It’s no secret that I love grocery rebate apps. If you’ve spent any time on my blog, you should be well aware of my infatuation with them!
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But what’s not to love? I spend maybe 30 minutes prepping for a trip to the store by browsing through rebates. Then, once I’m back home, I spend another 5 or 6 minutes confirming my rebates. Botta Bing, Botta Boom! Cash back within 24 hours.
I’ve only been a user of money saving phone apps for a little over a year, but I’ve managed to get $302.41 to date. Rebate apps (along with a few other tricks) literally paid for my daughter’s Christmas gifts last year.
$300 in about a year. It isn’t a huge number compared to some of the super rebate app users out there, this Ibotta Facebook group is proof of that, but it’s enough money that I don’t complain about the small amount of time I spend making it happen.
Which two apps do I use the most? Ibotta and Checkout 51. Both work on the same concept: search through their available rebates, pick the ones you want, purchase the items at the store, prove you purchased them and wait for the app to put money in your account.
Although the idea is similar, these apps are also very different. Let’s jump in and compare the two apps, shall we?
This category definitely isn’t a top priority for me. An app could be really complicated to use, but if it’ll save me a few bucks, I’ll just suck it up and deal with the annoyance.
This is an area where Checkout 51 does well, though. Scroll through the available rebates and you can choose to press a star on the right hand side of each item and have it saved to the top of your list. When you redeem rebates after your shopping trip, those starred rebates will be really easy to find!
Another neat feature is that you don’t have to have a smart phone to use it. You can use Checkout 51 from your tablet or computer, too!
This is where Checkout 51 really struggles to compete with Ibotta. Although their selection of rebates has grown since I started using it, the amount of rebates they have just doesn’t compare to Ibotta.
Checkout 51 offers a few bonus opportunities on top of their rebates. It’s sort of like “Buy 3 offers in ________ category and get an extra $1”. Not too shabby if you’re buying a multiple items that fall into the category.
Checkout 51 allows you to cash out when you reach $20. I’ve only cashed out once so far, but I’m close to cashing out again. I haven’t made a ton of money using it, but I do think it’s neat that they send you a check in the mail rather than making you choose a gift card or use Pay Pal like so many other rebate apps.
One thing I really don’t like about Ibotta is that I have to perform a task to unlock a rebate. Unlike Checkout 51, I either have to answer a survey question, watch a video or read a recipe. It’s not as convenient as Checkout 51, but it isn’t the worst thing in the world, either. The savings is definitely worth the hassle!
A super neat feature that Ibotta has and I haven’t found anywhere else is that you can add your friends. If people are on your “team”, they can help you with the monthly team challenges. We’ll get into that a little more later.
Ibotta has a HUGE selection of rebates. The largest of any rebate app I’ve tried! I really love that it has rebates for alcohol, too. Wine, beer, flavored malt alcohol, and hard alcohol are all included on the list of rebates.
There are a TON of bonuses. They offer bonuses for buying certain items. Right now there’s a $0.50 bonus for buying Ghirardelli cookie mix 3 times. Plus there’s a $0.50 rebate for the cookie mix. That’s $2 back for 3 boxes of cookie mix.
There are monthly team challenge bonuses. If you have friends who use Ibotta, you can add them to your “team”. You have to redeem a certain amount of rebates yourself and your entire team has to earn a certain amount of money. There are 4 levels that allow you to earn more and more money with the first payout being $1.
Sometimes there are bonuses for simply redeeming a certain amount of rebates by a certain date. This happened leading up to Christmas and the Super Bowl. I had to redeem 20 rebates between the beginning of December and Christmas to earn an extra $20 bonus. About two weeks before the Super Bowl I was able to redeem 8 rebates and received a $5 bonus.
Oh, and this is a great piece of info, too: If you refer a friend to Ibotta, you receive $5 and they receive $10 when they redeem their first rebate! Talk about a win/win!
You can cash out once you reach $20. Unlike Checkout 51, you have to use Pay Pal or choose from a large selection of gift cards.
I always pick an Amazon gift card. Unlike Pay Pal, I won’t be charged a fee and lose money. Plus Amazon has just about everything you could possibly want to buy, so it works out!
AND THE WINNER IS…
If I could only use one of these apps, I’d pick Ibotta. It definitely allows for more opportunities to get cash back.
That being said, I think the best plan of attack is to use the two apps in unison. There have been many occasions when both apps have had rebates for the same product. So, instead of getting $0.50 back on an item, I can receive $0.75 or $1. There’s nothing wrong with that!