Saving money has never been more important as consumers reel from the financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak. As we approach the most expensive season of the year, holiday shoppers will be even more price-sensitive when choosing gifts and making other seasonal purchases.
In fact, the Holiday Report: 2020 Pricing and Shopping Trends from Revionics LLC, a provider of retail pricing and analytical solutions, found that 77% of consumers will decide where to shop and what to buy over the holiday based on prices, and 70% will actively look for coupons to save on gifts and other seasonal items.
The goods news is you don't have to sacrifice quality for savings or spend a lot of time hunting down bargains, thanks to a bevy of digital tools that do all the work for you. All you need is a smartphone and Wi-Fi connection to start snagging discounts every time you shop.
[See: 35 Ways to Save Money.]
Here is a look at the 13 best deal apps to stretch your shopping budget.
-- Coupons.com App.
-- The Krazy Coupon Lady.
-- Fetch Rewards.
-- Retail Me Not.
-- Coupon Cabin.
-- Edison Mail.
-- Capital One Shopping.
-- Target Circle.
Clipping grocery coupons is a thing of the past, thanks to apps like Coupons.com. Here, you can access digital vouchers to save on food purchases right from your mobile device at stores like Target, Walmart, Albertsons, Safeway, Winn-Dixie, Meijer, Food Lion and more. Just present the mobile coupon at checkout to start saving. It also offers cash back on popular grocery brands. To start, tap the item you plan to purchase and which store you plan to shop at to initiate the reward. Then, scan a picture of your receipt to validate the transaction to receive money back on the goods. You can also link a store loyalty card to get automatic cash back without submitting receipts for that specific grocer. Your cash earnings are deposited directly to your PayPal account for even more seamless earnings. Free for both iOS and Android.
The Krazy Coupon Lady
Extreme couponing isn't for everyone, as it requires time researching the best deals, hunting down coupons and matching the vouchers to store sales. However, now you can lean on the help of the Krazy Coupon Lady app to do all the heavy lifting. It gives you access to all available coupons and rebate offers in one place, including grocery deals, promo codes, Sunday coupons, printable coupons, online coupons, manufacturer coupons, ebates and more. You will receive deal alerts directly to your phone so you never miss out on a saving opportunity. It even offers bonus insider tips on how to take your couponing to the next level if you're looking to improve your deal-hunting game.
For shoppers who don't want to deal with grocery coupons, Fetch Rewards offers an alternative saving option. Just scan a picture of your grocery receipt after you shop and upload it to your account to start earning rewards. The app analyzes your itemized grocery receipts to award you with points based on the products and brands you purchased. Points are redeemable for gift cards to popular retailers like Amazon, Walmart and Target. You will even earn five points for sharing retailer and restaurant receipts and can link your email or Amazon account to accumulate points for online orders automatically. To fast-track reward earnings, check the special offers section on the app's homepage to find ways to earn bonus points. For instance, you can earn 800 points when you buy two Lipton Recipe Secrets products and 100 points for every Panera Bread receipt you scan.
"If I'm not getting cash back, then gift cards are the next best thing," says Fo Alexander, a certified financial educator instructor at MamaandMoney.com, a personal finance site, and author of "Dump Debt & Build Bank: The Everyday Chick's Guide to Money."
Don't worry about bringing paper coupons when you shop. The RetailMeNot app brings digital deals to your fingertips, which can be easily redeemed in store or online and features discounts for thousands of retailers. If you find a deal at a competitor, just show the app to the store associate to see if they can match it. You can also enable the app's location tracking to find coupons to stores based on your location for an even more customized deal delivery. "I love this app for finding last-minute coupons when I'm checking out in store," says Alexander.
Another smart coupon tool, The CouponCabin app features an in-store tab on the homepage so you can quickly and easily find discounts and even cash-back offers for those quick shopping runs. Meanwhile, Trae Bodge, a smart shopping expert at TrueTrae.com, a deal site, points out that CouoponCabin offers a special bonus of $5 when you make your first cash-back purchase using the app, and you can snag 10% extra cash when you choose to redeem rewards as Amazon gift cards. "During the pandemic, they've been waiving their commissions and issuing payouts quickly because they know that consumers need their cash-back ASAP," Bodge says.
