MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Many apps we can download on our phones promise to save us money or earn rewards. From scanning a barcode to taking a survey, there are hundreds of programs you can choose from.
One blogger tried dozens of them and narrowed it down to the top five free apps she’s cashed in on.
“All of my family will come to me and say, ‘I’m going to be buying this, how can I save money?'” blogger Sarah Carlson said.
She’s come a long way from clipping coupons for her mom every Sunday — now, Carlson shares her savings secrets on realhousewivesofmn.com. She regularly blogs about the apps she’s tried.
“There are a lot of apps out there right now where you can either save money or make money too,” she said.
And she had no trouble coming up with her top five.
“I think my top money saving app is Shopkick,” she said.
Shopkick offers rewards for shopping online or for walking in to stores. Scan bar codes on products for more kicks or points. Then, redeem them for gift cards or merchandise from Target to Best Buy to Starbucks.
“It’s really easy and that’s why I like it so much.”
Shop Savvy made the second pick on her list. Scan the bar code and the app searches stores to find the best price. Most will price match if you find a better deal.
Carlson usually uses it any time she’s about to spend more than 20 dollars for an item. She saved 50 dollars on a TV the last time she used it.
“You’re still walking out of the same store with the same item with 50 more dollars in your pocket. Why not?” she said.
Don’t bother leaving your home to be able to use the third on her list — PocketFlip is survey-based.
“You go through the surveys and earn points, and once you earn enough points you can cash out for gift cards,” Carlson said.
Each survey is under five minutes. They’re usually based on beauty and home products commonly used.
“These apps are a little bit different in that you make the purchase first and then you upload the receipt afterwards,” Carlson said.
Ibotta pays you cash back on many items, mostly groceries. You cash out once you reach the $20 mark either through PayPal or a gift card.
“Another great app is Gift Card Granny,” Carlson said. “Basically, it’s an app that shows you things that are for sale for less than their value.”
It’s that simple — shop for gift cards less than their value. We saw 21 percent savings for Fandango gift cards for movie ticket savings and 14 percent on Starbucks cards.
Feeling overwhelmed? Carlson suggests just picking a couple of apps and you’ll save something.
“Use the ones that work for you,” she said. “That’s better than saving nothing.”
Another app you might like is called Qapital. Everytime you use a credit card it rounds up to the nearest dollar, and that money goes straight into a savings account.