Ah, shopping apps. They can save you money like crazy but there are a gazillion to choose from. Some shopping apps help you save money with coupons and discounts. Other shopping apps tell you about daily deals. My favorite shopping apps are the ones that give you cash back and rebates because I can compare my receipts after I shop; I'm not good at staying on top of deals and sales.
Which one is right for you? The easiest way to find out is to download a shopping app, sign up and try it out. If it's not working for you, delete it and move on. If it works for you, keep it up! And maybe add another to your money-saving arsenal. Try not to get overwhelmed and feel like you're leaving money on the table if you're not using all the shopping apps out there. You're only one person and you can only do so much, even when it comes to saving money. Just use the one or two apps that you like best and feel good about the money you're not spending.
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I found out about ibotta from The Penny Hoarder, my favorite website about saving money (I also write for them occasionally). ibotta is incredibly user-friendly, with a nice, bright interface. Plus, lots of my favorite stores — online and IRL — are signed up with ibotta.
ibotta gives you cash back when you buy specific products from specific stores. You can browse ibotta before you shop and make note of the items you can get cash back on, then buy them at the store. Or, after you shop, you can check to see if anything you bought is listed. You check off the items that you bought that are also listed in ibotta. Then, you snap a pic of your receipt and send it. ibotta deposits rebates into your account. When you hit $20, they send it to you via Paypal.
Again, this is my favorite shopping app because it's so easy to use. With all the online shopping I do, the bucks add up quick. Click here to sign up for ibotta.
#2 Retail Me Not
Retail Me Not is my second favorite shopping app. And, oh, how I have saved money with this app! Retail Me Not is basically the place to find coupon and discount codes. I know you can use it IRL, but I've never done that. When I use Retail Me Not, I'm shopping online. Then, I get to the checkout and see that little box for a discount code. I open another tab and go to Retail Me Not and search for the store where I'm shopping. I'd say 9 times out of 10 there's a great coupon code. One time, I was ordering Christmas cards from Shutterfly and I was able to get 75% off just by using the code from Retail Me Not!
Cosign is a frickin' game changer. This shopping app is totally unique because it not only helps you find great items to buy, but also helps you make money for recommending the same thing you bought to others. It's kinda like being a fashion influencer because your photos of what you bought, including your #OOTD (outfit of the day) becomes shoppable. You do it all through social media, which you're probably already using.
- Snap or upload a picture of your favorite product, whether it's a jacket, dress, necklace or whatever.
- Tag the product info. (There are easy-to-follow instructions within the app. It walks you through it.)
- Share it on your social media channels. (Also easy with one tap.)
- Earn money when a product purchase is made from your shared images. Cha ching!
Right now, COSIGN is only available to iPhone users to download and use. Sorry, Android babes.
#4 Price Scanner
Price Scanner lets you scan a bar code or UPC to see where to find the best deal. If you're standing in a store, like Best Buy, and you're wondering if you can get a better deal on that gaming console, for instance, just scan the product's bar code to see who else is selling it and what they're prices are. Price Scanner searches big stores, like Amazon, Walmart and Target. The Price Scanner community also shares top deals. Download Price Scanner on iTunes for Apple users. Download ShopSavvy on Google Play for Android users, which also uses bar codes to find the best deals.
This smartphone shopping app shows you local and online deals that offer deep discounts. Groupon also has a lot of online deals for products you may not find anywhere else. I recently bought Harry Potter make-up brushes; the brushes look like wands! Plus, you can set it up so that it only sends you deals for things you like to buy. Groupon is also famous for offering travel deals. I was skeptical about those deals, until I spoke to more than one person who bought a Groupon vacation and loved it. Download Groupon on iTunes for Apple users or Google Play for Android users.
LivingSocial is very similar to Groupon. This shopping app will help you find local deals that are up to 90 percent off. The best way to use LivingSocial is to search for something you were already going to purchase. I've burned myself too often by snatching up deals that sounded fabulous, but I never used (like that bus tour of Philadelphia, ugh). If you’re smart, you can match the deals on your “to buy” list and often find something amazing. You can even earn free merchandise by recommending friends to a deal.
#7 The Coupons App
This coupon app is loaded with coupons. But the best thing about this shopping app is that you don't have to print the coupons. And no more clipping! The Coupons App can also alert you to deals at your favorite stores. Plus, it has its own bar code scanner, if you just want to use one shopping app for coupons and comparison shopping. You can get coupons for local stores and even share them with your friends and family. Download The Coupons App on iTunes for Apple users or Google Play for Android users.
Don'tcha hate it when you buy something and then it goes on sale? (Ugh, that's happened to me BIG time on ThinkGeek. Painful! If only I were more patient…) Now you can get that money back with Sift. If you buy something and the price drops within the next 60 or 90 day, you may be qualified to get a refund back. Sift automatically tracks prices for your purchases and if the price drops, it will automatically get you money back from the retailer or from your credit card provider. You don't have to do anything. You sign up and you start getting money back! Download on iTunes for Apple users and on Google Play for Android users.
FastMall is a smart shopping app that has a unique feature. You can get directions to local stores, find out what sales are there and — hold onto your butts — even know where you parked! It uses WiFi and GPS positioning to tell you. Download only on iPhone right now, with other apps in the making. If you like shopping at local malls, this app is for you.
This grocery shopping app is frickin' amazing. You can shop at more than one store at a time. For example, in my area, I can shop Target, Giant and CVS in one screen. When you type in your grocery list, Favado pulls in known coupons from local stores automatically so that you always get the best price. It's like comparison shopping, but Favado takes it one step further by showing you coupons. There are even instant coupons you can redeem in the shopping app. Download Favado on iTunes for Apple users or Google Play for Android users.
These apps can help you save money if you follow some rules and don't mind sharing some marketing information about yourself. Remember, don’t buy things you don’t need and aren’t on your list of things to buy. But when you do find something on your list, these apps will help you save money from start to finish.
What's your favorite shopping app? Tell us in the comments!