I buy certain items.  Because, really, five bucks to save money and the hassle, I think it is worth it.

Your Thoughts

Does your preferred store have this option?  Have you tried it?  What did you like?  What didn’t you like?  Or why haven’t you tried it?

I’d like to know.  Maybe my other preferred stores do this, too.  It was a fun experiment.

How do you like shopping for your groceries and goods?