I am grateful for the chance to talk about my favorite four money-saving apps for smartphones and how to use them! This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are mine alone. #MyDataMyWay #CollectiveBias
I feel like this is our year (2015), the year my husband and I really make financial goals together, discussing money without accusations, sitting down and creating a monthly budget side by side.
For the first four months of this year that’s been how things have been going. And it is awesome and also about freaking time. We are now talking about money and our financial situation as a team and the results have been very good!
While we have gone over in certain areas of our budget some months, we’ve gone under budget in other areas too.
As this is our first year really keeping a budget consistently, it’s a lot of trial and error and adjusting certain allocations each month as we know certain needs will arise or extra income will come our way (like tax returns).
One of the items we’ve been discussing lately in our budget is our cell phones.
We both have smartphones and wonder if the expense is worth it in our budget, as we also have a landline phone (we use an Ooma and spend all of about $3-$5 a month for unlimited local and long-distance calling) and don’t really use our cell phones often.
It’s a bit funny though thinking about how much we are paying for unlimited talk, text, and data for two smartphones when our cell phones when we were newlyweds were non-smart/touch-screen basic cell phones with the smallest texting packages, limited calling, and no data for the same price or more than we’ve been paying!
It is quite awesome how much the cost of cell phone services have decreased over the last six years.
Walmart Family Mobile
Because now our cell phone provider – Walmart Family Mobile – offers very affordable unlimited plans, which is perfect for our family’s thriftiness.
Walmart Family Mobile has four different plans all through the reliable 4G LTE T-Mobile network.
- $24.88/month for Unlimited Talk, Text, 2GB Data (then 2G speeds)
- $29.88/month for Unlimited Talk, Text, 4GB Data (then 2G speeds)
- $39.88/month for Unlimited Talk, Text, 14GB Data (then 2G speeds)*
- $49.88/month for Unlimited Talk, Text, Data & 10GB Mobile Hotspot*
*Includes unlimited calling to Mexico and Canada
The great thing about the Walmart Family Mobile service is that the second line is $5 less too. This means before taxes and fees, we will pay all of $54.76 for two phone lines with unlimited talk text and data.
It really is a great plan for our family! And you can use a phone you already use or pick up a phone from Walmart from as low as $19.84 for the ZTE Zinger or pick something a little nicer like the Alcatel Fierce 2 for $119.00.
To make the most out of our phones, I try to use some money saving apps! While they aren’t saving me the cost of the cell phone service itself (I wish!), it does help us get a little extra cash back here and there (which we are saving up to cash out probably near Christmas time). The money saving apps we use the most are the Target Cartwheel App, ShopKick, iBotta, and Snap.
Money Savings App for SmartPhones
1. ShopKick App
ShopKick is a different kind of savings app as it doesn’t give you instant cash back or savings. It’s a points savings app that is actually kind of fun to use! You get kicks (like points) for doing something as simple as walking into a store. Really. For walking into popular retailers like Walmart, Sam’s Club, Target, Best Buy, Target, JCPenney, American Eagle Outfitters, Aerie, Sports Authority, and Randalls. (Please note that the stores I am listing are just what are close to me. There are many other retailers that work with ShopKick but it is based on your location what will show up in the app for you.)
To get walk-in kicks, you have to first download the app (you’ll get 100 kicks to get you started), then have it open on your phone when you go shopping. The app will even try to remind you turn it on when they sense that you are near a store with walk-in kicks available. How thoughtful of it. Make sure your bluetooth is one and just open the app at the store entrance and walk on in! You can get between 35-50 kicks just for doing this. If you shop a lot, or shop a lot at these stores (I frequent Target, Sam’s Club, and Walmart semi-regularly) the points can start adding up pretty quick for shopping you were going to do anyway. The walk-in kicks aren’t always available every day though.
If you like to window shop or browse stores, the ShopKick app rewards you for that too. Certain stores offer Scan Kicks if you scan certain items (on their list) as you shop in store. These items seem to be pretty random, like a certain brand/style of diapers, a Barbie doll, a magazine, dog food, personal care products, or some snack food. Stores that offer Kicks for Scans are Sam’s Club, Target, CVS, H-E-B, Walmart, and Randalls (at least in my area).
Just pull up the app when you get in store, see if there are scan kicks available, clicks on the scan button under the retailer’s page, select the item you are going to scan the barcode on, and then scan the barcode on the items as you come across them as you shop. You can get 10-50 kicks per scan, depending on the item.
Kicks for Purchases
The last way to get kicks from the ShopKick app is to make purchases from their partnered retailers. Doing so will make the kicks accumulate much faster! To get kicks for purchases, you need to input your credit card data (which is secured by a different reputable company) for which you’ll get bonus kicks, so that after you make a purchase at that store, your kicks will automatically be added to your account! However, not all stores offer kicks for purchases through your credit card. Best Buy for example asks you tell the cashier at checkout that you want to use the ShopKick app, and he’ll then ask for your cell phone number, enter a code on the cash register, and then a day or two later, you will get kicks to your account! So be sure to read the fine print for each retailer that offers the kicks for purchases so you don’t miss out!
