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Make Money from your Grocery Receipts with Your Smartphone

Updated on June 11, 2015

Yes, This is Possible!

You know all about couponing, sales, and bargain shopping. But did you know that even your most trivial purchases can make you more money, even after you've saved all you can? That's right—those receipts that they give you at the store can be used not just once more to save you money, but multiple times.

Manufacturers are hungry to know what you are buying, and they are willing to pay for data: who is buying what product at what store; are they using manufacturers' coupons, store coupons, etc.; are they shopping sales; are there seasonal variations; and many more questions about which products are selling and how.

If you have a smartphone or tablet, nothing could be easier. Free apps (small pieces of software that run on your phone or tablet) will allow manufacturers to see your shopping data without revealing your personal information, and you can rack up points to redeem for gift cards or even cash!

Savings, little by little, really add up!
Savings, little by little, really add up! | Source

The Apps to Know

Receipt Hog (link is to the Apple App Store) - You simply take a photo of your receipt, get points, and redeem those points for cash. It works not only at grocery stores, but also at gas stations, convenience stores, etc. In general, as of this writing, you receive 5 points for a receipt $10 or less; 10 points for a receipt between $10 and $50, and 15 points for larger receipts. It takes a lot of points to redeem for something worthwhile, but hey, it's free money.

Checkout 51 (link is to the Apple App Store) - Load the app. In the app, check off the items you bought that have offers. Again, you take a photo of your receipt (you can use the same receipts for all these apps, in effect getting paid multiple times for your purchases) and redeem.

Savingstar - Another app where in the app you select what you have bought, then take a photo of your receipt.

iBotta - The same process; find offers, buy them, tell the app which ones you bought, and take a photo of your receipt.

App Name
iOS
Android
Free?
Checkout 51
Yes
Yes
Yes
iBotta
Yes
Yes
Yes
Receipt Hog
Yes
Yes
Yes
SavingStar
Yes
Yes
Yes

Time to Schedule

The amount of time required to check off the items and photograph your receipt (unfortunately, you have to photograph it separately in each app) is less than five minutes per app.

How Much Do You Save?

I recently spent a dollar on tomatoes at the store. By combining offers, I got 50% off my purchase of tomatoes from one app, plus twenty cents off from another app, plus twenty cents off from a third app, plus 5 points in Receipt Hog. So that $1.00 of tomatoes cost me ten cents, minus the two-thirds of a cent credit in Receipt Hog. Since you can use the same receipt for all four apps, you can see that the savings will add up!

Grocery receipts can earn you cash!
Grocery receipts can earn you cash! | Source

Redemption

Redemption amounts are low; usually $20.00 or less. Receipt Hog has very low redemption, but you will be better off waiting until you have 4500 points, at which point you will be able to redeem those points for a $30 Amazon gift card or $30 transferred to your PayPal account.

Credit for items is usually within 24 hours; in practice, it takes only a few minutes for redemptions to show up in my accounts.

And how fast can you redeem? I earned my first iBotta payout for $10 in about two weeks.

Have you used these apps?

See results

What Kinds of Purchases Count?

For SavingStar, iBotta, and Checkout 51, both name-brand items such as cereal and cleaning products, as well as any kind of produce and some items of any brand (such as milk, bread, yoghurt, eggs, or peanut butter) will count. The offers change periodically (usually weekly or monthly), but there will almost always be some purchases that can be redeemed for any brand (including natural and organic items) in most of the apps. Currently I can get $2.00 off of a gallon of milk of any brand, as well as whatever my receipt will be worth in Receipt Hog.

For Receipt Hog, purchases made at clothing stores, thrift stores, dollar stores, club stores, grocery stores, and convenience stores (not gasoline only) count. It's honestly quite easy to get $100 per year or more credit at Amazon or cash!

