Are you looking for an easy way to effortlessly save more each month? Discover some of the best money-saving apps to use to save more today.
We’ve all been there. You’re still a week away from your next paycheck with only a few dollars to your name and a household of mouths to feed. It can be overwhelming and scary to know your dollars need to stretch so you can put a meal on the table for your family.
When I lived paycheck to paycheck and felt short on cash, I remember challenging myself to use what I had in the freezer and pantry to bridge the gap before my next paycheck. Even today when I’m trying to stick to a certain grocery budget I find myself making a decision on whether or not I should purchase something, weighing in my head if it will fit into my monthly budget.
Beyond using what you have and trying to delay purchases, you will have to spend money at some point. I know there are so many easy ways to save using apps. Technology has made it easy to put a few dollars back into your wallet each month if you know where to look.
This list of 15 money-saving apps you should be using right now breaks down some of the easiest most user-friendly ways you can effortlessly save on purchases you were planning to make anyway.
Some of the apps below can save you money immediately, and some allow you to earn money/points over time and cash out when you meet a minimum threshold.
I’m a wife, mom, marketing manager by day, and couponing/personal finance blogger by night. I’m a frugalista who has had a cheap gene her entire life. If there is a deal I will find it. If there is a way to save money on something I will not stop until I figure out how. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than mutually sharing deals and the details of awesome cheap hauls with fellow savers… who are as equally passionate about saving as I am.
I create monthly couponing reports where I keep myself honest about where I spend the household grocery budget. I also like to share savings tips and personal finance tricks that I’ve learned along the way.
Money-saving apps are awesome!
Money-saving apps are helpful, but they can also be overwhelming. When do you use each one? Can I use more than one at the same time? How often can I use them? At what store?
Below is a list, by category, some of my favorite money-saving apps. I will preface by saying I use or have used all of these. But not all the time, and not every single day. Maybe you’re a super frugal saver who will stop and nothing to save every single penny. If that’s you, check out each one in detail. I’m sure you’re already using some of them.
If you’re someone who is just getting started in the savings game or wants to save even more, then choose one or two that speak to you and add more into your routine as you get comfortable. New apps are being created all the time, who can keep up? This list is not necessarily all-encompassing but is a good array of some of the easiest money-savers out there. Enjoy!
Tip: Try creating a folder on your phone to place all of your money-saving apps for each access. If you have many, try grouping by “type” for example “Grocery.”
Apps that help save money on groceries:
1. Cartwheel by Target
If you are a Target shopper then this one is a must! The Cartwheel app used to be standalone but can now be accessed through the Target store app itself. Cartwheel contains hundreds of deals and offers all digitally applied when shopping in the store, and scanning the app at check out.
The offers range from percentage-off on specific products to manufacturer coupons you can digitally clip. Plus if you are a red cardholder, you can get an additional 5% off on top of any great deals. If you are a Target shopper, this one is a MUST!
Percentage off offers are Target store offers and can be combined with manufacturer coupons. The manufacturer coupons you clip digitally cannot be combined with a printed coupon. So if you clip $1.00 off Cheerios digital coupon, you couldn’t also use a $1.00 off Cheerios you cut from the Sunday paper.
But if Cheerios were 40% off through Cartwheel as a Target store promotion, then you could use the $1.00 off manufacturer coupon on top it.
Also, you can use the percentage off Cartwheel offers over and over again as specified by the Terms and conditions. Also, you can use it on a maximum of 4 qualifying items per transaction which is awesome!
Let’s take an example:
Let’s say you are interested in Graham Crackers to make some s’mores this weekend.
- Graham crackers are $3.29 retail price in-store, and you plan to purchase a quantity of 2.
- You save the 40% off HoneyMaid Graham Crackers offer to your Cartwheel.
- You also have a $1.00 off 2 HoneyMaid Graham Crackers coupon you clipped from the Sunday paper.
- Manufacturer coupons come off after the Cartwheel.
- So your two boxes of crackers total $6.58 at regular price.
- Taking 40% off for Cartwheel makes them $3.95 total for two.
- Plus you get to use your $1.00 off 2 manufacturer coupon making them $2.95 total or $1.48 each before taxes.
- If you have a red card, you could take an additional 5% off making them $1.41 per box.
How to access Cartwheel:
Simply download the Target app.
Locate the “Cartwheel offers” tab on the main screen
Click on a specific category of offers you are interested in or choose “all”
I like to choose all, then sort by>discount in the upper right corner to quickly get to the best deals available.
