TIME – Whatever you use — debit card, ApplePay, Bitcoin — one way or another, you’re really just giving up cold, hard cash. And with an average personal savings rate of just 5% (down from the long term average of 8.41%) it’s more important than ever to squirrel every nuts away that you can.
Sure, Millennials are flocking to 401(k) plans in record numbers, but what about older generations who need to play catch up? With times still as tight as they are for most Americans, consumers need to think thrifty. These five apps can help you spend less and, hopefully, save more.
Using coupons at the grocery can knock a good chunk off your final tab, but the time it takes to to clip, collate, and collect them can make the ordeal not worth it. Ibotta partners with retailers and product brands to offer users rebates that are generated by taking a snapshot of your receipt or the item’s barcode after you buy associated items in participating stores.
For example, say you do your weekly food shopping at Safeway. Just select the milk icon to receive 25 cents back from any one gallon jug, tap on the Minute Maid No Pulp Orange Juice to get $1 back from that specific item, and pick the Glad OdorShield garbage bags for a buck off there.
After you submit your receipt or scan your barcode, the cash gets deposited into your Ibotta account within 48 hours. And by transferring it into your Venmo or PayPal account, you can spend it just like you would real money (because it is). Or, if you’d rather turn your food savings into your fun money, you can buy gift cards from Starbucks, Regal, iTunes, and others from the Ibotta app.
Woody Allen famously once said that 80% of life is showing up. If that’s so, Shopkick may just be the Annie Hall of apps. Rewarding shoppers for checking in at stores — not even for making purchases — this Android and iOS app displays popular products and linked rewards at major retailers including American Eagle, Best Buy, and JCPenney.
Of course they’d be delighted if you bought any of the items these stores have on special within the app, but some stores give you reward points (or “kicks,” as the app calls them) just for window shopping. You can also link your Visa or MasterCard with Shopkick to earn more kicks when you make purchases. Once you’ve compiled enough kicks, you can redeem them for gift cards.
If you were offered 7.5% off your next purchase from Home Depot, JCPenney, Kohl’s or Starbucks, you wouldn’t say no. With Raise, that offer is a reality — it just takes an extra step or two to collect your savings.
An online clearinghouse where people can sell their unwanted gift cards to other people willing to buy them at a discount, this free iOS-only app is a quick way to get discounts on some of the biggest name stores around. With gift cards available for use in retail stores and online, the service delivers cards instantly to a mobile wallet within the app that displays all the necessary information you need to use the certificates on your next purchase.
All gift cards purchased are insured and covered by a full money back guarantee. And if that’s not enough, Raise also offers a rewards program, giving users points on purchases made and friends referred. All this, and you haven’t even attacked the clearance racks, yet.
Raise is available for free on the App Store.
Call it the Amazonization of retail, but it’s no secret that big box stores not only want to sell you clothing and electronics, but now also groceries, too. The Target Cartwheel app is a great hook to lure shoppers to the red dot.
Just use the app to browse offers before your trip, select the ones you’re interested in, and flash your smartphone screen when checking out. The phone will display a personalized barcode that serves as one giant coupon for all your purchases, giving you discounts like 20% off swimwear, 5% off Target’s house brand Market Pantry food products, and more. You can even use offers more than once, and your receipt shows how much you saved in all.
According to Target, users have saved more than $144 million to date using the app. Download it to get your cut of that thrifty action.
Walmart Savings Catcher
Think you can beat Walmart’s rock-bottom prices? Many a competitor has tried and failed. And with the Walmart Savings Catcher app, if they actually do undercut the world’s largest retailer, you, the consumer, win.
Using the app, shoppers can scan their Walmart receipt, prompting the company to run a price comparison across local print ads, looking for the products you bought, but at a lower price. If any pop up, they reward you with the difference in the form of a Walmart gift card.
Sure, it’s a little self-serving because you have to shop at the store again to actually get your money’s worth. But it also gives you another chance to catch Walmart asleep at the check stand again. Save and save again.
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