While I was raised by THE coupon queen, it wasn’t until I started my Stay-At-Home Girlfriend journey that I became a full fledged extreme couponer. With less money coming in, I was forced to find ways to make the money I had stretch even further. While my mom has been clipping coupons from the Sunday paper for as long as I can remember, the coupon world has recently been evolving.
In fact, couponing has finally entered the 21st century and there are hundreds of apps geared towards saving money. If you’ve seen my mom and I in our recent segment on NBC/NECN, you know that I’m a huge fan of using apps to maximize savings. Rebate apps, in particular, can make a good deal turn into a great deal.
If you aren’t familiar with rebate apps, you basically just take a picture of your receipts, select which items you bought, and voila – money in your account. The best part about rebate apps is you don’t need to carry any extra coupons – which, if you are disorganized like me, means you won’t have to add any more paper to your purse before heading to the store.
As far as rebate apps go, the two top dogs are:
If you don’t have these apps, follow the links above or visit the App Store to download them onto your phone and start growing your grocery savings! I will note that with ibotta, if you use my link, you’ll get a bonus of $10 in your account as soon as you redeem your first rebate (I also get $5 so it’s a win-win 😉 )!
While the general concept of both apps is the same (snap a pic and redeem $$ ), there are a few notable differences between the two. So which app should you use?
- Checkout 51 has a fairly straight-forward layout: you open up the app, and all the rebates are there, listed by category. You can sort by store, and “star” the rebates you like for easy reference when redeeming your receipt. I have found the app to be slow/glitchy at times and find myself frustrated when I’m in store looking to see if a particular item has a rebate, and the app reloads the same 5 rebates over and over again.
- ibotta has gotten a little more complicated over the last year or so – previously, ibotta’s layout was similar to Checkout 51 in that all the rebates were listed immediately upon start up. Ibotta has since revamped, and has 5 tabs along the bottom including featured rebates, a search feature, a “redeem” button for when you’re ready to upload a receipt, “my rebates” which is similar to Checkout 51’s star feature, and an account button. You can view rebates by store, category, whatever. While it takes a little more getting used to than Checkout 51, the interface has a more modern, trendy feel to it.
- Checkout 51 again is more straight-forward – the deals you find in this app are ones at your typical supermarket. Checkout 51 and ibotta will often have rebates for the same items- and 9 times out of 10, Checkout 51’s rebate is a higher value. Checkout 51 is also more likely to allow you to redeem a rebate multiple times, whereas ibotta is usually (but not always) just a one time rebate.
- ibotta has more variation, and has formed more partnerships, likely due to it’s popularity. This means you’ll find not only grocery rebates, but rebates for retailers such as Amazon and Target, as well as rebates on Groupon and other online shopping destinations.
Winner: Checkout 51, due to higher value rebates and multiple redemption rebates.
- Checkout 51 allows you to withdraw your money once you’ve reached a $20 threshold. You can redeem either through PayPal or have them send you a check.
- ibotta allows you to withdraw your money once you’ve reached a $20 threshold. You can redeem either through PayPal, Venmo, or you can choose a gift card to a major retailer.
Winner: Tie. While ibotta offers a great selection of gift cards, Checkout 51 offers the check option which is great if you just want the money, but don’t want to set up an account.
- Checkout 51 has no reward system.
- ibotta has several bonus reward systems. One of my favorites includes the teamwork bonuses – every friend you have that uses ibotta is part of your “team.” If you and you team redeem a certain number of rebates during the month, you earn a bonus reward. The more rebates your team redeems, the more rewards you can get. ibotta also occasionally does individual challenges, such as “Redeem X number of rebates, earn $YY bonus.” You can also earn $5 bonuses for every friend you refer to ibotta once they redeem their first rebate.
Winner: ibotta, due to the fact that Checkout 51 has no reward systems.
The clear winner is ibotta. From the modern layout, to challenges that get friends involved, ibotta is a more fun and interactive app overall – not to mention the fact that it saves you money on items you buy everyday.
That being said, no one ever said you have to choose just one. If you’re just getting started, using both might be a lot to keep track of – and you might want to check out these 6 Tips to Save Hundreds with Coupons. Keep in mind, the apps often have overlapping rebates – meaning you can get money back by using both apps – possibly adding up to even more than you spent on the item!
All views and opinions expressed in this post are mine. This is not a sponsored/paid post. This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting SAH GF.