If you see me out shopping in town at our local chain stores, my head is probably buried in my phone. It's not that I'm checking messages or Facebook – it's usually because I'm looking at some of the apps that give you money by shopping for specific items. The best cash back apps can be an easy and great way to save money on things that you are already planning to purchase, but you do need to do a little upfront work. Start out by downloading these cash back apps and setting up an account at each one. Then, go through each one before heading out on your next shopping trip, so that you know what to purchase. Remember that it's not a good deal unless it's something you will use, so be sure that you are only buying things you need (or will need soon). Also, these cash back apps often require that you upload a receipt, or purchase through a link, so know those things in advance. For instance, ibotta won't accept a receipt printed on regular sized paper, so make sure you get a printed receipt and not an eReceipt.
Here are the best cash back apps, in our opinion. Did we miss your favorite? Leave a comment.
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The Best Cash Back Apps
Ibotta works with a variety of grocery stores, drugstores, and big box stores. You can select the cash back offers that you want, and add them to your list. In some cases, you'll need to watch a quick ad or answer a question before getting access to the offer. Then, once you shop, you need to snap a photo of your receipt. The cash back is added to your account quickly. There are also some fun challenges when you build a team. It's easy to build a team, just connect the app to Facebook and your Facebook friends can be part of your team.
I've used Ebates for a while and have gotten so many rebates. This app is a bit different in that you have to shop through the link on Ebates. They occasionally offer coupon codes as well. Ebates can be used on both your mobile device and your computer. Unlike the other apps, you can usually get cash back on anything you purchase through the link, not just certain items.
If you frequently shop at CVS, you'll want to make sure you have the CVS app installed. You can add any of the current CVS coupons to your app, and also earn Extra Bucks for specific purchases.
With Dosh, you earn cash back by adding your credit cards to your account. You'll get cash back automatically when shopping at select locations. In my community, there are several restaurants as well as some chain stores (like Cost Plus World Market). Adding the cards is pretty easy – you can even take a photo of the card to capture the information.
Checkout 51 is similar to ibotta. Log into the app and find the items that you want to purchase from the shops you visit. Once you make your purchase, snap a photo of the receipt to submit it.
Receipt Hog currently has a waitlist, so it's a good idea to download the app and add your name to the list. I am still on the waitlist, so I don't have any personal experience with using it.
The Target app now contains the deals that used to be available through Cartwheel. This isn't a cash back app, however, instead it works like a traditional coupon. You can scan the items you purchase to see if there is a current coupon available.
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