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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Top 5 Android and Apple Apps to Save Money and Get Free Stuff!

I know it's been a while since I have blogged.  Life is crazy, what can I say.  Either way, I realized upon searching the internet today on this very topic, that my search lacked substance.  I work for a coupon company (that's right, I work for for those of you who didn't know...) and I was looking for ways to save money digitally.  We all want easier ways to save money.  My Coupon Resolution for 2013 was to save more money using the tiny computer I carry around and sometimes make calls on (see: smartphone).  So, there are some apps I have been utilizing and have been saving TONS of money on.  Even getting things for free (mostly free stuff...) and not just stuff I don't need or silly samples.'s my top 5 MUST have list of apps for the money savvy person with an Android or Apple Smart Phone.  Some of these aren't available on Apple...I'll mention it if they are.

5. Ibotta Android and Apple Compatible
     Ibotta is an app that essentially has digital coupons.  You choose the amount you want to save by how much effort you put into it.  For example: You can save $0.25 by answering a one-question poll.  You can save another $0.25 if you read a one line fact about the product or app.  You can save another $0.50 by watching a 30 second video on the product.  Total you have the opportunity to save $1.00 on said product if you put forth the effort.  Then when it's all said and done, you take a picture of your receipt AFTER you've purchased the product you wanted to save money on, from a supported retailer (the list is extensive) and then scan the barcode of the product you were supposed to have bought.  When they verify that you actually bought the product by checking your receipt, AND that the product you scanned matches what's on your receipt, they will deposit the $1.00 (or whatever the amount you were supposed to save was) into your paypal account.

Pros: More green friendly than coupons.  Easy to save.  You can use a manufacturer coupon when you buy the product AND then get the money back for the product.  Example: There's a Tresemme rebate on Ibotta right now where if you buy a 32 oz (specified type) of Tresseme you get a $1.50 back.  You can also use a $1.00/1 Tresseme coupon when you buy it in stores.  So if you bought it from Walmart for about $3.34, you can use the $1.00/1 Tresseme coupon so you pay $2.34 in store.  Submit your receipt to Ibotta and get back $1.50 on top of that, making the final price: $0.84.  Not bad!  Also, the Paypal transfer is fast.

Cons: Scanning of the barcode can be tricky on Android devices.  They're working on it, though.  And it's a little time consuming to watch videos and answer polls.  Product list is still kind of small as well.  Again, it's new, so this will only improve.

4. Hotel Tonight Android and Apple Compatible
     This app helps save money when you need to book a hotel in a hurry.  We all know we can save money by booking in advance, or catching a special.  This app specifically woks for you to book, well like it says, a Hotel Tonight.  Currently only supports most major US cities.  You automatically get a credit of anywhere from $25-$35 when you sign up to be used when you book your first hotel stay in their app.  You can sort by hotel star rating or from price lowest to highest.  They get their deals by booking last minute deals with the hotels.  Hotels would rather book cheaper rooms than to have a room empty for the night anyway!

Pros: Great for last minute. App is easy to use.  No coupons required.  Extra bonus credit for sign up can make your hotel as cheap as $50!

Cons:  Only currently supports major US cities.  Can't book ahead of time.  Literally only for TONIGHT.

3. The Coupons App Android Compatible
     This app will give you stores, restaurants and online shopping codes that are available.  I use this app most often to get free Redbox DVD rentals.  I've also used it in clothing stores just to check if there's a coupon I didn't know about.  Easy to access.  Random deals on fast food restaurants and websites too.  Great to use on the go!

Pros: Easy to use.  Quick to scroll through.  Wide variety of selections.

Cons: Selections tend to be limited.  Mostly good for clothing stores and online shopping codes.