Using a cash-back credit card to get something for all the purchases you're making anyway is a no-brainer, but you can sweeten the pot and double-dip on cash back effortlessly using the Dosh app. This automatic cash-back tool rewards you with extra money back on your credit card purchases just for linking your cards and using them to make purchases at partner retailers, restaurants and even hotels, including popular brands like Walmart, Sephora and Instacart. Your cash back is deposited directly back into your Dosh wallet, and once you accumulate $25, you can transfer the money to your bank, PayPal, Venmo or donate to a charity.
This app combines coupon savings with cash back and even offers opportunities to earn extra rewards, both in store and online. "They offer double cash back at certain stores and often have special app-only promotions where you can earn up to 10% cash back at retailers like Macy's, Gap and PetSmart," Bodge says. "Just link your Rakuten account to your credit card to automatically earn money back for each purchase made with that card."
Supermarkets and big-box stores are constantly rolling out new promotions to keep shoppers coming back. This is great news for consumers because there's always an opportunity to save, but trying to figure out where to shop for the best price can be confusing and daunting. However, Flipp solves this problem. Through the app, you can browse weekly ads to pinpoint the lower price for groceries, household products and other consumer goods. You can even add items to Flipp's shopping list feature, which alerts you if a deal is available for that particular product, taking the hassle out of hunting down sales or trying to match coupons. According to Flipp, users save an average of $45 per week.
With the rise of online shopping, brick-and-mortar stores have beefed up their offerings to price match and sometimes even beat the offers posted at online rivals. That means it's important to compare prices whether you're buying online or in store. With the Yroo app, you can quickly review prices across major retailers, and it features a bar code scanner that allows you to get an instant price comparison on the spot. You can leverage these findings in your price-match request -- just show the app to a store manager to see if he or she can give you a better deals based on these results. Another cool feature: The app notifies you of hot deals of the day from popular sites like Amazon, Best Buy, eBay, and Walmart so you are always in the know.
Though this app is primarily focused on helping you streamline and organize your email inbox, there are some nice shopping and deal perks. Powered by artificial intelligence, the app sorts messages and organizes them into appropriate folders, including retailer newsletters and coupons. You can even unsubscribe from junk mail with a single click. The best savings feature for shoppers, however, is its Price Alert tool, which tracks purchases made online that are linked to your email, notifying you if something goes on sale within the retailer's price adjustment window. This way, you know when to request money back.
Amazon is notorious for fluctuating prices, sometimes as many as several times in a single day. Trying to figure out when it is truly offering a good deal can be a bit of a mystery. That's where the Pricepulse app comes in, taking the guesswork out of identifying the best time to buy. This Amazon price-tracking tool provides historical pricing data on most items sold through the site. You can add items to your watch list to track price changes so you know when a product is available for less. You can even earn "coins," a version of cash back, for purchases made through the app to redeem toward Amazon gift cards.
Capital One Shopping
Formerly known as Wikibuy, the Capital One Shopping app is a seamless way to find savings. This tool pinpoints the best price on the products you want to buy across multiple retailers, summarizing the total price including tax, shipping cost, any working coupons, pricing history, return policy, delivery estimate, related product deals from other users, as well as reviews and rankings from Amazon and Google so you can make a better buying decision.
"It looks for coupons for me when I'm shopping and is pretty seamless," says Jim Wang, founder of Wallet Hacks, a personal finance site. "On several occasions, it finds an unexpected coupon or a way to buy it somewhere else for less on Amazon and probably saves me a few bucks each month. It isn't a lot of money, but considering I don't have to do anything to get those savings, it's worth it."
This big-box chain's loyalty program, Target Circle, is bundled up in a convenient savings app where shoppers can find in-store and online deals on everything from groceries to home goods to clothing. Use the app's barcode scanner to quickly detect any available store coupons or sales. It will even post online prices, which the store will match at the point of sale if it's lower on its website. You can also earn 1% cash back for every shopping run at the store. Cash back is added to your account, which you can redeem through the app on your next purchase or let the balance grow and save it to pay for a special item. Target Circle also gives you early access to store sales and product deals. If you're shopping at Target, always review the app for savings before checkout.