A friend of mine actively uses several money-saving apps. Over the following two or three articles, I will explore and explain some of these apps to you. And, more importantly, are they legit and worth your time?
Interested in saving money? I suggest you explore the app or the website and see what kind of rebates are offered.
You’ll be forced to create an account. These apps look at your buying habits and sell the information to companies. Most of them say none of the information is personally identifiable. Some let you opt-out. Some say there is no need. Regardless, past experience told me that I would start getting many emails from these companies. These emails do not bother me especially if they really offer true savings, but I already get tons of emails, and I decided to create a second email account. They are trying to help you find deals, and you can unsubscribe.
What is Ibotta?
From Ibotta.com: Ibotta“ is a free cash-back rewards web and mobile app that gives you real cash for everyday purchases when you shop. Ibotta provides thousands of ways for consumers to earn cash on their purchases by partnering with more than 2,700 brands and retailers.”
I asked my friend about the apps he used, and he sent me sign-up codes. Using his code, he got $10, and $5 was added to my account shortly after signing up.
Don’t buy things just for the sake of getting a rebate. Rather look for the stores you usually shop at and see if there are rebates on products you typically buy.
You can shop in-store or online. To get paid, you need to submit either e-receipts or take a photo of a store receipt to submit it. I did in-store shopping and submitted paper receipts. I didn’t try to submit a digital receipt.
When you find a product, you will see a rebate amount and how many you can buy. For the products I looked at, you could buy up to five products and collect the rebate five times. You can save even more money if the store item is on sale because you can still get the rebate.
I often buy my vitamins at Walgreens in Honeoye Falls. The vitamins are often on sale, and the regular price can be expensive. We occasionally purchase Aveeno hand lotion from Walgreens, and I like their daily unscented hand lotion. Both of these types of products had a $1.00-$2.00 rebate.
My goal was to save as much money as possible from any source. After my initial purchase, The cashier handed me my receipt plus what I thought was a $5.00 off coupon when you spend fifteen dollars coupon. This is where my ignorance kicked in.
I assumed it was a coupon to be used on my next purchase by a specific date. On trip two to Walgreens, I arrived at the store to make some additional Ibotta purchases, and handed them the coupon to get another five dollars off.
Nope. No $5.00 off. Instead, they ADD $5.00 dollars of Walgreens cash to your account to be used on your NEXT visit. So to use those five dollars, I had to make a third trip to the store. If you often go anyway, then no problem. But now I had to find reasons/rebates to go back and make a purchase and get the $5.00 discount off the purchase.
So I bought my products with a corresponding Ibotta offer and submitted my receipts.
- From the receipt, the app matched up valid offers with the valid purchases I made and credited my account with the rebate cash instantly.
- Upload mistake: Once, Ibotta missed an item I purchased. There is a “correct receipt” option. I clicked the correction link and filled in boxes stating what item was missed and the amount. Within moments, the correct rebate amount was added to my account.
There are also bonus bundles that, if you purchase certain combinations of products, you get additional money. For example, when I bought Aveeno body and skin products. Purchasing both products added an additional $2 to my account on top of the $4.00 I already received.
What I liked
Ibotta had a lot of choices from a lot of stores. I liked that the money was in my account moments after submitting the receipt. I did not have to wait hours, days, or weeks to get my money back.
I liked that they had products I would use.
And what I really liked was they were giving me cash. No points to redeem for gift cards, but cash.
NOTE: You can only transfer the money into your account seven days from the first receipts date, and the amount is $20 or higher.
After seven days, I had $23.25 in my account, and I could transfer it to a PayPal or bank account. I chose PayPal. A couple of days after initiating the transfer, I had the money in my PayPal account.
Here is a breakdown of my purchases.
- Cost of all the products I bought if I paid full retail pricing: $104.76.
- Actual out-of-pocket cost because of sales and Buy-One, Get-One: $52.11
- Ibotta rebates credited to my account: $23.25.
- The amount of money I actually spent: $28.86.
That outcome was much better than I expected.
What I didn’t like
It takes time and planning to maximize your savings. If you love to hunt for rebates or must save every penny you can, it is worth the time and effort.
It helps if you are the primary shopper for the household, where you can look at the rebate offers and compare them to what you need.
My Walgreens is in a location where my cell phone has no internet. I had to look at the products at home and then hoped I purchased the right product once I was in the store. So it saves gobs of time if you can look at the rebate items while standing in front of them. Then you can scan the item, and Ibotta tells you instantly that it is the right product for the offer.
Make sure the deal is still there. My initial purchase of Tic Tacs had a $0.35 rebate per 1 oz package with a limit of 5. On the first day, I bought three. I went back two days later and bought 2 more. I could not verify it in the store (no internet), and I had assumed the offer was still there. It was not. It was replaced with $1.00 off three; you must buy three. I bought only two, and they did not qualify for the offer. I’m glad it was the lowest rebate I tried to collect.
Most rebates are on brand-name products and not the store brand. If you are not willing to buy the brand name products, then this may not be the app for you.
Read the fine print on store discounts. I needed to understand how the store coupon/deal worked. And it cost me an extra visit to use that five dollars. How much gasoline did I use for that extra trip?
A person could save some serious money with Ibotta. I like that it was easy to transfer the cash to PayPal or a bank account and that everything worked as they claimed.
If you wish to try the Ibotta app and are willing to help a fellow out, please use the link below or the referral code when asked during the sign-up process. I’ll get some money, and so will you for signing up.
Link: https://jot.bz/ibotta. OR download the app and use the referral code: WGQRIPP