2. Wrapp Android and Apple Compatible
     Wrapp is a fantastic app where you can give gift cards via cell phone.  The best part?  Half of them are FREE to give!  Good ones too!  Like $5 gift card to Toys R Us and Office Depot.  My favorite gift card?  $10 to  I had never used this website before.  I activated the gift card on, but didn't really see anything I had to have.  I let the gift card sit in my account dormant for 24 hrs, and the website itself sent me ANOTHER $10 gift card.  So now I have $20 to use on the website.  I ended up getting stuff I was REALLY excited about and only had to pay $4.95 shipping!  When the package came in the mail, it had another $5 gift card in it and the box was awesome!  I know that sounds strange, but it really was neat =)  So, I gave my husband the $10 gift card through Wrapp.  Then he waited 24 hrs and also received ANOTHER $10 gift certificate from in ADDITION to the $5 gift card I got in my package from the first order.  So this time I got $25 worth of stuff from their website for only $4.95 shipping!  Woohoo!  Anyway, so these gift cards are awesome.  Love them.  THey will randomly have deals like send someone a $15 card to Game stop (that one you have to pay for) and receive one free for yourself!  Woohoo!  And the ones you can use in store like Toys R Us or Office Depot are literally gift cards.  You can use them on generally anything in store.  We got cleaning supplies at Office Depot and sponges, because we needed them.  And they were free.  Sweet deal!  Also great for if you forgot someone's birthday or don't want to take time to go to the store, you can send them a gift card you pay for (THAT list is huge...Toys R Us, Game Stop, Build-A-Bear, Sephora, Levi's Gap, Old Navy and more!).

Pros: FREE GIFT CARDS.  Doesn't get better than that.  Great for spouses.  Send a gift card to your spouse and your spouse can send one to you.  Double the gift cards for free!   Great for last minute gifts so you don't even have to go to the store.

Cons: List of free gift cards is small and for small amounts.  You have to install the app to use the gift cards, so for people you send the gift card to, they may think it's spam because it's too good to be true.

And Here is THE number 1 app for free stuff and saving money in my book:

1. Shopkick Android and Apple Compatible

     Shopkick gets you points (called "kicks") for literally walking into a store.  Not for buying anything, just for walking in.  You can also get kicks for scanning products in-store.  Not for buying and THEN scanning, JUST for scanning.  You use these "kicks" to earn gift cards or products in-app.  Gift cards like Target, Best Buy, Starbucks, Macy's and more.  It doesn't take a lot of kicks to earn a gift card either.  500 kicks gets you a $2 gift card to Target.  My husband downloaded (see: I took his phone and downloaded it for him) the shopkick app when we walked into Target the other day.  He got 50 kicks for signing up under me.  He got 200 kicks for walking into Target.  He scanned (see: I scanned for him) the products you could scan for points in Target.  By the time we left after shopping at Target, he had already earned more than enough kicks to get a $2 gift card.  The gift cards aren't sent to you in the mail and you don't have to print anything off, you "purchase" one in-app, and they just appear in your "rewards" section.  You click the gift card and the barcode pops up for the cashier to scan.  Viola!  Easy as pie!  Not only do you get kicks, but the lookbooks you can look through have specific coupons that are only found in Shopkick.  Pretty great!  I've been shopkicking for 2 months and have already earned well over $16 in gift cards for just walking into stores I already go in the first place.

Tip: When you see a blue star in the corner of a lookbook (you'll know what that is after downloading the app) that means there's a "surprise" inside that will hold extra kicks or bonuses =)

Pros: SUPER easy to use.  Easy to collect kicks.  Use kicks for gift cards and things I actually want!  Who doesn't want a Starbucks gift card??  I can even get Target gift cards to buy groceries.  I can coupon for my groceries to make my gift cards last longer, too.  Great selection.

Cons: Sometimes when you walk into the store it can be buggy (see: Macy's and Best Buy) and not recognize you're in the store right away.  Tip: Go near the store's speakers, that's where the Shopkick signal is projected from.  VERY rarely it will be picky on the product you scan for points.  Make sure you pay attention to the details.

I hope you enjoyed my post on how to save money and free things.  Feel free to comment with other apps and ways you use YOUR smartphone to save money and to get free stuff!  We're only 16 days into 2013 and I've already received almost $100 in things I ACTUALLY wanted or needed for FREE thanks to my cell phone.  Not bad for 16 days ;)  Click here to get it: