Remember when you cut coupons from the Sunday newspaper in order to cut your grocery bill? That chore is a relic of the past now that technology has revolutionized the coupon-clipping game. The current generation of mobile apps and grocery websites not only saves you money, but also helps you earn cash back and put real money into your pockets.
Following is a list of free, must-have mobile coupon apps you should download ASAP and two grocery websites to add to your favorites.
Ibotta and Checkout 51.
Both of these free mobile coupon apps turn Android devices, iPhones, iPod Touches, and iPads into tools for collecting cash-back opportunities. Users upload grocery receipts after buying select items (offers change weekly) and receive cash in return. When the total reaches a certain threshold, Ibotta transfers it into a PayPal or Venmo account. If you don't have an online payment account, Ibotta also lets you cash out in the form of an iTunes, Starbucks, Redbox, or Regal gift card. Similarly, Checkout 51 lists several offers that users can choose among, and once users reach $20 on their account, Checkout51 mails a check.
Grocery Smarts Coupon Shopper.
This free mobile coupon app for Android phones eliminates the legwork associated with getting the best deal. It matches products advertised in major circulars from big-name retailers, such as CVS, Walgreens, and Target, with current coupons, complete with links to printable coupons or information about when to browse the local newspaper. At the register, add your store discount card into the mix for maximum savings.
Another free mobile coupon app for Android, iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, RetailMeNot lets you save when and where you want, just as its motto says. As you make your way through your favorite stores at the mall, RetailMeNot alerts you to location-based deals. Plus, you'll have access to an extensive assortment of coupons and promo codes for almost anything, from clothing and electronics to food and entertainment.
The Coupons App.
The Coupons App earns enthusiastic praise from users and technology sites for delivering real-time coupons and updates for stores, restaurants, and gas stations. Free to users of Android, iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad devices, it boasts a built-in barcode reader that lets you scan a barcode and search for deals on that particular product. Another standout feature, coupon updates, makes it easy to find deals nearby. The Coupons App scores four stars at Amazon for the wide variety of deals and the ability to cash them in, hassle-free, at different retailers. At App Brain it earns more than four stars for helping users save lots of money at once and To Muse likes that you can search deals by title or bar code. Babble included this mobile coupons app in its list of 50 Best Apps for Parents in 2012.
This is the first app that lets you take a picture of a printed coupon and flash it in the store on an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad (sorry, no Android compatibility at the moment). Don't have any coupons that suit your fancy? Search this free mobile coupon app's database, which holds tens of thousands of coupons issued by major retailers such as Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond. Plus, SnipSnap reminds you when an expiration date is approaching. According to Ted Mann, SnipSnap's CEO and founder, this mobile coupon app helps users save, on average, $40 a week. The app has been praised in media outlets, such as "The Today Show" and Tech Crunch. Customers also give SnipSnap rave reviews -- version 2.1 receives four-and-a-half stars on iTunes.
Essentially, the Supermarket Coupons app is a large, searchable coupon database and operates just like a search engine. Unlike other coupon apps that bring you deals from specific companies, Supermarket Coupons letsyou search for coupons for specific items, such as diapers, chips, or detergent. The app then yields coupons from various retailers who are currently discounting the products. Supermarket Coupons is a practical app that gets straight to the point and helps you snag discounts on exactly what you need.
My Grocery Deals.
The old paper-and-pen grocery list is so 1995. Get with the 21st century by registering with My Grocery Deals and create a list while simultaneously finding and comparing deals at various big-name grocery stores. This grocery website also lets you browse deals and coupons available at your store of choice and/or relevant to your zip code.
SmartSource (formerly Shortcuts).
Think of SmartSource as your own Santa's little helper. Use this grocery website to find out what's on sale at a location near you. The best part about the site: It lets you put electronic coupons directly onto your store savings card. When you swipe your card at checkout, the coupons will automatically be credited to your bill. You can shop at any of the partnering stores -- more than 1,200 -- and earn up to 26 percent cash back on each purchase; a check is mailed to you every three months. The site also offers printable and mobile coupons in addition to coupon codes.