Most of us love to shop online… Some of us love it a little too much. And even if you prefer shopping in-store, there’s no denying the convenience (and oftentimes, the necessity) of being able to order some paper towels or new shoes one night and find them on your doorstep the very next day. These days, our shopping apps make it all too easy.
But guess what? There are some shopping apps that won’t cost you a dime — in fact, they exist to help you save. With the right app, you can fulfill your shopping dreams, while gaining some serious benefits, like cashback offers, discounts on frequently-bought items, or coupons for things you’ve never tried. Before the next time you click “add to cart,” check out our list of the most popular money-saving apps for online shoppers. Then let us know which one (or more!) works best for you.
Formerly known as Ebates, Rakuten allows you to earn cash back for shopping both online and in brick-and-mortar shops. You can use the mobile app, website, or the browser extension — as long as you’re signed in, whenever you shop with a participating merchant, you stand to earn cash back. If you’re shopping in-store, check out Rakuten’s site for deals beforehand and add them to your credit card on file. (Then you must use that card for purchases in order to get the rewards.)
Rakuten offers anywhere from 1% to 10% cashback on your total purchase (excluding tax and shipping). Payments are issued every three months, and you can opt to receive a paper check, or they’ll deposit the funds into your PayPal account. You’ll need to have earned at least $5 for a payout. If you make any returns, Rakuten will be on top of that, too, and you’ll see it deducted from your cash back balance. (Writer’s note: I’ve been a member since November 2019 and have earned $360 so far. Not too shabby.)
Upromise is a great way to save for your kids’ college. It works in much the same way as Rakuten, by offering cash back on purchases on selected retailers, grocery, and dining options, only you can have your earnings deposited into a dedicated account for your child’s future. (They also have an app and browser extension, in addition to the site) Upromise automatically deposits your cash rewards into your linked account, whether it’s a 529 college saving account, a checking, or savings account. You’ll need to meet the minimum threshold of $10 for a deposit into checking or savings and $50 for the 529. (Writer’s note: I joined in 2008 and earned over $1,200 through 2019. It takes between 60 – 75 days for the rewards to clear, and then they’ll make the deposit during the first week of the month.)
If you’re looking for automatic discounts and cash back opportunities, Retail Me Not has you covered. The Retail Me Not browser extension will offer to check all available promotions for the items in your cart, and then apply those discounts for you at checkout. (Essentially, it saves you the extra step of Googling, and TBH, I trust their algorithm a lot more than I trust my ability to find the latest and greatest code.) With the browser extension, not only are you getting the lowest price, but you can also get cash back. Upload receipts for purchases from brick-and-mortar stores for the cash back, depending on where you shop. They also have a $5 minimum for payout, and it takes about 45 days for your rewards to be approved — then you can cash out via PayPal or Venmo. They’ll keep you posted on the process with email updates.
Owned by Paypal, Honey is very similar to Retail Me Not. It searches for available coupons all across the web for items in your cart to ensure you’re getting the best price, and it offers cash back in the form of “Honey Gold.” You can go on their site to search for offers, or shop using their browser extension or app. They seem to have higher cash back rewards than Retail Me Not — 1,000 Gold points equates to a $10 reward for you, which can be redeemed in three ways: cash back, a Paypal shopping credit, or a gift card. They also offer a feature called “Droplist” which allows you to make a list and track the prices of items you’re not quite ready to buy, so you can make sure you’re snagging them at their lowest price. Don’t feel like making a list? Guess what, they’re watching. Your most frequently viewed items will automatically be turned into a list. Maybe a little creepy, sure, but if it saves you a buck, why not? (It’s not like we didn’t already know our every click was being tracked.)
If you’re more concerned with getting the best prices on Amazon (and only on Amazon) and cash back isn’t really your jam, then check out Camelcamelcamel. Their website tracks the Amazon products with the largest daily price drops, and also notifies you when popular products have experienced price drops. The site can feel a little random (because it’s literally tracking every single thing that’s gone down in price) but if you can have a little patience when sifting through, the range of products offered is pretty impressive. The company offers a mobile app, and their browser extension, “The Camelizer,” allows you to track a product’s price history on Amazon and create a watchlist for products.
Ibotta offers a multitude of ways to save — so many that it can feel a little overwhelming. Here’s the deal: You can shop online, in- store, or via food delivery services. Shop anywhere you regularly shop, and if that retailer is an Ibotta partner, you stand to save. For brick-and-mortar purchases, you’ll need to upload your receipt. (They offer a desktop experience, browser extension and an app) And once you’ve reached $20 in earnings, you can cash out by transferring the money to your bank via PayPal. You can also use your cash to redeem gift cards from retailers like Amazon, Starbucks, Sephora, Walmart, or Target. (Note: They also have rebates for travel, some of which look pretty good if you’re a frequent jet-setter.)
Before You Download Every Single One Of These…
Unfortunately, you can’t use multiple apps on one purchase, but you can check to see which company is offering a higher cashback or discount. Not every app has discounts from the same retailer, so if you can’t find cash back or a discount on one of them, simply switch over and try another. (Ladies who switch back and forth from Uber to Lyft to save .25, we see you. And we love you.)
Also noteworthy: You can’t always use a retailer’s promo and the cash back feature at the same time. For example, I tried to use a birthday promo on Dermalogica with Rakuten and it wouldn’t work. Or in some cases, if you use the app, it may charge you a slightly higher price. I’ve had this happen while using both Rakuten and Upromise. I always like to see the cost before activating cash back and after. Savvy shoppers track those prices till the very end!
More from HerMoney:
- Inflation and the New Way to Buy Groceries to Save Money in 2022
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