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Cash back apps: Ibotta vs. Checkout 51

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It’s been more than two years since I started using cash back apps to save on groceries and personal items. Since then, I’ve learned that not all of these apps are worth the trouble. However, there is one app that I’m so glad that I discovered. I wanted to write this article to share with you an update on how I use these apps.

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WORTH IT: IBOTTA

If you download any cash back app, make this the one. I’ve earned $950 in Ibotta rebates (July 2016) since I started using the app in May 2014. I mostly use it for groceries, but you can get rebates on clothing, beauty products, electronics, fast food and travel purchases.

RELATED: Cash back app Ibotta offers $10 welcome bonus

Ibotta is pretty simple. You unlock savings on products by completing tasks, such as watching short videos or taking polls. After you purchase the items you’ve unlocked, scan the bar code and upload the receipt. Here are a few of the current Ibotta offers linked to my grocery store:

Starbucks ground coffee: $1.00
Purex detergent: $1.00
Marzetti dressing: $1.00
Jennie O turkey burgers: 75 cents
Coca-Cola: $1.00
Chobani yogurt: $1.00
Laura’s Lean Beef: $1.00

There are also rotating “any brand” offers for products such as produce, pasta, bread and eggs.

While it may seem like these are minor rebates, they add up quickly, especially if you combine them with offers in the weekly circular and digital/print coupons. Once you reach $20, you can have your Ibotta rebates transferred to your PayPal account or get a gift card. There are also bonuses, which are basically free money, depending on how much you and your team use the app.

**Want to join my team? I’ve provided my referral link (CLICK HERE) to Ibotta. If you sign up through my link, we both get a small bonus.**

NOT WORTH IT: CHECKOUT 51

I’ve also been using the cash back app Checkout 51 since May 2014. My experience has not been good. In the same time that I earned $450 with Ibotta, I’ve earned only $17.50 with Checkout 51. The app simply doesn’t have enough offers and I’m not impressed by what is featured. You need to earn $20 before you even get a check, so I have yet to reach that threshold. I plan to take advantage of a few more offers to reach $20, but then I’ll be deleting this app.

July 2016 update: Once I finally reached $20, I stopped using Checkout 51.

POSSIBLY WORTH IT: SAVINGSTAR AND SHOPMIUM

After I first posted about Ibotta, readers told me about the other apps they use. Shopmium and SavingStar are two of them. Thank you for telling me about these!

Shopmium only lists a few items, but like Ibotta, it’s easy to use. I must confess that I’ve deleted this app, but I didn’t have a bad experience. It just wasn’t worth the additional effort because there are only about 15 products and many of them are processed foods.

**As of 2017, Shopmium is no longer available.**

SavingStar is an app that I just started using. I synced up bonus cards for my grocery store and pharmacy just the other day. It has a decent number of offers for popular products, so I plan to give it a try. According to the terms and conditions, you can cash out after earning just $5 with SavingStar.

CONCLUSION

These apps can be a great way to shave a few dollars from your weekly grocery bill. When used as part of an overall grocery shopping strategy, you can be confident that you’re getting the best value possible. The best part is that these apps are free! Give them a try, and let me know what you think.

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