7 Money-Saving Apps You Need to Start Using Right Now

woman shopping and using smartphoneNever in a million years did I think I would be "that mom." You know, the one who spent an hour or two each week, gathering coupons, and mapping out a shopping game plan to save money. Growing up, I always thought it was silly to waste so much time for a measly quarter off. Boy, was I wrong.

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Even though I'm still an amateur in the couponing game, I can't tell you how much my family has saved already. Here's some of the apps I've found success using -- along with a few tips that will hopefully make your money-saving endeavors all the more lucrative.

1. Coupons.com. Whether you subscribe to the Sunday paper or not (I do, but still want more, more, more!), Coupons.com is a pretty sweet resource. Their smartphone app allows you to weed through their current coupons, "clip" them, and then print or send via email for future use. This is my go-to resource in the event the coupon pamphlets in the paper are meh that week.

Also: It's okay if you don't sign up for coupon newsletters from different blogs. Many pull coupons from Coupons.com, and use an affiliate link so they can earn a little something something.

2. Smartsource. Even though there's a phone app (personally, I'm not a huge fan), I find skimming through their coupons online is faster and more efficient.

3. Target Cartwheel. Can we talk? I. Love. This. App. Seriously! I live in Oklahoma where's it's pretty common to shop for groceries at Walmart (we'll get to that) or Target. This app allows me to store offers that can be used at checkout. What's great is that you can save anywhere from 5 to 40 percent off on pick-me-ups, household essentials, and more.

Every week, I'm able to save at least $15 to $20 at Target because I base my shopping list on discount offers, and look for coupons to double my savings.

Also: Did you know Target has online coupons for you to print? Some are specific to their store, but most are for general use. You can also get coupon alerts sent to your phone.

More from The Stir: 5 Most Ridiculous Groceries I Bought Because I Had a Coupon

4. Walmart. Thankfully, my local Walmart (there are soo many here) is clean and full of local produce and meats. We all know that Walmart is notorious for lower prices, which makes their app (oh yes, they have one) a great download. Not only can you check out the weekly circular for items on sale, but you mark your local store that allows you to check product availability, and the aisle it's located (mommies on the go should love this).

Tip: If you're out at another store shopping and think you can get your needs cheaper at Walmart, open up the app, and search for the product (it will give you the price).

I enjoy scanning my receipts into the Savings Catcher, that compares what you bought to prices in your area -- and gives you back the difference if any of your items were cheaper elsewhere. Sometimes you don't get anything back, and other times, you might get cents or dollars added to your account (you accrue your money until you're ready to use it). This doesn't offer guaranteed savings each shopping trip (that's why I like Target's Cartwheel app), but you can save up your money to use for big purchases -- like a holiday dinner, or special occasion.

Also: Walmart.com has printable coupons that you can use in other stores (score!).

5. Ibotta. Come close to your computer screen -- I need to tell you something. You need a few cash back apps on your phone, and Ibotta is a good place to start. One of the things I love about this app is how you can earn $0.20 to $1.00 back on weekly grocery deals that could be as random as a loaf of bread. Some items are brand-specific (you can earn more bucks back for them), and others aren't -- that's great for those of us who enjoy more affordable items.

As you start to get money back, you can request money in your account to go to PayPal or Venmo (you have to meet a $10 threshold). You can also choose from a variety of gift cards that are great as small birthday or holiday gifts.

Also: Unlike other cash back apps, the offers on Ibotta don't run out if a ton of people use them.

6. SavingStar. While I don't always use this app (sometimes it has a specific quantity you need to buy, or a deal that gets "sold out"), it doesn't hurt to keep it in play. SavingStar can help you save up to 20 percent on veggie and fruit edibles, thanks to their Healthy Offer of the Week.

7. Snap by Groupon. Here's another cash back app that does have a limit on the amount of people who can use offers, but is still pretty decent. I'm a fan of Snap because you can get some nice money back for items that aren't brand specific.

More from The Stir: How Your Phone Can Save You a Bundle on Groceries

I'm sure there's much more to learn, but for now, I'm loving how much I save on groceries -- and look forward to finding more ways to put money back in my wallet. My almost 2-year-old and 5-month-old definitely cost money. If my husband and I are able to save or get some back, I ain't mad!

 

 

Image via xijian/iStock.com

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