If you’re not using technology to save money in 2021, you’re clearly overspending. Don’t believe me? Just ask any savvy smartphone user. Whether it’s via smartphone apps, browser extensions, or clever websites, there are many fantastic ways to save money when shopping this Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and beyond. Here are 11 of my favorite tools that you need to put on your “money-saving” radar screen today.
I recommend mixing and matching these and picking a couple that work best for you. Believe me, your wallet will thank you for years to come.
The Fetch Rewards app is an easy-to-use app that pays you to scan your store receipts.
Here’s how it breaks down:
- Think of Fetch as Ibotta without the work. You just scan your receipt from any store and their app actually recognizes brands and products and gives you reward points depending on what you bought.
- No more scanning the barcode of individual products that you buy. Their internal technology does all the work for you.
- Hundreds of brands. But the cool thing is you can earn reward points by scanning receipts from ALL grocery stores, convenience stores, club stores, drugstores, and even liquor stores.
- Best Feature: Use our exclusive referral code RATHER and score 2,000 free reward points after you scan your first receipt.
- Use your reward points for a ton of free gift cards at a bunch of major stores…I usually swap my rewards for free Amazon gift cards.
In terms of a high cashback percentage, and very friendly customer service, TopCashBack is easily my favorite cashback site. Here’s what you need to know about these guys to start saving money with them.
- Once you sign-up for free, you simply start all of your shopping at the TopCashBack website, or via their mobile app.
- Make a purchase and your account will get credited with a cashback percentage. Your earnings will be credited to your account within 7 days and they’ll send you an email to confirm.
- Why is TopCashBack awesome? They offers the highest cashback rates in the country, bar none. They do this by passing 100% of their affiliate commissions back to their members and even offer a guarantee to beat the rate of any other cashback website.
- Once your cashback hits the pending status, you’re free to withdraw any amount. No waiting to get paid.
- Top Merchants: Home Depot (12% back), Groupon (up to 10% back), JCPenney (8% back), Macy’s (8% back), Gap (8% back), Levi’s (15% back), American Eagle (4% back), and Overstock.com (5% back).
- Best Feature: I love the fact that you can request your pay-out via an Amazon gift card and they’ll actually give you a 2% bonus in cashback for doing so. Winning.
~Register with TopCashBack for free.
Ibotta is one of my favorite smartphone apps because it makes it so darn easy to save money. Here’s the skinny…
- Download the Ibotta app for free and start redeeming rebates on your next trip to the grocery store.
- Basically the app works by unlocking rebates on dozens of grocery brands and even generic items. And it’s not products and brands you’ve never heard of. These are big national brands and the rebates are redeemable at any store.
- I like to take out grocery list and cross reference it with the rebates available on Ibotta. Without fail I find products to get a rebate on.
- Once you unlock the rebate and make the purchase, you simply scan your receipt into the app. Once it’s received and verified the free money shows up in your Ibotta account. Then get paid via PayPal or a gift card from stores like Walmart, Amazon, Target, or Starbucks.
- Best Feature: By far the best feature is the ability to redeem rebates on generic stuff like bananas, bread, milk, and eggs. While the rebate might only by $0.25 or $0.50, it adds up quickly if you’re feeding a hungry family.
~Download the Ibotta App for free and score a free $10 after you redeem your first rebate.
The Honey browser extension is another fantastic money saving tool worth checking out. Here’s the skinny.
- Once you install the browser extension, you simple shop online like you normally would.
- When you reach a retailer’s website who has a coupon code(s) available, the Honey browser extension will notify you by lighting up the Honey logo at the top of your browser.
- Simply click on the little H logo and it drops down all the pertinent coupon codes for that store.
- Last, click Try Codes! and Honey will automatically apply the best coupon, in terms of savings, to your purchase.
- Best Feature: I love how Honey will scroll through all of the coupon codes available to get you the most savings. Very cool feature that’ll save you both time and money.
~Download the Honey Browser Extension for free.
Paribus is the website with the strange name and the very cool ability to automatically get you money back if the price of something you bought drops. Which happens how often? ALL THE TIME. Here’s what you need to know.
- Once registered, Paribus works by connecting to your email mailbox so they can find your e-receipts.
- They then track the prices of your past purchases at qualifying merchants (see full list below). They have what they call the “Paribus Receipt Fetcher” that automatically finds your e-receipts.
- When Paribus finds a price drop, they’ll file a price adjustment claim with the merchant on your behalf.
- The money due to you is typically refunded back to the original form of payment you used. For their efforts, Paribus will keep 25% of whatever they get back for you.