You can see below the 50% off offers I have added to my Cartwheel, found by sorting by “discount.”
Simply hit the red + to add items to your Cartwheel.
At checkout, use your app and navigate to “Wallet” at the bottom of the app, and scan the bar code. Make sure to have the cashier scan the code at checkout on your phone, or if you are at a self-serve kiosk, scan yourself.
There is no easier way to save at Target!
2. Checkout 51
If you are familiar with Ibotta, this app is similar. Checkout 51 allows you to digitally clip deals and offers before you shop. Then upload a snapshot of your receipt after you are done shopping to earn cash back on qualifying purchases.
Every Thursday morning the app updates with new offers on specific items. So it is to your benefit to scroll through the offers often as they change. The top of the app indicates “These offers valid until 11:59 PM CDT Wednesday.”
Purchase qualifying items at the store and earn cashback by snapping a picture of your receipt with the app with qualifying products on the receipt.
If you use it regularly, it doesn’t take all that long for the cents to add up! Once your account reaches $20.00, you can request a check for your balance.
The great thing about Checkout 51 is that you don’t have to shop at a specific store to cash in on offers. Meaning, you don’t have to choose a specific store like Target, you can purchase from any grocery store you want. So it does have a little more flexibility than Ibotta.
I have used coupons.com on my desktop for years to print coupons from my home printer.
I only recently learned how awesome the coupons.com app is!
This app is awesome for printing coupons from your phone to a wireless printer. If printing coupons aren’t your jam, what’s also awesome is you can load digital coupons to your favorite store’s loyalty card. So you can add additional offers to your store’s loyalty card and take advantage of more coupons digitally!
The coupons.com app has over 35 retailers who participate. You can clip offers/coupons from each store and take advantage of savings when shopping in the store.
How do I get started?
Start by downloading the coupons.com app.
You’ll be prompted to choose a few of your favorite stores so the app can help guide you toward offers you will most likely use.
Choose the store you most regularly shop at and clip offers for stores you shop at regularly. Also, make sure to link up your store’s loyalty card.
Any coupons located under “My coupons” in specific stores are coupons that are automatically added to your store’s loyalty card.
I think it’s an awesome way for those who don’t want to physically cut coupons or who aren’t interested in purchasing the Sunday paper and whipping out those scissors and cutting. You can access manufacturer coupons and submit everything digitally and quickly get money into a PayPal account.
4. Fetch Rewards
Fetch is my new favorite. It works like most of the other grocery receipt-scanning apps but what I love about it is that you don’t have to clip offers in advance, and you can shop at any qualifying store to redeem offers.
To use Fetch simply save your grocery receipts and scan them with the app. You earn points to cash in for gift cards. It’s so easy! You can be a couponer and save money without having to clip coupons! It’s an easy app to use for anyone looking to save money, but especially awesome for savers who are a little more passive, because you scan your receipt and you’re done.
New to Fetch? Sign up and enter my referral code M2CNU and you’ll get 2,000 Fetch Points ($2.00 in points) when you complete one receipt.
Fetch is a free mobile app that gives you points for purchasing select items. Simply open the app and scan your receipt and your points are automatically calculated for you. If an offer available on Fetch appears on your receipt, you will earn cash back on it. No clipping in advance, no specific stores, it’s pretty awesome.
How to get started with Fetch:
- Download the Fetch app for free and create an account (enter my referral code M2CNU and you’ll get 2,000 Fetch Points when you complete one receipt.)
- Browse the brands and offers before shopping so you have a sense of what you can earn points on.
- Scan your receipt post-shopping trip
- Earn points when you purchase specific products. Or as you can see below you can earn on “Special offers” which may be simply uploading a receipt – any receipt!
- Cash-out when you hit a minimum of 3,000 points (equates to a $3.00 gift card)
If you want to learn more, I wrote a review out Fetch, check it out here.
Ibotta is a free mobile app that pays you cash for purchasing select items at many participating stores. You get cashback for the things you are already buying.
You need to select the specific store you are shopping at.
Once you select a store you can view hundreds of cashback opportunities available by purchasing the specific item and uploading your receipt.
Before you can “unlock” an offer and add it to your account you are typically asked to take an action. It usually just takes a second or two and may consist of watching a short commercial, answering a question or taking a survey. It doesn’t take a lot of time but know there is a barrier between you and the offer you are interested in.
How to get started with Ibotta:
- Download the app for free. Click here
- Open the app and browse offers before you go shopping (or wait until after if you don’t want the app to sway your purchases)
- Unlock rebates you are interested in by watching a video, taking a survey, answering a question, etc.
