More Bang for Your Buck

Previously, I posted about my favorite budgeting software – YNAB. While YNAB keeps my budget in order, I use coupons, and a few apps to get a little more for my money, and keep my budget on track. There’s a lot of coupon apps out there. There’s a lot of cash back apps out there, too. More importantly there is a lot of time-wasting apps that don’t work. I follow quite a few finance/coupon/budgeting blogs, and have tried quite a few apps. These are my favorites!

First up is Ebates – this is both a website and an app. You may have seen commercials on TV recently, or you may have never heard of it. You can get cash back at some of your favorite stores for online purchases – and it works! I’ve been using Ebates for about 2 years, I’ve gotten $140 back on purchases I would have made regardless. (This is in addition to any cash back you get as part of credit/debit card reward program). Basically, stores pay Ebates a commission for sending shoppers their way (via the internet), and they give it back to you.

So how does it work? When you’re ready to do some online shopping, all you do is go to, search for the store you want to shop at, click the link and the store will open in a new window. Ebates tells you to allow so many days, but over the last year, I’ve been seeing my cash back within 48 hours. Every quarter, cash is sent back to you via paypal. Sometimes they have the option for an amazon gift card also.

New users receive a $10 gift card when they make their first $25 purchase, so sign up today, and starting getting a little more back for your money.

Shopkick is a phone app that rewards you for simply going into the store. You receive points every time you walk into a participating store. You can also receive extra points for “scanning” items. I’ll be honest, I never scan. You can use your points for gift cards. So far I have used Shopkick to redeem $40+ in gift cards. My favorite store to get points at and gift cards is at is Target.

Generally speaking you get 35+ points for entering a store, that’s not including bonus days of 150-200+ points (or scanning bonus).  I hit up target multiple times a week. Literally all you have to do is pull up the app when you walk into the store. This is convenient for me since I’m already pulling up my phone for cartwheel and target mobile coupons (I’ll post about these later). Click here, and give it a try.

Last but not least are two coupon apps Ibotta and Checkout 51. Both apps offer cash back on purchases you make. Both require you to scan your receipt, and may also require you to scan your product. Ibotta focuses mainly on grocery items but also includes specials at different stores. Additionally if you sign up using Facebook, and have any friends using the app you get more cash back for the activity of your team members (no referrals necessary, its automatic). You can cash out at $10. Checkout 51 features fewer products but changes them weekly. You can cash out at $20. I’ll be honest, I don’t use these apps as much as I should. I forget they are there. I remember if prompted by a coupon blog/site (stay tuned for that post). 


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