Groceries are expensive. Unless you start your own farm, complete with a garden and livestock, you need the grocery store. Some stores offer cheaper options on food, so many of us shop around to get the best deals. Shopping around, however, costs time, effort, and money. You go from store to store, comparing prices and wasting money.
Instead, save time, effort, energy, and money by shopping from home.
Before Extreme Couponing was a show on television, my roommate and I excelled at it. Amanda, the best roommate ever, worked in the office at our local grocery store. She came from a family of 6 kids with a single mom, so she learned early on how to set and follow a budget and how to maximize a dollar. She also knew the rules to combining manufacturer and store coupons, which often doubled at this store. When we moved in together at 19, we decided to save as much money as possible. We started couponing for groceries. I remember our cart overflowing with items that we purchased for 19¢. It was the highlight of my life at the time.
With four kids and a husband to feed, it’s even more important than ever for me to save money on groceries. Whether you’re a young student, a parent, or a senior citizen, it just makes sense to save as much money as possible on groceries. Check out these 6 apps that will help you do just that and even make money.
This option is less about a particular app and more about saving money directly from the store. Most grocery stores have an app full of digital coupons. Some stores send you physical or digital coupons based on your shopping habits and offer digital coupons or sale items. Three of my favorite places to shop are Kroger, CVS, and Dollar General. All three of these stores have digital coupons and special coupons for consumers that are tailored to your shopping habits. They also have super-special secret deals that make you feel like you need to run away from the steal of a deal.
Additionally, I like to use these apps instead of going to the store. I’m horrible at impulse buys. I will pick up $100-$150 of items that I do not need and never intended to purchase because I’m physically in the store. If I purchase a pickup order or delivery order, I save a significant amount of money because I take my time to purchase only what I need and use coupons (digital and physical). I also take my time with my order because my family forgets everything.
Check the mobile app and the website for your store! Sometimes, the website houses programs that offer even greater deals and opportunities.
Obviously, I love coupons. It’s nostalgic for me and almost calms me. The days of getting a Sunday paper and clipping coupons are gone. Instead, I use places like coupons.com. It’s incredibly simple. Go through the list of name-brand items. If you want to use the coupon, click on the plus sign in the lower right-side corner. Once you have all of your coupons clipped, use the print button to print them. It is incredibly simple. There are general printable coupons, store specific coupons, and cash back coupons.
Don’t give up! Sometimes, there is an error message when you try to print. Just go back and reprint.
SavingStar app connects to your existing store accounts. It’s also not going to save you money at the store; rather, it gives you money back on your purchases. After you open your account, you simply connect your rewards cards or link your phone number to your account. You activate specific rebates from the list. After you purchase those items, the amount listed is put into an account where you are able to cash out after you have earned $20. It takes a few steps, but it’s worth it to make money doing what you’re already doing. What I love most about this program is that if you forget or have multiple items, you can scan your receipt later. It’s easy.
Combine this offer with others! You can use coupons to save and get cash back from the same items.
Fetch Rewards is similar to SavingStar with a few key differences. With Fetch Rewards, you scan your receipt. No checking out information online or selecting options. Scan your receipt, and the program recognizes what you purchased and gives you points toward rewards. The rewards vary from restaurants or retailers, but you can also donate your rewards to charity programs like the American Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics, and more. It all works like little surprises.
Prepare and be patient! This app in action takes a while to redeem rewards. Codes have to be sent to redeem the rewards you earned. Prepare yourself and be patient at checkout.
Ibotta is like other cash-back programs. It works a few different ways. First, the extension can run in the background on purchases you make on your computer. Second, you can pay with Ibotta. You link your card and use it (the linked credit card) to pay at certain retailers. Third, you can link your reward or loyalty card, which you use when you make purchases. Finally, you check out and unlock rebates just like with the other programs. You have to submit your receipt after shopping. Ibotta is one of the most popular apps, so it’s widely recognized and has less kinks than some of the other programs.
Make more money with Ibotta by checking in later! If you shop, you can scan your receipt up to 7 days later. Check back in between Thursday and Sunday for new rebates.
Checkout51 is pretty simple and functions much like the other apps. You download the app, add items to your list, check off items you purchased, scan your receipt, and earn cash back. No reward or discount cards with this one. Straight money in the bank.
This app can be used in conjunction with almost any other app! Use it with Ibotta, SavingStar, and Fetch Rewards to earn more money.
Maximize your earnings
Stacking is the best way to maximize your earnings. You can stack digital and print coupons in many instances. Check the details on the coupons themselves, but if it is not explicitly written, you can usually get by with stacking coupons. You can also stack reward programs. These programs profit, in part, from selling your shopping habits to companies. They’re not sharing your credit card information or anything like that, so don’t worry. You can also stack your coupons and your rewards!
Like most things, it takes a bit of time to learn how to save money on groceries and how to get money back. Once you get your savings on, however, you’re likely to be obsessed. Not only have I been able to save $100-$150 per month, but I’ve been able to regularly earn $30-$50 per month in cash back and/or rewards. That $130-$200 each month adds up to around $2,000 per year with just a few hours of strategic planning each week. Start saving and making money today!
Martha Warner is a writer, editor, and educator. As a single mom for many years, Martha knows the value of money, how to work hard, and how to hustle. Her freelance career started as a side hustle (to support her love of travel) and quickly grew into the most lucrative career she’s ever had. Martha still teaches at the university as well as other online and in-person courses, including Writing to Make Money, College Scholarship Writing, and Write that Grant. Find out more about her on her website.