Thursday, March 09, 2017

Do savings apps and social media pages actually save you money?

Today marks one year trying to see how much money I can save by using my smartphone and social media.

Here's my findings:

None of the following rebates or savings disqualify you from rewards or using other rebate apps/methods or couponing. One app (described below) will occasionally mention that the item cannot be discounted by a coupon printed outside of the store.


IBotta is well worth the effort. As of last night, I had accumulated $531.38 in direct deposits to my PayPal account since March 9, 2016. 

It requires some effort, BUT out of all the apps or other methods I used it has the most healthy options and the most ways to save. I also like that I can use it like a shopping list and verify each purchase with a barcode right in the store while I'm shopping. 

Ibotta offers rebates on healthy (and occasional treat) items that I buy regularly. If these items are also on sale in the Walmart Savings Catcher app, the items can be free or a money maker. I usually make money on the healthy item of the week, especially carrots, cucumber, sweet potato, or banana. 

On the week these items are on sale/rebate - I get one item - to make it a part of a meal or as an ingredient in a dish. Usually the "Healthy Item Of The Week" is just 25¢ but a nice size carrot or a banana isn't even ¼ pound in weight - yield a savings/ money maker even at 25¢. A few times, my other savings apps have yielded the same healthy item of the week - doubling my savings.

At some stores you can link your rewards/bonus cards and savings that you've reviewed and checked in the ibotta app and they are automatically added to your rebate total. Others stores you have to take a full picture of your receipt. Stores that have a QR code (Walmart /Target) at the bottom of the receipt - all you have to do is aim your phone camera at the general direction of the code and it uploads your info. With QR code uploads on ibotta, your rebate is near instantaneous, while linked reward cards can take up to 2 days to appear.

You can "get your money on ibotta" once you've reached $20. You can get the money by PayPal or by popular store gift card via an eCard mailed to your email address. I have always chosen direct to deposit to my PayPal account.

I typically save $10 a week with ibotta

Walmart App:

You have to have the entire Walmart app to use a portion called "savings catcher". With Savings Catcher, you upload your receipt via a quick snap of your QR code at the bottom of the receipt and within 7 days, you receive what their app "finds" in price differences at other stores. 

Note some caveats about this.  The money saved can only be spent at Walmart via gift card or by loading a free American Express you are mailed (if you choose that option)

Also, DO NOT SHOP and plan to use Savings Catcher on a Friday or Saturday. Your app searches over the next three days and sales typically go off over these days so your savings will be less because the app "cleverly checks" stores as their sales expire. 

My typical Savings Catcher savings on a $100 grocery bill is about $2.50 - $4.00. Within the year, I have spent $150 on a grocery trip at Walmart and my savings total was $6.38.

Note that the credit card or the E-gift card you receive your rebates on qualifies you for the 3¢ per gallon discounted gas at Walmart gas stations.

I save about $1.50 a week with savings Catcher but I also do not exclusively grocery shop at Walmart.

MobiSave: no longer available / now Fetch rewards

Although most of the rebates on this app are smaller (10¢ each) ... I like this app the most. Each week, items you'd buy anyway are listed in the rebates section. You check the deals BEFORE you enter the store and upload your receipt with 24 hours via the app. Since MobiSave is a a partner with PayPal, funds, no matter what the amount are automatically added to your PayPal account. Since I use a PayPal card for ALL of my purchases (and get 1.0% back) this is a nice extra bonus. I usually save about $1 a week with this app - which amounts to an additional 1.5% of my grocery bill.

Recently, I purchased some protein enhanced, gluten free spinach and cheese tortellini pasta through this app  and got $1 back + ibotta had a dollar back on the same. The pasta, which creates several meals (even standalone) was at Walmart for $2.48. The Walmart Savings Catcher found it on sale for $1.79 at Publix. The item was a money maker.

I save about $1 a week with MobiSave.


I like this the least of the apps I use regularly because the savings are typically structured like:

Buy $25 in Sargento cheese get $5. You typically have 30 days to build up your money. I'm just not a fan of things that aren't instant. LoL

This app does occasionally have great discounts that can be stacked with store promotions such as Lay's Potato chips, pilsbury products, and Progresso soup. 

The cash out threshold is only $5. 

I typically save about $2 a week with this app

Checkout 51:

This app features 51 items a week to receive discounts/rebates on.

This week I got $1.50 back on Del Monte fruit cups that my daughter eats every morning for breakfast.

This app had Nutella over the summer for $4 back and Walmart had it on sale for $3.88. (I later found out that Nutella sales had dropped because they were purchased by Ferraro who immediately put artificial ingredients in it to bring down costs)

This app has great deals but the cash out is horrible. After building up $20 or more, you get a check mailed to you. I "ordered" a check for $21.75 two weeks ago and got it in the mail yesterday.

I have cashed out $108.75 in a year's time with this app.

This app occasionally will mention that you cannot use other physical coupons to get the rebate.

The only other caveat about this app - it is run directly by a marketing company and your receipt is sold to third parties (without your personally identifying information attached) - this bothers me a bit.

This brings me to coupons dot com. 

Absolutely do NOT use this app, the website, or anyone that partners with them to print coupons.

This MARKETING COMPANY actually steals your personal identification information and sells it. 

I did an experiment with coupons dot com. I noticed that I was getting telemarketing calls to my cellphone in the following days after using coupons dot com each time I used it. So, I hooked a house phone up to my DSL line and put that number as "my verification phone #" to receive my coupons. Sure enough, the next day my phone rang - a telemarketing call about cruises, then another about listing my business with google. This would be okay with me if I knew they were doing this BUT, the fine print under the box you enter your phone number says (quoted) "We will not use your number for any other purpose and will not sell your number to a third party."

Using coupons dot com will also affect the coupons (that may be better) that will print for you at the register of some stores.

Using this method of couponing is very, very tempting, but trust me, it's too risky.

I had to stop following the Facebook page Krazy Coupon Lady after she personally responded on one of my posts about using airline credit cards to get discounts on airfare. She was lying in her post (that was sponsored by Southwest may I add) and I caught her. She insisted in several posts she was correct. I copied and pasted from the southwest website and she still denied me and said I was wrong. So, I called southwest, recorded the phone call, used the customer service call to transcribe a message on my iPhone and copied and pasted the phone conversation to the thread. She STILL said I was wrong and that if you signed up (using her link) you would get 2 free airline tickets to anywhere in the country for free. Anyway.  Caveat Emptor - don't believe everything you read on Facebook or the internet or anywhere.


For my online shopping, I run everything through my MyPoints account. This portal gives you between 2% and 15% back on most every purchase from most every website.

I often go through MyPoints to go to RAISE dot com where I buy discounted gift cards. MyPoints gives you an additional 2% back on gift cards purchased there. I go to RAISE to get Walmart and Lowes eGift cards that I can use immediately after purchase. I get 1.5% back using my rewards MasterCard. Sometimes I can order online, using my discounted eGift card, going back through MyPoints and save again.

Last year I cashed out $250 in gift cards on MyPoints - paying for about half of my Christmas gifts.

This may shock you, but in all, I have received $27,000+ in total benefits MYPOINTS in the 15 years I've been a member.

If you are popular on social media or have a big friend circle, most all of these methods offer referral bonuses. You could get $100 or so by the end of the month like I did when I first signed up for these apps/website portals.

If you have any questions about couponing or discount apps, I'll try to answer them or get you the answers.

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