Using Clipped Coupons with a Rebate App to Stretch Your Budget

After posting a current Savingstar offer on our Facebook page for a free Hershey’s candy bar, our email was flooded with questions from customers who had never used one of the relatively new money-saving rebate back apps. We thought we’d take this opportunity to give an overview of four of the most popular apps and to show you how you can stretch your grocery budget even more when you combine the rebate savings along with  manufacturer clipped coupons.

Our overview covers Ibotta, Checkout 51, Savingstar and Snap by Groupon. All four of these Apps work in a similar manner, although there are some notable differences.  They are essentially “paperless” ways of saving with offers at stores where you shop every day. In a nutshell, they allow you to browse offers, add them to your shopping list, and then take a photo of your receipt once you purchase the product to earn cash back on certain items without clipping coupons. 

One key benefit of these apps is that they offer savings not generally available from using traditional clipped coupons, especially in the meat and produce departments. The apps offer savings on national brand food products, but they also offer savings on other items, including household products, motor oil, and much more.

The best news is that you can use coupons in addition to claiming these offers (known as a “double play” in the couponing world), although Savingstar frowns upon it and claims they may be preventing this practice in the future.  When combining printable coupons or clipped coupons along with the rebates, you often can even get products for free or even make money on the product!  Sometimes several of the apps may have offers on the same product, so you can submit the same receipt to both sites for extra savings!

Be sure to check out the summary chart appearing at the end of this article to compare the four services and decide which ones are right for you.

ibottaIbotta

Ibotta is an app for smartphones (Android and iPhone) that contains many different money saving offers for popular products. Unlike the other services we are reviewing, to use Ibotta, you must use the smartphone app to scan your receipts. 

I’ve been using Ibotta for several years now and have saved literally hundreds of dollars on products my family uses every day.  To redeem an offer, you must unlock the rebate before shopping by answering a short poll, trivia, or watching a video. Once you have purchased the product, you simply take a picture of your receipt showing your purchase of the item via the Ibotta app (and sometimes you must also take a picture product’s bar code). The Ibotta app notifies me when I pull into a specific store, allowing me to quickly check offers before I shop to see if any need to be activated.

Ibotta only allows you to upload receipts from specific stores that they partner with, but the list is vast and includes most of the major grocery, pharmacy and big box stores.  For a list of stores currently participating in the Ibotta program, refer to this page.

You can also link your store loyalty card from some of their preferred partners such as Rite Aid, Giant Eagle, Lowe’s Foods, and many others.  Then you unlock the rebates, and use your loyalty card when you shop to earn the rebate instantly without the need to upload your receipt.

You can redeem a manufacturer clipped coupon along with an Ibotta offer.  A current Ibotta offer available at the time of this writing is for $3.00 on Seventh Generation Energy Smart Liquid Laundry Detergent.  A current coupon available for $2.00  on any Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent increases your savings to a whopping $5.00!

Once you’ve redeemed offers totaling $5 or more, Ibotta lets you transfer your earnings directly to your PayPal account.  You can sign up for Ibotta HERE.

 savingstar

Savingstar

Savingstar works very much like Ibotta.  Offers are available only from select retailers.  You upload your grocery store receipt after purchasing the product, and they also partner with specific retailers that allow you to link to store loyalty cards.  The also offer a Savingstar American Express card that allows you to earn up to an additional 10% on purchase.

We love that Savingstar also offers 100% cash back “surprise” freebies during the month, like the free Hershey’s candy bar we posted about earlier.

While Savingstar offers may be “stacked” with manufacturer clipped coupons for a double play, the company states that they are not intended to be used this way.  Their website states: “In the future, we may implement mechanisms to limit the combination of SavingStar offers with other manufacturers’ coupons.” As always, we here at The Coupon CarryOut recommend the proper and ethical use of coupons and do not suggest that you stack your manucturer coupons with Savingstar offers.

Savingstar also has various “One or Many offers” that allow you to save by buying multiple products.  For example, a current One or Many offer on Savingstar is for a $4.00 rebate when you spend $16.00 on any St. Ives products.  You may purchase the products in one trip or many at any store where you have a card registered with SavingStar or one of their Receipt Scan Stores. One or Many offers may be calculated after all store discounts, sales and coupons have been applied.

You can sign up for Savingstar HERE.

 

snap

 

Snap by Groupon

Snap by Groupon is another app that gives you cash back on everyday grocery purchases. Buy promoted products at any store and snap a photo of your receipt to get cash in your account. Once you earn $20 in cash back, you can request to be paid and they will issue you a check.

Unlike Ibotta and Savingstar, Snap offers can be redeemed at any store, and you may be able to redeem multiple offers.  We love that we find many offers for natural and organic products.

Note that receipts must be uploaded within 2 days of purchase.  Some offers are limited in quantity or are available for only a specific period of time. Adding an offer to your list does not prevent the offer from selling out or expiring before you have the chance to redeem it.

Snap by Groupon offers may also be stacked with printable coupons or manufacturer clipped coupons for extra savings.  A current Snap offer for $.50 on a bottle of Pom Pomegranate Juice, when combined with the $.50 manufacturer coupon that is currently available, increases your savings on one bottle to $1.00.

You can sign up for Snap by Groupon HERE.

 checkout51

Checkout 51

Products for Checkout 51 offers may be purchased at any store, unless otherwise stated. Every Thursday morning, Checkout 51 updates with a new list of offers. All you have to do is pick the offers you like, purchase the products at any store, and upload a photo of your receipt through their mobile app or website. Items purchased from on-line retailers are also eligible! When your account reaches $20, they send you a check.

With Checkout 51, you can earn cash back in combination with any other clipped coupon or discount unless otherwise stated. A current Checkout 51 offer available at the time of this writing is to save $1.00 Kikkoman Takuma sauces.  Combine that with the manufacturer coupon available to save $1.00 on one bottle of the sauce for a total savings of $2.00 on one bottle.  As you can see, if you are able to stack the rebate with a clipped coupon, you can achieve some tremendous savings!

You can sign up for Checkout 51 HERE.

 

Ibotta Checkout 51 Snap by Groupon Savingstar
Smart phone required? Yes No No No
Pays when balance reaches: $5 $20 $20 $5
Payment made via: Paypal, or donation to school or United Way Check Check Check, bank deposit, Upromise account or charity
Purchases must be made at: Ibotta partner stores ANY store ANY store Savingstar partner stores
New offers available: Usually daily Thursdays at 12:00 a.m. Varies First of the month and on Thursdays
Offers expire when: Stated expiration date The following Wednesday at 11:59 p.m. Offer sells out or upon expiration, whichever comes first Stated expiration date
Redeem multiple offers? No Sometimes Sometimes Sometimes
Refer a Friend Reward $2 $0 $1 $0
Use clipped coupons along with App? Yes Yes Yes Technically yes, but not intended to be used this way
Are on-line merchants eligible? Yes Yes No No

 

Why throw money down the drain?  Even if you currently use printable coupons or clipped coupons, for just a little extra effort each week you can stretch your grocery budget even further by combining manufacturer coupons with offers available from a rebate savings app such as those described in this article.  If you haven’t already, we urge you to try at least one of them and watch your savings grow! They are relatively easy to use, and we predict you’ll be building up your account balances in no time flat!

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