- Shop at the store as you normally would
- Click “Redeem” in the app to take a pic of your receipt once you are done shopping. The app will automatically match items you bought with the offers you saved
- Cash-out (Once your account hits a minimum of $20.00)
If you want to learn more, I wrote a review about Ibotta.
6. Savings Catcher by Walmart – phasing out
My favorite way to save at Walmart! Simply upload all of your receipts from Walmart into the Savings Catcher app and it will automatically give you cash back if the item you purchased is priced lower or on sale at a competitive store. You literally can’t go wrong! It helps you feel like you’re getting the best possible prices without having to store hop and waste time chasing deals.
How to get started with Savings Catcher:
- Download the Walmart App.
- Click on “Services” then find the “Savings Catcher” icon that looks like a piggy bank. Here is where you can scan a Walmart Receipt and keep track of current rewards dollars.
- Scan your receipt.
Pro Tip: You can scan any receipt. Find one on the ground in the parking lot as you’re walking into the store? Pick that puppy up and scan! (just be sure to wash/use antibacterial when you’re done)
In a day or two, you will receive a notification if you received any cashback and on which items. It is so freaking simple and easy, especially if you are a regular Walmart shopper. I walked to Walmart the other day and saved $.77 on a frozen meal I ate for lunch, not realizing it was on sale at Meijer just down the road for less. Cha-ching, money saved!
You can have your rewards dollars loaded to an eGfit Card, or you can set up Walmart Pay for use in-store. So it’s easy to earn, and easy to use once you’ve earned it. No waiting for a minimum, you can spend your savings right away.
Apps that save money on other stuff:
If you’re already going through the effort of uploading your receipts into a grocery-saving app, you might as well try another app called Coinout.
Just snap a pic of your receipt, nearly any receipt. The grocery store, the hardware store, the gas station, and the app will credit your account a random amount of money. I’ve seen anywhere from a penny to $.06 per receipt. So a second of your time you may earn a few cents.
I never realized how many receipts I come into contact with every week before using this app. It is now a part of my routine. While not limited to grocery stores, I use it post-grocery store trips like I would Fetch or Ibotta. Scanning my receipts there, then scanning into Coin out.
What receipts earn cashback with Coinout?
Nearly all receipts that have a date, store name, total bill and line items with prices.
Receipts that do not receive cashback are AMT receipts, lottery tickets, money orders, etc.
You are not going to get right off Coinout, but if you are already in “scanning mode” take a second and do one more receipt scan before you throw it in the trash and pennies will add up.
8. Rakuten (Formerly Ebates)
Old reliable for online shopping. Seriously, don’t shop online before heading to Rakuten first.
Ebates has relationships with thousands of retailers and offers cashback and/or discounts when you shop at these stores through Ebates. So you go to rakuten.com, find the store you are interested in shopping online, and click-through. It’s that simple.
If you end up purchasing something on the site, cashback is automatically added to your account and is cashed out via a check quarterly.
I’ve saved over $744 since starting Rakuten in August 2014. Not too shabby for purchases I was planning to make anyway.
Pro tip: Watch Rakuten for a few days before making a purchase. The cash-back percentages back they offer are constantly changing and they are always doing promotions. So what is 3% cashback today may be 10% cashback tomorrow.
Not sure about you, but where I’m at gas has been steadily increasing over the last few months. And nothing is more irritating than stopping at the next gas station only to find out the one you passed a few miles back was cheaper. Ugh!
Use GasBuddy before you fill up and you can check out who has the best gas prices around you to strategically choose the cheapest (that’s the closest to your normal route). Just one more easy way to not overpay at the pump. Planning saves money!
It’s so easy. Create an account. Use your local zip code to find real-time prices of gas stations around you. You can even choose the specific type of gas you are looking for!
So this one isn’t a mobile app, but something you should use if you’re on a desktop computer. A what? I know, I know, we’re all on our phones all the time! But if you’re ever shopping on a desktop computer, definitely use this before you check out!
Honey will automatically apply all relevant promo codes to your cart at checkout, eliminating you from having to find the best deal before you check out.
No more Google searching for “promo code for xzy store” or heading to multiple coupon saving sites searching for the best deal. You know the drill, you go to one of these sites and try multiple codes because even though they say they are active, most of them are not working or have terms and conditions different from what is stated.
For Honey to work, you do have to install an extension for your desktop browser. Once installed Honey does the work for you and makes finding and applying all relevant codes fast and easy.