Stores that offer kicks for purchases are Marshalls, Best Buy, JCPenney, Levi’s Outlet Store, Carter’s, OshKosh B’Gosh, American Eagle Outfitters, Aerie, Disney Outlet, and T. J. Maxx.
Getting kicks for purchases is pretty awesome. You get 1 kick per every $1 spent but then you get additional bonus kicks when you spend certain tiered amounts (which will depend on the store). At Marshalls, for example, you can get an extra 75 kicks if you spend $25; 200 kicks if you spend $50; and 500 kicks if you spend $100. So if you spend $100 you would receive 600 kicks!
Now, I’m sure you’re wondering what on earth all these kicks get you and when. Just as on any points reward app or site, there are different prizes or rewards you can claim. Most of the low-kick rewards are things like gift cards (for various amounts to certain stores), a Redbox rental, magazine subscription, or to make a donation to the American Red Cross. Bigger rewards show pictures of things like jewelry, purses, cameras, TVs, stand mixer, and an iPad, but all of these are really still gift card rewards (just for large amounts that these items would cost). However, they do have a Vespa as a reward, for you know, 1,875,000 kicks, and a Princess Cruise Trip for 6,250,000 kicks. So, if you really wanted to, you could save up your kicks for those rewards.
So far I have earned 6,320 kicks since I started using ShopKick around November 17, 2014, so for about five months. Those kicks are enough to get me a $25 Best Buy gift card (6250 kicks). For something that is fun and easy to do, it’s nice to be rewarded! Plus, I’m doing these things anyway, walking into a store and buying things.
2. iBotta App
The iBotta app is a pretty popular couponing type app. It’s designed to be social (as you work as a “team” to earn extra cash rewards), and rewarding. They have special bonus rewards that you can get (or badges they call them) each month which mean extra cash. Plus, they offer rebates even on some items from Amazon.com, restaurants like Quiznos, and travel sites like Orbitz. However, the app does take a little more time than other savings apps to get your rebates and cash back.
I mostly use this app for my grocery store and regular purchases. I love it when they have rebate rewards for things like “Any Brand Milk” or “Any Brand Cereal.” It makes using this app awesome as it doesn’t have to be a name brand or specific brand (which most of the items are). Plus, it means I can always cash in on those rebates as I buy cereal and milk all the time. Even if the cash back is only $0.25, it is 25 cents I would not have received back otherwise.To use the iBotta App, you first need to download it. You can click on a category like “Grocery” which will pull up popular retailers like Walmart, Kroger, Target, H-E-B, Walgreens, Whole Foods Market, Sam’s Club, Costco, and even the Military Commissary. Click on the store you shopped. Scroll through the items and there and touch the items that you plan on buying or already bought. When you click on an item it will pull up a screen with that item, details on package sizes and variety required. Under that it will have one or more circles with a price point associated with it. It could be a survey, a video, or something else. Click on that circle and complete the action required (watch the video or answer the questions). This will unlock the monetary rebate for you. However, you still need to buy this item.
When you are done shopping, click the “Redeem” button at the middle bottom of the app, and select the appropriate store. It will then prompt you to do step one which is “Verify Purchases.” It will ask you to physically scan with your phone the items that you bought on that one receipt. This means you’ll need to get out that can or soup or gallon of milk and scan the barcode found on the packages.After you do this for all the items on the app you’re going to redeem, it will then ask you to scan and submit the receipt from the store. So you’ll take pictures of your receipt with your phone, following their guides, adding on a section if the receipt is long, and then hitting submit. Your account is usually credited that same day.
When you have at least $10 credited to your iBotta account, you can cash out! You can receive your cash via your paypal or venmo account, or as a gift card for Best Buy, Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, Express, Aeropostale, Regal Theaters, or iTunes. Since I started using the iBotta app regularly about five or six months ago I have earned $11.50. It’s not much, but it’s something. I think the real key to using iBotta is the teamwork and using it often so that you can get bonuses each month. However, the app is more work than other apps and the savings tend to be fairly small.
3. Fetch App
One of the ways I personally earn rewards while shopping for groceries is with the Fetch Rewards App. The real cool thing is you can scan your grocery receipts from wherever you shop, so you are not restricted to a specific store or location. With each scan you earn points redeemable for gift cards at the best of the best e-tailers like Amazon, Wal-Mart and Target.
I really enjoy saving money, and when it is made easy through a smart phone app, I really can’t complain, especially when that smartphone is through Walmart Family Mobile. It means less money being spent on unlimited talk, text, and data each month on an expense that is hard to avoid. I love that with the smart phones I can be rewarded and earn cash back from these money saving apps can actually make a difference, because having a cell phone is just one of those expenses you have, so I’m glad we’ve found a way to make the service affordable for our family, and use them to save us money elsewhere.
How do you save with your smart phone? Do you save on the service? Do you save with other apps?