- Best Feature: While not really a feature, but if you’re concerned about your privacy, consider opening a “shopping” only email address to use in conjunction with Paribus.
~Download Paribus for free.
The Flipp app makes it simple to browse grocery store flyers and easily match coupons with the items on your grocery list. Here’s how it works.
- Just download the app and start creating your grocery list.
- Flipp will then find you local deals and coupons via their 800+ weekly grocery store circulars.
- Just tap an item in a circular to clip it for easy access while shopping.
- Maximize your savings using coupon match-ups with local circular deals.
- Best Feature: You can actually add your grocery store rewards cards right to the app. This will give you the ability to add coupons directly to your rewards card which it turn adds them to the Flipp app.
~Download the Flipp App for free.
If you’re ever buying gift cards for someone, you gotta check out Raise.com first. Here’s why.
- Raise.com works by selling gift cards at less than face value.
- They’re able to do this because they also buy gift cards at less than face value.
- For example, they might buy a $150 Home Depot gift card from someone for $120 and then resell it to you for only $135.
- Oh, they’ll also mail your gift cards for free as well. It’s free money and definitely worth a look if you’re planning a big purchase from stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s, Best Buy, or Sears.
~Register with Raise.com for free and get 10% off your first purchase with coupon code FIRST.
Rakuten (Formerly Ebates)
Rakuten is probably the most publicized service on my list and still packs a lot of punch for those looking to save/earn some extra cash on their shopping.
Here’s how they operate
- Rakuten works by giving you a kick-back on almost all of your online shopping. For example, Macy’s might pay Rakuten 8% for all sales they generate through their links and Rakuten will then pass back 6% to their users and keep 2% as profit.
- The best part is that you can sign-up for free and Rakuten will give you a FREE $10 after you spend $25 at any retailer listed on their site or app.
- Many users don’t realize that you can shop through Rakuten, buy store gift cards and get money back. For example, you could buy a $100 Sears gift card and get an 3% back. Perfect workaround for those who’d rather shop in-store or might by buying a large item where shipping is costly.
- Best Feature: Look for double or triple cashback at specific retailers. We’re talking like up to 15% cashback at some stores, then add a coupon and you can easily save 30% to 40% off. These retailers change frequently which means you should check back often, especially around Cyber Monday and Black Friday when you might be doing a lot of online shopping.
~Sign-up for Rakuten for free.
Download the ShopKick app to your smartphone and start earning “Kicks” for doing things you’ll be doing anyways. Here’s what I mean.
- Earn “Kicks” for walking into stores.
- Earn “Kicks” for scanning products.
- Earn “Kicks” for making purchases.
- Earn “Kicks” for submitting your receipts.
- Cash in your “Kicks” for gift cards at stores like Target, Starbucks, Best Buy, Walmart, and dozens more.
- Best Feature: The app will actually tell you what kicks are available to you based on your location. It’s kinda fun and if you get your kids turned on to the app it gives them something fun (and profitable) to do while you do your shopping.
~Download the ShopKick App for free.
The folks at Checkout 51 have a really cool thing going and make for a great companion app to Ibotta. Here’s what you need to know.
- The Checkout 51 app lets you buy groceries, scan your receipt, and easily get cashback.
- Let’s let them do the talking, “All you have to do is pick the ones (offers) you like, purchase them at any store, and upload a photo of your receipt through our mobile app or website. When your account reaches $20, we send you a check.”
- It’s also worth noting that they update the app with fresh offers every Thursday morning.
- Best Feature: I love the fact that is doesn’t matter what store you purchase the items from. This feature really helps those that live in rural areas with Ma & Pa grocery stores.
~Download the Checkout 51 App for free.
Similar to Honey, Cently scours the web looking for coupons for thousands of stores, then notifies you of potential savings when you reach the checkout page at your favorite online retailers. Here’s the full scoop.
- Stop wasting time by looking for coupons. Instead, just install this browser extension and let it do the work for you.
- The browser extension works in the background until you reach a site where coupons are available then the extension lights up in your browser’s header bar. I love the fact that it stays out of your way until you need it.
- Best Feature: The browser extension automatically tries the coupon code for you to see if it works. HUGE time saver.
~Download the Cently Extension for free.
Ask the Reader: What tools and apps do you use to save money when shopping?
By Kyle James
Photo credit to Daniel Borman.
Disclaimer: I get paid a commission if you sign-up for some of these services. Money I use to keep the lights on around here and fuel my Krispy Kreme addiction.