When I first began my entrepreneurial journey back in 2014, things were slow. I became obsessed with researching apps and odd ways to save money as I waited for client’s to come knocking on my door… I did everything from taking surveys for 25 cents to watching commercials for a penny! I probably tried out a million apps around that time as well. Some were really fun, some were total duds.
I decided to do a quick round up and review of 10 popular money saving apps that you’ve probably heard of and I’ve tried over the years:
1. Cartwheel by Target
Cartwheel allows you to scan items while you shop at Target and add coupons, or recommends similar products they are offering coupons for at that time. Usually, the coupons are for 5-15% off, sometimes more. Then you just hand the barcode on your phone to your cashier to scan and see your savings! My average savings with this app is about 15%.
VERDICT: Love. Super easy to use for decent savings.
Shopkick* allows you to “check in” when you walk into participating stores for “kicks”. Once in the store you can scan certain items for “kicks” or link your credit card for kicks for purchases. “Kicks” translate into store credit savings.
VERDICT: Love. This can be SO much fun! If you have the time, it’s like a scavenger hunt every time I go to Target trying to find all of the kicks. If I am at the mall I usually check in places pretty frequently, but not a daily savings app.
3. Receipt Hog
Snap pictures of your receipts for “coins” and some receipts give you spins on the “slot machine” that can translate into coins. Exchange your “coins” for cash directly deposited into your bank account or amazon gift cards. I started using this app as a way to track monthly receipts since my fiance and I charge all the household items to his credit cards. At the end of the month I just open it tally up the dollar amounts and write him a check for my half.
VERDICT: Love. It’s super easy to use and a nice way to make a little cash and stay organized. However, it takes time to see the coins add up. I made $30 in a year.
Groupon is one of my favorite sites/apps of all time. Basically, you can save anywhere from 25-80% on local deals. They have product’s too but I’ve heard mixed reviews and never used it. I usually stack coupons on their savings.
VERDICT: LOVE. It’s great for restaurants, massages, workout classes, and so much more. It’s allowed me to do activities I haven’t done in years for cheap (like laser tag or trampoline parks) or save money on things I would do normally.
Similar to Groupon. Allows you to save on local deals.
VERDICT: Mixed. Sometimes it’s nice to check out before you purchase that expensive gym membership, but it’s very similar to Groupon with usually a smaller selection and fewer additional discounts.
Before you go shopping you check the app to see the deals. You complete different tasks and verify your purchases to earn money.
VERDICT: Skip it! It’s a lot of planning ahead, not the most user-friendly to navigate, and generally annoying in my opinion for the amount you earn back. Plus they only have about 50 partnerships in place, many of which are regional grocery stores that I didn’t have access to.
A rebate app that allows you to check the list of “deals” that work, and if you purchase one of the items on the list that week, you upload the receipt and earn cash back.
VERDICT: Mixed. Maybe if I had kids this would be great, but being a family of two, we don’t typically buy a lot of the frozen foods or cereals on the list, so it wasn’t worth it.
You can sell or purchase real people’s gift cards at a discounted rate.
VERDICT: LOVE! Such a fan of raise. I will purchase a gift card to Massage Envy or Lululemon for 25% off (sometimes Raise runs additional discounts on top of users discounts), then use it to pay for my masseuse’s tip, extra time on my massage, or new Lulu leggings! The gift cards don’t expire and it’s a nice way to shop or experience your favorite places while saving money you would’ve been spending anyway. The grocery store gift cards go fast though!
9. Retail Me Not
Thousands of coupons on your phone.
VERDICT: OK. It makes it easy when you’re in the checkout line to do a quick for any coupons that may work, but generally I didn’t find anything and usually forgot about it.
Allows users to “check in” and earn for watching their favorite shows or listening to their favorite music.
VERDICT: Skip it. This thing has tons of glitches and is really annoying to use. I watch entirely too much television, and would not recommend the annoyance that this app is.