6 of the Best Mobile Apps that Save Money When You Shop

Every one of us buys stuff. Unless you’re independently wealthy, you’re probably interested in saving some of your hard-earned cash. Luckily, thanks to the Internet, saving cash when shopping has never been easier.

Here are some mobile apps that can help you save money when you are shopping.

Have you ever gone through the hassle of searching online for a rebate or promo code and applying it only to find out it’s not valid or has expired? Annoying isn’t it? With Ebates, you no longer have to worry about it, since it automatically tracks your purchases and applies coupon and rebate codes for you. In addition, Ebates can be used on your mobile device (Android, iOS) and your home computer, meaning you’ll never miss the chance to save some cash.

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Ebates has partnerships with over 2,500 retailers, from Amazon to Walmart. Those stores give Ebates a commission for sending customers their way, which they then share with Ebates members. They say that if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is, but this is one case where they’re wrong.

Have you ever put gas in your car only to drive around the block and discover that a different gas station was significantly cheaper? If you drive there is almost a 100% chance that you replied yes. Fortunately, with GasBuddy (Android, iOS) the pain of paying too much at the pump is a distant memory. GasBuddy is a GPS-based app that will sniff out the gas stations with the cheapest prices in your area in real time.

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GasBuddy relies on user-submitted data, meaning that users of the app submit the fuel prices that they come across in the wild. This ensures that GasBuddy is always accurate and up to date. Furthermore, GasBuddy gives users the opportunity to win $100 gift cards whenever they input pricing data to the app. Save money on fuel and get paid? Sounds like a no-brainer.

Walmart Savings Catcher isn’t actually an app in and of itself. Instead, it is a feature embedded into the main Walmart app (Android, iOS). Using it is super simple. All you need to do is shop at Walmart and make sure you hang on to the receipt. After checking out, fire up the Walmart app and navigate to the “Savings Catcher.” Next, grab your Walmart receipt and scan the barcode printed on the bottom.

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The app scours the Web looking for discounts or price differences on the items you purchased from competitors. If the app finds that any of your items could have been purchased elsewhere for less, it automatically deposits the difference into your Savings Catcher account. You can then apply the balance of your Savings Catcher account to a Walmart gift card.

Remember clipping coupons to save a bit of cash? Target Cartwheel is like the digital equivalent. Like the Savings Catcher feature in the Walmart app, Target’s Cartwheel feature is a part of the main Target app (Android, iOS). Before you head to Target, fire up the app and navigate to “Cartwheel offers.” Here you can browse all of the items that are eligible for reduced prices. Simply find one you like and tap the “+” icon to add it to your Cartwheel wallet. Rinse and repeat this action to take advantage of as many offers as you like.

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When you check out, open your Cartwheel wallet in the Target app and have the cashier scan the barcode. This will then apply all of the discounts you saved in your Cartwheel wallet to your items. It’s like clipping coupons but much easier.

The Ibotta app (Android, iOS) works like Walmart’s Savings Catcher, except it works with a bunch of different retailers. It works like this: Fire up the Ibotta app and search for available rebates. Find the ones that you’re interested in, and tap on the little plus sign to snag that rebate. Then, you go shopping as usual and upload the receipt. Ibotta will then issue you a rebate on the applicable items, paying out directly into your PayPal account.

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The biggest advantage to Ibotta is the fact that you can use it with a myriad of different retailers across a wide variety of different products. Grocery stores, pharmacies, sporting goods, home improvement, you name it. If you need to buy it, there’s an excellent chance that Ibotta is going to save you money.

While most of the other services on this list require you to shop at physical brick and mortar retailers, Paribus focuses solely on online purchases. What’s great about Paribus is how easy it is to use. All you need to do is register and shop online as usual. Paribus then monitors your email inbox for receipts from purchases. It takes note of these purchases and monitors the retailers, scoping them out for sales and other rebates. If Paribus finds that an item you purchased goes on sale within a certain period of time (Note: the length of time elapsed depends on the retailer), it requests a refund for the difference on your behalf. All without you having to lift a finger.

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In addition, Paribus will monitor how long it takes for your items to be delivered. If it finds that an item was not delivered within the span of time specified by the retailer, it will automatically request discount for the late delivery. The Paribus app is currently only available for iOS; however, since it is not a mobile-specific app, you can also opt for the web-based version.

Do you use any apps or services to help you save money? Have we forgotten your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

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