8 Best Money Saving (and money making!) Apps

I recently told you how we save well over $250 a year by switching to Ting for our cellphone provider and as a result felt like we could finally justify getting me a smartphone.  Well, I’ve been very happy to discover how that little phone can also save me a bundle of money.  In fact, some months the amount that I’ve saved and earned has been enough to cover the cost of our inexpensive cell phone bill!  And I find that pretty exciting!

Here are my top 8 money saving (and in some cases money making) apps.

(Tip: In order to save on data cost and usage, use your own wireless network or tap into free networks whenever possible.)

1.  Ibotta
This is an easy way to save on items you already plan to purchase at grocery stores and places like Walmart and Target.  Ibotta’s offers change frequently but recently there have been several offers where you can save on any brand of milk or laundry detergent.  Who can’t use that? They also started offering earnings for restaurants and Lowe’s and Home depot too!

How does Ibotta work?  Before you shop, go to the Ibotta app and choose the offers you want to buy and earn cash for.  Then when you get home simply verify your purchases by scanning the item’s bar code and taking a picture of your receipt.  Submit them and wait for the money to be deposited into your account.

2. Swagucks TV Mobile
You will first need to sign up for a Swagbucks account if you don’t have one.  Once you are signed up you can download the Swagbucks TV mobile app and then earn up to 50 Swagbucks a day by simply playing videos on your phone.  The videos play continuously, although occasionally there may be an ad that pops up that you have to exit out of.  It’s a pretty painless way to help those Swagbucks add up faster.  Since I’ve started using the Swagbucks mobile app I’ve been able to earn enough Swagbucks to cash out for a $5 Amazon gift card almost every week!

Want to know other ways to earn with Swagbucks?  Check out my 9 Tips for Earning More with Swagbucks.

3.  Target Cartwheel
With Cartwheel you can save up to 30% on items that you purchase at Target.  This includes grocery, household, clothing, health and beauty, baby items, office supplies and well, pretty much any category of items that Target sells!  The great thing is that it works on top of coupons, sales and your Target REDcard savings allowing you to combine these things and really maximize your savings.  I’ve been really loving this app!

4.  Amazon Kindle
While I would be thrilled to own a Kindle, so far I haven’t felt like I can justify the expense.  But I really enjoy using the Kindle app on my smartphone.  The great thing is, there are hundreds of books that you can download for free!  And often even top sellers will have promotional periods where they are offered for free or for $0.99, meaning you really don’t have to spend much if anything to enjoy some good reads.

5.  Shopkick
One of the most used shopping apps available, Shopkick rewards you for simply walking into your favorite stores and opening the app- you don’t even need to buy anything!  You can also scan specific items at some stores for more “kicks”.   Once you earn enough “kicks” you can redeem them for gift cards.  Shopkick works at places like Target, Toys R Us, Old Navy, Best Buy, JCPenney, Macy’s and lots more!

6.  ShopSavvy
Use this app to scan the bar code of any item and find the lowest price at other local stores and also online.

7.  Gas Buddy
Make sure you are getting the lowest price on gas by using this app to check the current price at gas stations near you.

8.  Target Mobile Coupons
While not exactly an app, it’s a great way to use your phone to save some money.  Sign up for Target mobile coupons by texting OFFERS to 827438.  Your coupons will arrive via text and you will receive up to 5 messages a month.  These mobile coupons can also be combined with paper manufacturer coupons, again allowing you to maximize savings!

Lately they have had coupons for $1 off fresh fruit, $1 off fresh vegetables and $1 off any frozen item.  If you use these coupons on items that cost just over $1 you can get a real bargain!

9.  Saving Star eCoupons
And here’s a bonus one!  I love Saving Star and have accessed it for a long time via my computer.  But when a reader mentioned how much she loves the app I thought I should add it here too in case you can only access the internet from your smartphone.

Saving Star is an eCoupon website.  Basically you link up your grocery and drugstore loyalty cards, then click on the eCoupons that you want to add to them.  Whenever you shop in the store, any eCoupons that you added to your card will automatically be flagged and the savings will be added to your account.  Once you get $5 in your account, you can cash it out via Paypal or for an Amazon gift card. If you don’t use the coupon before it expires, you’ve lost nothing.  The great thing about Saving Star eCoupons is that they can be used in addition to both store AND manufacturer coupons.  So essentially you can save 3 different ways on one product, which is rather awesome!

Checkout 51 Offers

10.  Checkout 51 
Okay, here’s another bonus one.  I learned about this one several months after writing this post and it’s just too good not to add! You can actually use Checkout 51 from your computer but they also have an app which in my opinion, is a bit easier to use.

Basically, Checkout 51 is a lot like Ibotta in that you choose the offers that you want to buy and then you earn cash for purchasing them.  In order to earn the cash you must take a picture of your receipt before the expiration date.  Checkout 51 offers change every Thursday.

The really awesome thing about Checkout 51 is that you can purchase the offers at any store that carries the product.  They’ve had various offers for $0.50 off milk or $0.50 off eggs and you can purchase those things at discount stores like Aldi or Save-A-Lot and it will qualify!

Want to know more?  Read my post explaining Checkout 51 more thoroughly.

What are your favorite money saving apps?  How do you use your smartphone to save?

Check out Parents.com’s mobile apps and tablet editions.  

Setting Limits on Technology
Setting Limits on Technology
Setting Limits on Technology

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