Save on bills and everyday purchases with these apps.
There’s never a bad time to save money, and today’s mobile apps make it easier than ever. They offer coupons, rewards and rebates to their users, and while the cash you save using these apps may not be enough to pay your bills, it could be a nice boost to your budget. Here are 10 apps we like for their ease of use and innovative approach to savings. Each is available to download for free on Apple and Android devices unless otherwise noted.
How it works: Ibotta offers cash back for purchases made online and in-store at hundreds of participating retailers including Amazon, Walmart and Target. Users select the offers they would like to redeem and then scan or submit their receipts using the mobile app to verify a purchase. For many retailers with loyalty programs, Ibotta can be linked to a store account to make it easier to redeem offers. In addition to its app, Ibotta has a browser extension that can be used to earn cash back when shopping online as well. Earnings can be withdrawn via PayPal, transferred to a bank account or redeemed for gift cards.
Benefits: With so many participating brands and retailers, it’s easy to find offers for items you’ll already be buying, such as groceries. “It’s pretty amazing because you’re using it on your everyday purchases,” says Deacon Hayes, personal finance expert and president of Well Kept Wallet. Plus, new users can earn 100% cash back on their first purchase.
Drawbacks: The downside of having so many offers available is that it can be time-consuming to scroll through the app and find those relevant to your purchases.
How it works: As another app that rewards users for everyday purchases, Fetch Rewards gives points for every receipt scanned into the app, including those from both stores and restaurants. The app says it covers thousands of items, and even receipts that don’t include a partnering brand can receive points. E-receipts can be entered into the app as well, and points can be redeemed for gift cards, Visa rewards or sweepstakes entries.
Benefits: The simplicity of Fetch Rewards is one of its biggest benefits. “I love it because it’s the easiest receipt scanning app out there,” says Natalie Graham, founder of GoFromBroke.com. “You don’t need to match offers or scan barcodes; you just scan your receipt and collect your points.” Graham says she shops about once a week and earns enough points to redeem for $10 a month.
Drawbacks: Since Fetch Rewards offers points instead of cash back, it may not be immediately clear how much you’re earning with each receipt. Plus, point values are subject to change at any time.
How it works: GoodRx provides deep discounts on prescriptions and is accepted at nearly every pharmacy in the nation. “GoodRx allows people to price-shop for their medications,” says Cindy George, personal finance editor at GoodRx. “The same medication could have very different prices at pharmacies on the same block.” Users can download the free app, search for the price of their prescriptions at nearby pharmacies and then show an electronic coupon card to the pharmacy to receive a discount.
Benefits: Offering discounts of up to 80% off the cash price of medications, GoodRx pricing can be less than that of the average insurance copay, according to George. For additional savings, people can sign up for GoodRx Gold which costs $9.99 a month and comes with additional savings on prescriptions, free home delivery and affordable telehealth visits. Even if someone doesn’t need a discount, GoodRx makes it easy to see how much medications will cost prior to heading to the pharmacy.
Drawbacks: The GoodRx app can’t be combined with insurance. As a result, any prescription purchased with it won’t count toward your annual out-of-pocket deductible.
CVS Pharmacy App
How it works: CVS has long been known among bargain hunters as a prime source of drug store deals. The CVS Pharmacy app makes it easy to access coupons and track rewards through the store’s ExtraCare Rewards program. Accumulated awards can be spent on almost anything in the store. The CVS Pharmacy app also includes a barcode scanner that will match up items to any available coupons, and special app-only deals and freebies are sometimes available.
Benefits: Each week, you’ll find coupons offering up to $300 in value in the CVS Pharmacy app. The retailer says that ExtraCare members who use the app save up to six times more than those who don’t. Beyond deals, the app can be used to manage other store services such as pharmacy and photo accounts.
Drawbacks: As a store-specific app, the CVS Pharmacy App is only beneficial to those who have a CVS location nearby.
How it works: Shopkick isn’t an app that provides direct savings, but it allows users to earn rewards points — known as kicks — that can be redeemed for gift cards. Shopkick users can earn points in a variety of ways, such as scanning items in stores, watching videos or making purchases. Reward points can be redeemed for digitally delivered gift cards.
