Saving money is never easy. We all start out with good intentions, but get bogged down in monthly bills, unforeseen expenses, and the general cost of daily living. Pinching pennies can be a real drag, but lucky for us, it’s technology to the rescue. Now there are so many apps and reward programs that can be used to save us money on necessary expenses like groceries, home, and work essentials. The best part is most of them can be managed from a smartphone. Forget about clipping coupons and waiting for sales; we’ve got you covered with 9 unusual – yet effective – ways to save monthly on your monthly groceries.
1) Homescan and Save
What is Homescan and how does it work? Basically, companies like Nielson want to collect data on the grocery and household items that the population buys every week. They reward participants with incentives in exchange for getting the data they need. These rewards come in the form of points, which can be used in their Home Gift Catalogue containing electronics, toys, and household items. This, in turn, will save you money at the grocery store since you’ll be able to use your Homescan points to purchase items you’d otherwise have to spend your cash on. Once you become a member of the Nielson Homescan Consumer Panel, they’ll send you a hand-held barcode scanner in the mail. You’ll use this to scan your weekly groceries and send the data to the company. Members can also download the application and scan their groceries this way, too.
2) Reward Websites
Websites that reward their customers for shopping are key in saving on your monthly groceries. Let’s look at Ebates, a website dedicated to giving their customers cash back on online purchases from major retailers like Nordstrom, Sephora, Best Buy, and Walmart. Ebates makes a small profit for referring you to the larger retailer. Then, Ebates gives you a small piece of that commission. A membership to Ebates is completely free and customers are paid every three months via check or PayPal. It’s an easy way to earn money for things you would buy anyway. And remember, stores like Wal-Mart sell food products, so you can buy your groceries online and earn cash back for it. The best part? You earn cash, meaning you can spend your earnings however you’d like, i.e.: on groceries! Sign up now and spend $25 and Ebates will send you a $10 Walmart gift card!
3) Rebate Apps
There are many apps out there targeted toward saving you money, but which ones actually work? Checkout 51 and Ibotta are both fine-tuned apps geared toward giving you coupons and savings as well as cash back on your purchases from stores, bars, and restaurants. Both apps are free to download and easy to use. Once you download the apps, you’ll have access to coupons and cash-back rebates for different stores, including major grocers such as Costco, Trader Joe’s, Target, and Whole Foods. Select the items you want, go and buy them, then redeem your rebate by scanning and sending your receipt. These apps will send your cash rebates to your PayPal or Venmo account and then you’re free to withdraw the cash and spend however you please! You can also sign up to receive daily coupons sent directly to your phone. Save them in the app and use them later.
4) Avoid The “Pink Tax”
This one is for the ladies. It’s no secret that some women’s products are more expensive than the identical men’s products. It usually affects things like deodorant and razors. However, if you dig below the surface you’ll find it’s the brands that are the main offenders, as opposed to the items. This is especially true with big name brands. Instead of opting for the most popular women’s brand shampoo, for example, choose the generic version which is cheaper for two reasons: it’s generic and it’s less likely to be unnecessarily marked up for profit. Women can also save money by purchasing the “man” version of the product they’re shopping for. Men’s unscented deodorant is just as effective as women’s. And razors? The only real difference is in the color and marketing strategies. Buy a man’s razor and guess what? It’ll do the same job as the woman’s – for less.