How to Use iBotta

How to Use Checkout 51

How to Use SavingStar

How to Use Receipt Hog

Notes

  • If you buy using a credit card, you can black out the numbers with a marker or ink pen. It won't matter because the receipts will still work.
  • The savings in the apps are in addition to whatever coupons or discounts you may have used. The only app where the total dollars on the receipt matters is Receipt Hog.
  • For Receipt Hog, you can submit 20 grocery receipts and 20 non-grocery receipts per week. If you have more than that, always submit the most expensive receipts first. Since receipts don't have to be submitted right away, if you do a lot of shopping in one week, save your extra receipts for the next week.

© 2015 classicalgeek

Comments

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  • PegCole17 profile image

    Peg Cole 

    3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

    I'm always taking pictures of things so this is right up my alley. And I love to save money on items that I would normally buy anyway. Thanks for the useful information here and the videos.

  • moonlake profile image

    moonlake 

    3 years ago from America

    Good information. I have never used the apps in your hub but I do use the Walmart app which will also give you back money if they find something you have bought cheaper in some other store in your area. Voted up.

  • classicalgeek profile imageAUTHOR

    classicalgeek 

    3 years ago

    I appreciate all the comments and everyone who has shared this article; I hope these ways of saving will start to catch on and a lot of people will find these apps useful.

    After seeing how much money I was saving, my father, who is almost 90 years old, literally did the math and bought a smartphone for himself to start saving, so one never knows what can happen!

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 

    3 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Thanks for that clarification. My error for not watching the videos; since I don't have a smart phone, the instructions for those apps would not apply. However, I've now shared this to FB for those folks I know who do own such devices.

  • classicalgeek profile imageAUTHOR

    classicalgeek 

    3 years ago

    Dear DzyMsLizzy,

    1) If you look closely at the receipt, first off you will see it is from 1994 :) It's simply meant as an illustration.

    2) If you watch the videos of how to use the apps, it shows that you "mark off" the items in the apps, not on the receipt. The receipt is untouched for the next item. I'll reword that to clear it up, so thank you for bringing that to my attention.

  • vocalcoach profile image

    Audrey Hunt 

    3 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

    I had no idea this was available. Good too know and will start doing this. Thanks and voted up and will share.

  • Country-Sunshine profile image

    Country Sunshine 

    3 years ago from Texas

    I don't have a smart phone, so will not be able to use these apps. However, I do use Wal-mart's "Savings Catcher", which pays you back if other stores in the area have a lower price. Every cent helps when paying for groceries!

  • rebeccamealey profile image

    Rebecca Mealey 

    3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

    VERRRY interesting. I am sure many others will find this useful, so voted interesting and useful ! Gotta try those sites out. Thanks!

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 

    3 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hmmmmmmmmmmm....weeellllll..... we don't own a "smart phone" or "tablet" and never will, so this won't work for me. The only option I have is to use my desktop scanner to upload images into my computer, then attache them to e-mails. Obviously, that is not supported here, so I'm SOL, as they say.

    Also, You said "check off" the things you bought...but if you mark up the receipt, and one of the other apps rewards for different items, how would you use the same receipt multiple times?

    As a final point, I have to ask in WHAT part of the country are you finding "tuna steaks" for only 55 cents???!!! Fish is at least $3. a pound locally, (for the cheapest ones) here, not by the each piece.

    I also don't see a difference on your example receipt between "price" and "reduced price," so it's hard to tell what's really going on.

    Voted up, useful and interesting, for I'm sure there are folks out there who will be able to use these services; I'm just not one of them.

  • bravewarrior profile image

    Shauna L Bowling 

    3 years ago from Central Florida

    I had no idea these apps existed. I'm a couponer, but only for products I normally buy. I watched all of these videos before responding to see if any of the apps would work for me, because I'm picky about the brands I buy. Most of the commercial brands on the market use GMO seeds and/or foods in their products. Or they use high fructose corn syrup. I won't buy either. However, a couple of these apps would work for me.

    Thank you for sharing ways to save on everyday purchases - and get cash back - that I'm sure many of us had no clue about.

    Sharing this all over the place!

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