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.
5) A One-Of-A-Kind Grocery List
Introducing a shopping app that lets you build your shopping list while it works to save you money. MySupermarket app compares prices across eleven different stores to bring you the best price of all your desired items. Users can also search products using the filter or the in-app barcode scanner. Participating stores include Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, and Boots. This app also allows you to set price alerts on your favorite items, letting you know when your selected product goes on sale. There’s even a chance to get cashback vouchers. Use this app in conjunction with Grocery iQ and make shopping easy, fun, and more organized than ever before. Grocery iQ is similar to mySupermarket in that it gives discounts and coupons. Additionally, Grocery iQ syncs up your shopping list with your friends and family, making it easy to plan for big parties and events.
6) Buy in Bulk – Online
You already know that buying bulk is cheaper than buying smaller amounts multiple times. Many companies now have this concept down to a science, too. Zaycon Fresh is one of them. This company delivers farm fresh meat products to your home at a fraction of the cost you’d pay at the store. For example, a 40-pound case of boneless chicken breast costs $75 or $1.89/pound – 50% less than your local grocer. Yes, it’s a lot of chicken, but it’s affordable quality that’s worth clearing out your freezer for. Amazon Grocery is another website that offers bulk buying, saving shoppers big chunks of change every time they shop. It breaks down the price per pound for customers so it’s easy to compare to grocery store prices. Amazon shares weekly coupons with members which can be used for additional savings. The cherry on top? Shipping is free on purchases over $25.
7) Maximize Credit Card Rewards
There are plenty of credit cards out there that promise cash back on your purchases. But how do you decipher between all of them? It’s tough, but when it comes to excellent cash back rates on groceries, we’ve narrowed it down to a few stand-outs. The first is Blue Cash Everyday American Express card. This is one of the best options if you don’t want a credit card with an annual fee. Earn 3% cash back on U.S. supermarket purchases, 2% back at U.S. gas stations and some department stores, and 1% back on everything else. Pay the $95 annual fee and upgrade to Blue Cash Preferred and double your cash back percentage on groceries. The runner up is Bank of America’s Cash Rewards credit card. This piece of plastic earns you 2% cash back on grocery purchases and 3% back at gas stations. There’s also no annual fee.
8) Sign Up For ‘Kicks’
This shopping app is your new best friend. Use Shopkick on your normal shopping runs at places like Target, Walmart and grocery stores to earn points (called “kicks”). You can even use Shopkick on Amazon. The “kicks” can be redeemed for gift cards to Amazon, Target, Walmart, Sephora, Starbucks, Best Buy, local grocery stores, and many more! Earning kicks is easy; you can literally get points just for walking through the door or visiting the online site. Earn more kicks by taking part in challenges set up by the app. It could be anything from scanning certain products, verifying the price of an item, or scanning and submitting the receipt of your purchased items. Join Shopkick and start earning free money on your grocery shopping (and all your other shopping for that matter) and put the points toward your next batch of groceries!
9) Be A Modern-Day Coupon Clipper
Coupons have been around for a long time. However, the days of clipping coupons from the newspaper and rifling through a big stack at the cash register are over. Now your phone will do all the clipping, sorting, and storing for you. Apps like SnipSnap allow users to take a picture of a physical printed coupon (no scissors required) and transform it into a digital copy. SnipSnap creates a scannable barcode on your phone that you simply present at check-out. SnipSnap also has your back by letting you know when you’ve got coupons for a particular store upon entering it, as well as alerting you to when your coupons are going to expire. You’re can share your scanned coupons with your friends, too! Of course, what’s a coupon app without coupons of its own? The app has a massive database of discounts only accessible to SnipSnap users. Get your shop on!