If you’re a desktop shopper or know someone who is, this website is for you!
So I’m the queen of price matching. I’ll purchase something then keep my eyes on it like a hawk in case it drops in price. Then I’ll call up customer service and demand a price adjustment. But that’s only if I remember and if I’m within the price adjustment window, and if I have time to call. Exhausting.
Paribus does the price watching for you. Retailers pricing is constantly fluctuating, Paribus will monitor store prices and give you cash when items you’ve purchased drop in price.
Paribus works with 29 stores including Amazon, Macy’s, Target, etc. so likely places you already shop.
For Paribus to work, you have to download the app, and then link the app to an email address where your online order confirmations and receipts go. Paribus will then scan your email for receipts and negotiates with the online companies to refund you the difference if there is a change in price in your favor.
I haven’t seen a lot of action on this app, likely because I seek out the best deal possible and already get a really good deal that the odds of the price falling lower than I paid is probably pretty low.
This app is great for those who do a lot of shopping online, but not one who has the time or interest in watching price fluctuations post-purchase. Or amazing for those who buy what they want to buy when they want to buy it regardless of price, so you may have a better shot of getting money back if purchased at full or near full price.
Kind of my mother ship. My go-to for any promo codes or deals I’m looking for.
It’s many deals showcased in aggregate by store. So if you’re purchasing at a particular store (online or in-store) check out retailmenot.com before you check out to see if there are any qualifying offers you can take advantage of.
What I like about Retailmenot is that it is organized by store so you can quickly reference the store you need. And the offers are organized by “In-Store”, “Online” and “Sales” to quickly find an offer or deal that suits the brick-and-mortar store you are standing in, or the website you are about to purchase on.
An app that pays you to walk outside? Um, okay tell me more…
I learned about Sweatcoin a few months ago and have been using it unintentionally all summer. I like to take walks outside on my lunch break at work. My husband, daughter, dog and I take walks outside almost every night after dinner in the summer.
Sweatcoin will track any steps you take OUTSIDE ONLY and automatically give you points you can exchange for offers/prizes. It takes a while for the points to add up, and you can only earn so many points per day, so if you have a job where you work outside for 10 hours a day, you can only earn so many Sweatcoins per day.
But if you download it, and forget about it, the app can just run in the background. Check back in every so often and you may be surprised at the number of sweat coins you have earned!
Apps that help manage your finances:
Mint is a very popular online personal finance app that offers an array of money management tools. In general, I think money and budgeting apps are a great way to help keep your finances in order. Mint tracks your finances from bills to credit cards to even cash transactions (if you manually enter them). The app can alert you offers alert you to what’s happening with your money.
One of the features I like about Mint is that it allows you to test or experiment with how a financial decision may impact your budget. by graphically showing you how additional savings could affect your budget or how a larger ticket purchase would affect your budget, it’s a great tool to use before making a large financial decision to make sure you realize the full impact on your money and budget.
15. Personal Capital
Another personal finance app I adore is Personal Capital. I like how I can see a full financial snapshot by logging into just one app. After linking to various financial accounts, you can see “net worth” snapshot, track your retirement, and find out how you are spending relative to last months’ spending.
I have held three jobs in my professional career, each with a different 401K. It’s convenient to be able to log into one account and see how all retirement accounts are doing at once. The app also projects your retirement needs based on known spending now to give a good glimpse into your future to see if you’re on track which is a feature I like.
Another feature I like about Personal Capital is the Budgeting feature. Monthly it will automatically track your spending (no cash transactions), and show you month-over-month how you are trending with spending in the current month compared with last month.
For example, right now I’m trending $87 spent over what I spent at this time last month. It’s just a nice checkpoint to quickly gauge expenses, especially if your goal was to spend less in the current month.
Of course, if you’re serious about wanting to dive deeper into your financial options, you can connect with a Financial Advisor right through the app to discuss your current financial situation.
Click here and use my affiliate link to sign up for the free app, and we’ll both get $20.00.
So there you have it. The 15 apps that you can use to help save money and stay on budget. I wouldn’t expect you to use all of these apps, or use all of them at once. Think about your situation and weave in the apps you know you’d have the best success with based on your personality and savings style. Use what speaks to you.
Now with all of those savings, you may be looking for ways to make your money work for you. Check out 5 of the best apps for beginning investors. Learn how to make money on your money with these apps.
What would you add to the list?
Take one small step today – to help your finances tomorrow,
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