Benefits: With a variety of earning options, Shopkick is quick and simple to use. The app is free, and kicks can be earned with minimal effort. By earning gift cards for retailers such as Walmart and Target, people can free up money in their budget for other expenses.
Drawbacks: As with points in other rewards programs, the value of kicks is subject to change at any time.
How it works: As an online gift card marketplace, Raise can be used to either make money or save money. Users can earn money by selling unwanted gift cards on Raise. Meanwhile, those who are looking to save money can shop for discounted gift cards or receive cash back ranging from 3% to 30% when buying gift cards at face value from partnering brands. Plus, the app provides access to a variety of coupons, promo codes and other discounts.
Benefits: With more than 4,000 brands represented in the Raise marketplace, there are plenty of money-saving options. Gift cards are loaded into a virtual wallet, making it easy to track balances and use cards both online and in stores. New users may be eligible for additional savings, and all customers can combine discounted gift cards with coupons or cash-back offers.
Drawbacks: Raise notes 98% of its cards are electronic, so this may not be the best option for those who prefer physical gift cards. Discounts for some popular retailers, such as Walmart, can be less than 1%.
How it works: Customers who shop through the Rakuten website or with the Chrome browser extension can automatically earn cash back on qualifying purchases from participating retailers. The company’s mobile app also offers these rebates as well as cash back for in-store purchases.
Benefits: Rakuten has an extensive network of partnering retailers, which makes it possible to earn rebates on purchases in almost any category. Plus, with the mobile app, consumers can earn 5% cash back at restaurants. The Chrome browser extension will automatically apply coupons for additional savings. New users are eligible for a $10 welcome bonus when they spend $25.
Drawbacks: You can’t combine Rakuten with coupons found outside the site. Doing so will make a purchase ineligible for cash back.
How it works: Lowering monthly bills is another strategy to save money, and that’s the specialty of Truebill. The free app will scan bank and credit card accounts and look for recurring payments. Then, it helps cancel any service or subscription no longer needed. Truebill will also negotiate bills, such as those for cable and wireless service, on your behalf.
Benefits: In addition to managing subscriptions and lowering bills, Truebill can help you manage your money in other ways. It tracks spending, offers budgeting tools and provides access to a free credit score. The app can also be set up to automatically move money into savings.
Drawbacks: Not all services on Truebill are free. For instance, the company takes a 40% cut of whatever savings it secures through bill negotiation. If no discount is negotiated, no fee is charged.
How it works: Savvy makes it easy to save on auto insurance costs. “We get rid of all the complexity and scariness of shopping for insurance,” says Daniel Demetri, president of Savvy. There is no need to fill out forms or manually enter information about your coverage. Instead, Savvy pulls it directly from your current insurer’s online account to provide apples-to-apples auto insurance quotes. “All data is encrypted from end to end,” Demetri says. Savvy is integrated into apps like Truebill and Albert, but its online platform can also be used outside of an app.
Benefits: If you find a better rate, Savvy can help switch your coverage, and the company has a nationally licensed team of experts who are available to answer questions via text, email or phone. Savvy is free for consumers, and the average user saves more than $700 a year, according to Demetri.
Drawbacks: For quick and simple quotes, you’ll need to provide the login credentials for your current auto insurance account, something not everyone may be comfortable doing.
Your Favorite Loyalty Program App
How it works: The app for your favorite loyalty program may have an option to save additional money when dining out. “Many consumers have a rewards program or loyalty app where they earn hotel points, airline miles, discounts on gas and even cash back, but most people don’t know that they can link their debit or credit cards to these programs to earn even more rewards when dining out at over 15,000 local restaurants,” says James Roedding, chief product and marketing officer at Rewards Network. These rewards can include savings on gas and travel or cash back.
Benefits: Linking a credit or debit card to a loyalty app is a simple way to earn money-saving rewards. Programs such as Shell Fuel Rewards, Marriott Bonvoy and American Airlines AAdvantage are a few of those that offer dining rewards within their loyalty programs and apps. In most cases, participating restaurants are local establishments rather than large chains. “It’s a no-brainer way to discover and support great local gems all while earning (rewards),” Roedding says.
Drawbacks: Not every loyalty program offers dining rewards or other extra savings in their app.
10 apps to save money:
— Fetch Rewards.
— CVS Pharmacy App.
— Your favorite loyalty program app.
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Update 05/24/22: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.