Smart phones make many tasks easier – from posting on social media, to quickly checking email, to looking up the address or phone number of a business. One of the most pleasant experiences to come with my upgrade was learning that my smart phone could help me save money by using the best shopping apps.
The following are what I have found to be the best online shopping apps. I’ll share each app with you, along with tips and in many cases a promo code to help you save more money.
Best Shopping Apps
The Best Shopping Apps
It’s not always easy or convenient these days to get behind a desktop or laptop prior to making a purchase. I was a late-adopter of the smart phone, finally upgrading to an iPhone in 2013. I especially like how these apps help me save money on the go – when I’ve already left home and I’m at a store.
The following are apps that I currently use for shopping, or have used in the past. All are available by easy download through the App Store run by Apple for iPhone users. If you are on Android most if not all of these apps should be available to you as well.
All you have to do is type in the name of any of these apps to download them. Please note that many of these apps are versions of website that you can also use and access via a desktop or laptop web browser.
Online Shopping Apps
Now I’ll share the exact apps I use when shopping and any promo or discount codes that you can use to save even more when using these apps. For each app I’ll share the name of the app, a brief description of how it works and the app logo if I have it. This makes it easier to recognize each app. Here are my recommendations:
• Amazon App: Are you an avid Amazon shopper? Have you ever been at a store and wondered if the item you were eyeballing was cheaper on Amazon? The Amazon App allows you to scan any item in a store and quickly check the price of the same item on Amazon.
• eBay: I often list items on eBay in the winter. It’s a great pastime when it’s too cold outside to enjoy outdoor activities. I can easily check my current auctions and see if I have any bids. If you wish to purchase an item, the app makes it as easy as only a few taps.
• Rakuten: I’ve been using Rakuten since 2010. When you shop online through Rakuten.com you receive cash back on your purchase in the form of a check. I’ve received more than $500 in cash back since joining! This website is free to join and offers users cash back on purchases they would normally make online anyway.
Rakuten partners with online retailers to offer specials, coupon codes and discounts. No gimmicks. The great thing about Rakuten is it works with almost any type of purchase. I’ve used Rakuten to save on my weekly Target run, to save on hotel bookings and airfare, to save on purchasing contact lenses and even a new computer!
If you sign up through my link for a free Rakuten account, you will receive a $10 cash bonus from Rakuten. All you have to do is sign up and then make a purchase of at least $25 over the next 90 days. Full review here.
• Earn $10 cash back when you join Rakuten and use my link when you sign up!
Top Shopping Apps
• Ibotta: Ibotta is a shopping app. This is one of the most popular and well-known cash back apps. Ibotta will offer you a cash back bonus on your purchases from food and household items to even some online purchases.
Ibotta has been around for several years so their rebates are pretty robust and a lot of stores are covered. The great thing about Ibotta is unlike some apps you receive actual cash so you can use that money to pay off debt, save or spend however you like!
- Earn a sign up bonus when you join Ibotta and use my link when you sign up!
• Checkout 51: Some apps allow you to scan receipts and receive cash back on purchased items. The frustration I ran into with these apps was many offered low cash back incentives or only worked at certain stores. Checkout 51 is not store-specific, it’s item-specific.
If you buy a gallon of milk you can receive cash back no matter where you purchased the milk. Be sure to check out Checkout 51! This is an app you download on your smartphone. When you make purchases for food and household items, you show proof of purchase to Checkout 51 and you can receive cash back on those items!
It might only be a 50-cents but the money adds up over time. If you are already shopping for household items and enjoy saving money, Checkout 51 is a no brainer.
• Earn a sign up bonus when you join Checkout 51 and use my link when you sign up!
• Fetch Rewards: Fetch is a shopping app. Formerly known as MobiSave. This is one of my favorite shopping apps. It’s so easy to use. Most of the time all you have to do is scan your receipt for automatic points. Sometimes there are special deals or extra points but most of the time it’s an easy scan and redeem. Once you earn 3,000 points you can begin redeeming points. 1,000 points equals $1. Points are used to redeem online gift cards.
• Earn 2,000 points when you join Fetch Rewards and enter invite code BC7TK when you sign up!
• Mercari: I discovered Mercari for online shopping. I use it mostly for shopping for clothing and accessories. There are other items for sale on the site as well. You can purchase outright or send the seller an offer and negotiate for an item.
• Earn $10 toward your first purchase when you join Mercari and use my link when you sign up!
• Poshmark: I discovered Poshmark in 2017 at the urging of a friend. She knew I loved secondhand shopping and thought I would enjoy the app. Poshmark is like an online secondhand clothing store. The platform started as an app but it can also be accessed via desktop or laptop.
Users take photos of clothing and list the items for sale. The clothing is usually secondhand but you can also find brand new with tags items on Poshmark. The clothing is deep discount from retail prices. Poshmark users have different goals but common goals include selling clothing they do not need.
• Earn $10 toward your first purchase when you join Poshmark and enter invite code HFHAMMERS when you sign up!
• Key Ring: I often sign up for store discount cards to ensure I get the best price when I shop, however, these cards can quickly fill a wallet or keychain. The Key Ring app allows you to scan the barcodes on these cards and save them all in your phone. The next time you are shopping and asked to scan your card you can simply hold up your iPhone instead.
• Target: I’ve been an avid user of the Target app since it was called Target Cartwheel. Use the app every time you shop to receive cash back toward a future purchase. You will also find deals and coupons within the app.
• Kohl’s: This is another department store app I have found helpful enough that I downloaded and use it frequently. Kohl’s has a rewards program as well. It used to be a points program and has recently switched to cash back toward a future purchase. You can also find coupons in the app. Be sure to scan you rewards barcode at checkout.
• Swagbucks: I haven’t used this app recently but it it’s a fun app especially if you have extra time to do the surveys and bonus offers. Use this Swagbucks app to earn points while shopping or doing online searches. Then redeem your points for gift cards and more.
• Etsy: This app is a must for anyone who enjoys shopping for handcrafted or handmade items. This online marketplace is home to unique goods and vintage items. The Etsy app makes shopping on your smart phone or tablet easier than ever.
Most Popular Shopping Apps
These are the shopping apps I have used currently or in the past to save money. These apps will help you save money when grocery shopping, clothing shopping, online shopping and more.
While the perks and payouts range for each app, I find it helpful to look at the long term. Every little bit adds up over time. The more you can save the more money you have to reach your financial goals and aspirations!
What is your favorite shopper app?
*This post was originally published in 2014 and has been updated and republished for accuracy and comprehensiveness.