Shopping Apps Can Be Worth It … Sometimes

Shopping Apps Can Be Worth It … Sometimes


Saving Money on a Phone

I’ve talked about Ebates before (which is now called the Rakuten app). I’ve tried this click-through app to earn a little/save a little bit of extra money. I’ve received over $500 in rebates, or cash back, in the past few years. For me, it’s totally worth clicking through. The Rakuten app is easy to use, and doesn’t really take any extra time when I’m shopping for gifts at Kohl’s or Target, appliance or car replacement parts on eBay, or dry goods from Walmart or Sam’s Club. When I have a rebate coming, I can bump it up a few percent if I convert it to a Groupon or Kohl’s gift certificate. I usually pick Groupon because I use my rebate money for family fun.

Some of the other cash back or reward apps that I’ve tried involve snapping a photograph of my grocery receipt. The nice thing is that I can double dip rewards on these apps. Fetch Rewards, Ibotta and Checkout 51 give me rewards for submitting my receipts.

Most of the products that reward you for making purchases are name-brand items. So, if you purchase a lot of generic items, or shop at Aldi, you probably won’t see too much savings using these reward apps. Same thing with bulk shopping. Sam’s Club and Costco products are few and far between on these apps. Another drawback to these rewards programs is that sometimes you also have to scan the barcode for some of your purchased products, which can be time consuming.

However, if you are a person that loves to shop the grocery store circulars, you can usually get some points for name-brand foods and items that are on sale. If you’re someone that has the time and enjoys finding the deals, you can also use coupons along with your rewards apps. If you’re lucky, you can get products for free or next to nothing by doing this.

So, for now, I’ve decided to keep shopping through Rakuten app because it takes the least bit of effort for the return. When I have more time in my crazy schedule, I’ll go back to the grocery store rewards apps because I love saving money. It’s just that at this point in life, time is more precious that the few dollars I might save.