Have you seen my extreme couponing strategy? No? That’s because I don’t have one. I haven’t used coupons in years. And I’m not starting any time soon.
People figure that because we have a $300 monthly grocery budget for our family of six that I must be going crazy with coupons and hoarding mac and cheese like it’s going out of style. While I am a big fan of stocking up, we live in the boonies and cook from scratch, so traditional coupons just don’t work for me anymore.
During law school I was a coupon queen, but afterward I quit coupons. Cold turkey, in fact. What’s more, I don’t even look at the store ads! Is that a frugal faux pas or what?!
I have lots of strategies for saving on groceries without using coupons, but the one I want to focus on today is cash back apps.
My Favorite Grocery Cash Back App
In my round-up of cashback apps, I mention several grocery apps that I use and why I like them. To summarize, Checkout 51 is nice because it doesn’t matter what store you shop at. I often shop at a discount grocery store with awesome markdowns, but I can still get cashback there.
Shopmium doesn’t have tons of deals, but the ones they have are good. Plus they start you out with a free Lindt chocolate bar (when you sign up with code FKEEYMRJ). I never complain about free chocolate.
My favorite, though, is Ibotta. It has evolved over the years since it first started. I really like what it has become. Let me tell you why Ibotta is my favorite!
Why Ibotta is My Favorite Grocery App
Ibotta has cash back for generic brands! Since generic brands are already the lowest price, they don’t typically have coupons available for them, but Ibotta has some rebates that work for any brand. To skip right to the any brand offers, search “any brand” in the search bar at the top of the app.
Ibotta has cash back for produce and dairy! Checkout 51 also has cashback offers for produce, but it’s almost always limited to $.25 per week. It takes a long time to reach your $20 minimum to cash out that way. Ibotta always has several produce items available. They also usually have some dairy offers too. These are the grocery items that you rarely would find traditional coupons for.
Ibotta is easy-to-use. The app is pretty, organized, and straight-forward. You can scan the items before you buy them to make sure they count. They are fast to credit rebates to your account.
There is a sign-up incentive! When you sign up with Ibotta, you get $10 after redeeming your first rebate. That’s real money! You can also share Ibotta with your friends to earn referral credit.
They have bonuses! Ibotta becomes a team sport when you invite friends to save with you. Some bonuses involve saving as a team. Other bonuses come from redeeming a certain number of rebates or for buying a certain combination of products or buying certain products at certain stores.
How to Start Saving with Ibotta
If you’re new to Ibotta, here’s a quick but thorough explanation of how it works.
First, sign up for Ibotta through this link to get an extra $10 when you redeem your first rebate.
Look through available rebates. You can do this by store or by category. I usually do it by store when I’m planning my shopping trip.
Unlock the rebates you want. Click the pink button that says “Unlock Cashback.” To unlock the rebates, you need to do a little something. Usually it’s just watch a short video or answer one quick survey question. I multi-task this by pressing play while I’m working on my grocery list or working on something in the kitchen.
Shop. With the “any brand” rebates this is easy because anything goes. For rebates that require a specific brand, product, size, etc, you’ll want to have your phone available to scan the bar code of the product. The app will tell you if the product qualifies or not.
Oh, and you can still use any coupons that you would normally use. That won’t affect your cashback with Ibotta.
Verify purchases. Click on the green circle at the bottom that says “verify purchases.” Depending on the item, you may first be asked to scan the bar code of the item. Next you’ll either be asked to scan the QR code on the receipt or photograph your receipt. I like to do this as the final step of my put-away-the-groceries process. You could even do it in the car. Just find a routine that makes it automatic for you.
Get your cash! Your cash back will be credited to your account within 48 hours (but usually much faster). When you have a minimum of $20, you can cash out through PayPal, Venmo, or you can get a gift card to major retailers instead.
Start saving on groceries now!
If you haven’t tried Ibotta (or if you tried it a while ago, before the major improvements), give it a try now! You’ve got nothing to lose. You will get $10 after you redeem your first rebate when you sign up for Ibotta through this link! Alternatively, you can enter this referral code wqiyxfa (but it’s probably just easier to use the link).
After you sign up for Ibotta, go check out the other strategies I use to save money on groceries without using coupons. You might just opt for a coupon-free life like me!
How about you?
- Do you use coupons or cashback apps?
- What is your favorite grocery savings/cashback app?
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