Katy tests money-saving apps, tools, and websites to find ones that are legitimate, easy to use, and effective to share with readers.
Ibotta is an app with electronic coupons that gives you cash back on groceries. It's so easy to use: just submit a pic of your receipt and earn credit for certain purchases.
It takes a bit of work but can result in a lot of cash back. Here's my review.
How to Use Ibotta
Before we get to the review, let’s look at how Ibotta works. To get started, sign up for Ibotta and install the app.
Then, earning cash back rewards is a multi-step process:
- Add offers for specific products in the app
- Buy those products in store
- Scan the receipt and bar codes
- Earn cashback
Offers refresh weekly. Most coupons return for the next week so you can figure out what works for your family and repeat it. After your earnings total at least $20 Ibotta lets you transfer into a PayPal account.
How to Save Money on Groceries With Ibotta
Before going to the store you need to add “offers” for items you expect to buy. Start by selecting the grocery or convenience store you use. Most offers are available at multiple stores but some are exclusive to one store. So you need to be sure you have the store selected that you will be visiting.
Most of the offers are for grocery or home items. But some clothing retailers also offer Ibotta cash back. Each week there are a handful of "Any Item" offers.
It's not difficult to find a store that works with Ibotta. Here are some of the stores Ibotta has rewards for:
- Home: Walmart, Target, Home Depot
- Pharmacy: CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid
- Grocery: Albertson’s, Kroger, Safeway
- Convenience: 7-Eleven, Shell, Circle K
It seems every major chain store in the United States has some sort of offer. You can also use the mobile shopping portal for cash back at online retailers like eBay or Groupon. They don’t have the best percent cash back at any given time but the rates are fairly competitive.
Once you've added all the offers you expect to use it's time to go shopping. You can view all the offers you selected for a certain store in the app. If you're unsure if a product meets the criteria you can scan the bar code before purchasing.
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I've been using Ibotta for my family's grocery and Walmart trips for the past 2 years. I recommend anyone wanting to save money on groceries give it a try. Ibotta has both positives and negatives to be aware of.
- Many Stores
- 10-20% Back
- Fun to Use!
Ibotta has programs with most grocery stores in the country and even has offers outside of the US. Any store I go into with the intention of buying a brand name, I look at Ibotta first. The big contributor to me liking Ibotta so much is the value of the cash back offers. You get at least 50 cents for a brand name offer, usually more like $1.00 to $1.50. Earning money for buying the groceries you would anyway is super appealing to me. And even though it's a little bit of hands-on work it's pretty fun! Finding offers, stacking savings with coupons, and scanning the receipts is pretty fun. It's turned into a weekly game for me to see how much I can get. On a normal week's $100 grocery run I'll earn anywhere from $5-$10.
- Some Ads
- Active Work
- Items Not Available
The easy offers require you to watch an ad before you can select them. They're quick but can be annoying when you're trying to get through offers. Ibotta is certainly more active work than other cash back apps. It is disappointing when an offer I selected in the app isn't carried in the store. With snacks and coffee, I'm willing to try new brands just because they show up in Ibotta with a big refund amount. But about half the time those brands aren't even available in the store.
Is Ibotta Worth It?
So overall, is Ibotta worth it?
Ibotta is the most time-intensive of the rewards apps I use. I have to check the offers, buy the right items at the grocery store then upload the receipt and scan bar codes as I put items away at home.
I use a handful of other apps that give a percentage cash back automatically, like Drop. No receipt scanning is needed. But it does take longer to build up rewards with those apps. To me, Ibotta is worth a little bit of effort each week. It makes grocery shopping a little more rewarding.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2018 Katy Medium
Katy Medium (author) from Denver, CO on July 10, 2018:
I think so too Dred, thanks for reading!
Travel Chef from Manila on July 10, 2018:
Not bad at all. It makes a difference even just a penny worth of savings. Thanks for sharing!