Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Back in the Saddle - Free Food with Ibotta and Coupons

After Marshal was born I was a complete wreck and didn't leave the bedroom for a good month. Now, Dillon is ten days old and I can't wait to get out of the house. So I went grocery shopping! Oh the joys of motherhood.

Making grocery shopping fun for me is the challenge to save money - One great app I discovered for that is called Ibotta*. Together with coupons I made a pretty good haul today and felt almost normal.

Basically, Ibotta pays you cash money for buying groceries and items you normally buy anyway. The more you use the app the more bonuses and items you unlock. I've earned more than $50 cash back so far (using it for a couple of months) - and I haven't even spent that much out of pocket on items because I also use coupons with the items and try to find them on sale.

Using Ibotta and shopping at WinCo I actually got paid to buy a couple of items and got a few others for free.

The app itself is super simple - Take a picture of your receipt within the app and scan the bar code for each item. It takes about 2 minutes if you have a lot of items to scan...but only if you're really slow. =)

Here's my score using Ibotta.

Free cereal, granola, and yogurt - Total spent around $4

Yes, it may be "junk" food to you but the granola is healthy and so is the yogurt and the Oatmeal bars. Healthy by our standards at least. And hey, chocolate is a bean, so technically the chocolate milk is a veggie drink. Right?

Hershey's Cookies & Cream Cereal - $2.28
Ibotta cash $2
Coupon $0.50 off
$0.22 Money Maker

Vanilla Chex Cereal - $2.28
Ibotta Cash $2
Coupon $0.50 off
$0.22 Money Maker

Oatmeal Bars by Nature Valley - $1.98 each
Ibotta Cash $1.00 for One
Coupon $0.25
Cost: $2.71 for Two

Yoplait Yogurt - $0.49
Ibotta Cash $0.50
$0.01 Money Maker

Nature Valley Protein Granola - $2.98
Ibotta Cash $3.00
$0.02 Money Maker

Betty Crocker Cake - $1.18
Ibotta Cash $0.50
Cost $0.68

The Chocolate milks were not part of Ibotta cash back BUT the cereal and oatmeal bars had coupons for $0.50 off any milk - no size restrictions - so I got small chocolate milks as a treat for Marshal. Each one cost me about $0.55 after coupon.

So everything in the picture cost me out of pocket around $18 - minus coupons bringing it to about $15 and I get $9 cash back from Ibotta. AND Ibotta has bonus deals which I *should* qualify for giving me an additional $2 back. So the final total for everything above is about $4. Not too shabby.

Other Ibotta Stuff:

  • It IS cash back. It's not a reward card or points or anything like that. I can redeem the money anytime (Once I get $5) and have it transferred to my paypal account. 
  • I also love that you can use coupons along with getting cash back - making many of the items money makers. 
  • There's more than just food too - the items available for cash back rotate - fabric softener, scotch tape, and even movies have been available for cash back. 
  • There are several stores that participate in "bonus" cash back including Target, Winco, and Walmart - my three main sources of shopping.
  • You do have to have a smart phone but I don't think it's exclusive to the iPhone, which is what I have.

If you buy groceries this app is a no brainer...even if you only use it once in awhile you will earn cash on things you are buying anyway. I know the items I bought aren't the healthiest - and for you healthier folks never fear - they do have organic and gluten free items pop up as available items. :)

* My referral link - sign up and download the app and you'll get a $10 sign up bonus!

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