We typically give more thought and budget care to large purchases, like a fridge or a couch, but when it comes to everyday items, it’s based on convenience or whatever’s available.
But it’s the small recurring expenses that add up the most because we don’t give it a second thought. The weekly grocery trip, the iced coffee, the Uber rides here and there, the food delivery.
So how to shop smarter? Especially for life’s necessities (and sometimes vices). We list our favorite apps below on how to automatically get cash back so it’s even easier to save. You’ve got enough to worry about in life, but if you implement these apps into your routine, it’s free money you didn’t know you had.
1. Grocery Receipts = Free Money
- Scans any grocery store receipt (includes warehouse & convenience stores)
- Earn points for free gift cards to Amazon, Visa, and more
- No need to scan barcodes, add offers, or clip coupons
- Unlimited referral bonuses
- No minimum spend to earn points
- Limit of 14 receipt scans per week
- Receipts expire 2 weeks after the purchase date
Before you crumple up that receipt in your pocket or forever lose it in the abyss of your purse, scan it into the Fetch Rewards app on iOS or Android, and earn points towards free money. I repeat, free money.
It’s ridiculously simple and actually fun to use.
Shop at any grocery store, convenience store, club store, neighborhood store, or big box store, take a picture with the app, and that’s it. (Favorites include Target, Kroger, and Walmart!)
Unlike other apps, you don’t have to go to specific stores, there’s nothing to pre-select prior to shopping, and there’s no minimum spend. Just scan in any receipt (iOS or Android) from a store that sells groceries (even when you didn’t actually buy any groceries) and boom, points for money.
You can start cashing out as soon as $3 (3,000 points) and you can grab a $2 welcome bonus on us (2,000 points) when you use promo code REWARD before scanning your first receipt!
2. You Gotta Eat – Get Up to $240 Cash Back/Year in Grocery Purchases
- Cash back at over 500,000 locations (in-store and online)
- Lots of bonus opportunities
- Easy to upload receipts for cash back
- Can be used with other cash back apps
- Payout options include PayPal, Venmo, or gift cards
- Must add offers in-app before uploading a receipt
Did you know that it’s 325% more expensive to eat out versus eating at home*? Maybe it’s time to make more trips to the grocery store instead.
And it’ll feel like you’re getting paid just for shopping!
Here’s how it works:
Before you go to the store, search for your shopping list items in the Ibotta app. After your store visit, take a photo of your receipt to get cash back.
Ibotta is free to download on and you’ll also get up to $20 in Welcome Bonuses when you sign up!
Some offers we found:
- 25 cents back on any item
- $3 – $5 back on various wine
- $2 back on KIND Protein Bars
- 25 cents – $4 back on ice cream
- $2 back on Herbal Essence Haircare
Popular stores are Walmart and Target, but Ibotta also works at restaurants, online shopping sites, and at the bar! On average, active Ibotta users save up to $240 a year or more. What would you do with that extra money?
3. Up To 40% Cash Back on Shopping Automatically – Plus a Free $10
- Coupons and cash back at over 2,500 stores online and in-store
- No points, just earn cash
- Unlimited referral bonuses
- Over 21 years in business and more than 10 million members
- Payment is sent every 3 months
- Cashout minimum must be $5 or more otherwise it gets rolled into next payment date
Sometimes making money online lies in our everyday purchases.
Rakuten, previously called Ebates, (iOS or Android) can help you get cash back on everyday shopping as well as apparel, beauty, and more, automatically. With Rakuten, you don’t even have to upload your receipts after your purchases. They’ll send you simple push notifications when your favorite stores increase their cash back deals or have a good sale.
Offering simple one-tap savings with no points or fees helps ensure that you get the most out of your purchases. So, before buying anything, hop into the iOS or Android app to see if you can get up to 40% cash back at over 2,500 stores.
They also have an amazing referral program where you can earn $25 for each eligible friend. New members get a $10 bonus too!
4. Buy Stuff Normally = Get Gift Cards You Actually Want
- Link debit or credit card(s) to earn points on purchases
- Large variety of offers
- Quick surveys give bonus points
- Unlimited referral bonuses
- Must remember to add offer before you can get cash back on it
If you have room for 1 more app on your phone, then it needs to be this.
Actually, delete another app to make room for this one. It’s that good.
Your everyday purchases from Amazon, Trader Joe’s, and Walmart? You’ll get points for that. Points translate to gift cards so the more you collect, the more you can redeem!
The only thing you need to do is link any credit or debit card you usually use for buying stuff and that’s it! Drop (iOS or Android) will automatically recognize when you buy from your activated offers to reward.
LIMITED TIME OFFER: Use promo code SMARTWALLET to unlock 5,000 points ($5) automatically when you link your first card on Drop!
5. While You’re Doing Errands, Just Leave This App On & Get Paid
- A very passive way to earn points for cash just by enabling location services
- Can participate in surveys for more points
- Can redeem for gift cards, merchandise or sweepstakes entries
- No ads to watch or offers to complete
- Some may not like enabling location services
- Sometimes can drain the battery faster
Because it gives you points on location, go ahead and enable location services. Then just turn the app on before you go about your day and head to school, work, gym, walk your dog, wherever.
After testing it we think it’s a great (lazy) app that rewards you for doing almost nothing. If you’re still skeptical, know this:
- You don’t have to complete offers
- You don’t have to watch ads
- You don’t have to buy anything
- You don’t have to do anything but leave the app running (iOS or Android)
We snagged a $5 Amazon gift card via email after leaving the app on and forgetting about it. You can also choose VISA gift cards, MasterCard gift cards or sweepstakes entries.
Overall, a solid choice for earning a bit of money for literally just leaving the app running on your phone!
TIP: When you’re a new member, it’ll ask you if you want to keep the app running in the background. Just tap “Yes” to continue getting paid!
*Paribus compensates us when you sign up for Paribus using the links we provided.