I’m so NOT a coupon clipper. I really don’t have time with my work, my kid, and my family to sit there and sort through them. If my father brings me some he’s clipped, they more often than not wind up in my wallet completely forgotten about until I do a purge and find they expired months ago.
However I’ve always got my iPhone with me, and it’s much easier for me to use an app to save money than anything else in the world, really. Lifehack also has a beautiful, comprehensive list of money saving apps to try, that I haven’t gotten around to checking out fully, but I’ve got a few different ones going, and will explain why these money saving apps are pretty much my favorite things right now.
Checkout 51 – This app gives you discounts on things you buy all the time, regardless of where you buy them. I’ve earned money back on apples, tomatoes, corn, frozen foods, air freshener, cleaners, cheese, you name it. Just upload your receipt within the 7 day period of the offers and you’re good to go. The money adds up in your account and you can withdraw it after you reach $20. Not too shabby. Only downfall is that usually 1/3 of the products are only available at certain stores that I don’t shop at. So the saving is slow going, but it’s definitely going.
Walmart’s Savings Catcher – There’s a lot of mixed feelings on the internet about this one, but since I’m a lazy couponer, it’s better than nothing as far as I’m concerned. This one takes your scanned receipt and checks advertised offers in your area for a lower price. If it finds one, you get the difference.
Some people think it’s skewed, some people think it’s rigged, others love it. I personally am not a fan of Walmart anyway, but I do shop there because the prices are often better than elsewhere and when a girl needs to save, she needs to save.
BONUS: Through mid-February 2015, if you redeem your savings to a Bluebird card (Walmart/AmEx pre-paid card), you get double the money. Yes, you have to spend it at Walmart, but if you’re shopping there anyway… So far I’ve redeemed over $25 in two months by doing virtually nothing extra.
Target’s Cartwheel – I know that Target has higher prices on just about everything than Walmart does, but for things like clothes for my two-year old, and post-holiday clearance, this app has been a lifesaver. I went shopping on Dec 27 and despite everything I bought being already on clearance, I saved an additional $9 on a $110 purchase. Not too shabby.
A few things I really like about it: You get notifications about what’s currently included, plus you can scan an item before you put it in your cart to see if there’s a savings coupon for it. Also, they’re pretty generic… like, “Save an additional 15% off clearance apparel” and stuff like that. As long as you activate the discount and give them the barcode at the register, you don’t have to wait to get your savings.
PriceChopper – Our mega-grocery chain in the area. Sure, there are other less-expensive places to shop, but I have this thing where I get skeeved out about produce and meat and where I buy it from. I really can’t hit up anywhere else than PC for it but I’m working on that. (No, I will never buy meat from Walmart again. Big mistake, once made, never to repeat. YUCK.)
PC offers e-coupons (again, for the lazy couponer like me) which means I can collect them while I’m making a potty run before I leave for the store and they’re there on my card when I check out. It also offers a shopping list tool, and the store accepts competitor’s coupons if you’re of the clipping kind. Oh, and they have fuel savings. For every $100 you spend, you can get 10 cents off per gallon, plus they often have special deals on things we normally stock up on anyway like soup, yogurt, and snacks where you can get an additional few cents off per gallon just by buying those items (whether you hit your $100 threshold or not).
Suggestion: Check your local grocery stores to see if they have any apps like this, and if they don’t, write a letter asking them to! Price Chopper is one of the most profitable grocery chains in the country… your store should do the same!