In theory I think coupons are a great idea for saving money, but all the printing, clipping, saving, organizing… it just isn’t worth it for me. The other problem I have with most coupons is that they are for items I don’t buy. While I don’t use many paper coupons, I have found a good alternative that still saves me a little money on grocery shopping: digital coupons and cash back offers.
I know there are other cash back programs/apps out there, but my two favorite are Checkout 51 and Ibotta.
Checkout 51 has a list of items that changes every Thursday. If you buy any of the items on their list (from any store) you simply take photos of your receipt using the Checkout 51 app and then submit them to get your cash back credit. It is pretty simple. I find that every week they have at least one fresh produce item worth $0.25, sometimes more. For me the fresh produce is a big deal since we try not to buy a lot of processed food. Once your total cash back amount reaches $20 you can request a check.
Ibotta is similar to Checkout 51; however, the items they list vary by store and don’t seem to change on a set schedule. Lately I have found that Ibotta has had quite a few offers for produce and things like “bread” or “yogurt” that aren’t tied to one specific brand. For me this helps out a lot since we are pretty picky about the brands we buy. The one thing about Ibotta is you have to “unlock” the rebates by watching short videos or answering a question. It isn’t hard, but it is slightly more time consuming than Checkout 51. Additionally, you have to scan the items you buy before you submit your receipt, again, not hard but more time consuming. With Ibotta you can get your money back after you have earned a minimum of $10 cash back. You can request to receive your money via PayPal or in the form of a gift card from various retailers.
This week I started using a third app with digital coupons that I think I am really going to like. Our local grocery store, HEB, is a large grocery store chain in Texas. They have never had a loyalty card, but they recently launched an app with digital coupons. I like that all you have to do is select the coupons you want ahead of time and then put in your phone number when you check out.The coupons are then subtracted from your total bill at the time of purchase. It is much simpler than Checkout 51 and Ibotta since there are no receipts to submit or earnings to request. The drawback is that it is store specific; however, I would imagine a lot of grocery stores are starting to move toward digital coupons.
Overall, digital coupons and cash back offers probably only save me a dollar or two a week (although maybe more now with the new HEB app), but as I always say, every little bit counts. It does require a small amount of work (like maybe 10 minutes total), but I think it is worth it.