We’re about a week away now.
It’s the stretch that makes or breaks the year — the holiday shopping season.
This year, some retailers are a little worried about the late date of Thanksgiving. The gap between Thanksgiving and Christmas is almost a week shorter than usual.
Given that holiday sales usually make up about 20% of total annual sales — and up to 30% for some retailers — their worries are understandable. But the data thus far aren’t showing much of a slowdown. Just a bit of bleed into the pre-holiday season.
Of course, the best deals will still come around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. (And we’re fast organizing some special deals for you right here — stay tuned!) But given the short buying season, lots of folks are already getting started.
I know I have… My sister is already plotting her revenge for my gift of an electric guitar for her eldest daughter.
Anyway — now seems like the best time to get you into a few cashback and rebate apps.
Whether you want to set yourself up for shopping in a week or so… or get a head start right now… these apps can save you money all over the internet.
We’re going to dig a little deeper to save you money — finding the apps and extensions most folks haven’t heard of.
But they can save you hundreds of dollars this shopping season. So let’s get right to it.
Kick That Full-Price Shopping Habit
The Shopkick app works a little differently from most rebate apps.
Sure, you can earn points — which they call kicks — for shopping both online and off. And those points can be redeemed for gift cards, giving you a little gift for giving gifts to others.
But what makes Shopkick unique is how many other ways there are to earn points…
You can get points just for walking into a store, for instance. Or by scanning an item to compare prices. Even linking your credit card to your Shopkick account can earn you points!
Now, it’s important you know how this works. Shopkick rewards you these points as a form of payment for doing market research, using you as the subject.
Some people won’t like that. I know I’m always weirded out by all the things tracking me.
But this one is different. In this case, Shopkick doesn’t collect intelligence behind your back. And with Shopkick, at least it’s a fair trade — you get something in exchange for your data.
Shopkick is leading the way in ethical data collection. And since you’re getting tracked by countless apps anyway, at least Shopkick pays you for the privilege.
Ibotta Shop a Lot (Go Ahead and Groan)
We’ve been promised an app like Ibotta for a while. Finally, it’s here.
Like many other rebate apps, you can earn points and cash back from many of your purchases on Ibotta.
But that’s not the end of the story…
If you link store loyalty accounts, Ibotta will also scour all possible discounts and coupons for that store.
And it will automatically call them up for your use when you need them — whether you’re shopping online or in store.
Forget Extreme Couponing — this is coupon-clipping for the digital age.
Check This Out!
Checkout 51 works a lot like Ibotta. It offers cash back on every purchase — and it finds all the discounts and coupons you could possibly use.
The big difference?
While Ibotta works with most retailers offering consumer goods, gifts and such, Checkout 51 is laser-focused on groceries.
And of course, grocery stores offer coupons at a rate you just won’t see anywhere else.
If I were you, I’d download this app before you finish your turkey dinner shopping. And keep it there for all the meals that come after!
Fetch Me Some Rewards
Fetch Rewards looks a lot like Checkout 51. With a small twist.
Both give you rewards for shopping at grocery stores. And both can provide you coupons at stores and on products that you use regularly.
But Checkout 51 puts a greater emphasis on grabbing those coupons. And — while I haven’t done a deep side-by-side comparison — given the way each app markets itself, I’d wager Checkout 51 can give you a wider selection of coupons.
However — Fetch has its advantage as well.
Namely, it works directly with companies to bring you extra-special deals — sort of like having a Black Friday doorbuster every day of the week.
Which of these apps you prefer is a matter of personal taste. And you will have to make a decision — as most of these apps can’t work alongside one another. You’ve got to pick your favorite and run with it.
It’s worth taking a moment to figure out which you like — and putting it in place now — before your shopping season really gets started.
Because yes — money is going to fly out of your hands at an uncomfortable rate for the holidays. You’ll probably spend more than you wanted to without even realizing it.
But these apps can help take the sting out of that spending. And even leave you with a nice surprise gift at the end of the year — all for you.
After all, what better way to celebrate the holidays than to get what you really want when it’s all over?
Editor-in-chief, Unconventional Wealth
P.S. There’s another way to rack up points and cash back on every purchase… without having to worry about downloading an app or scanning receipts. Rewards credit cards basically offer you a discount on the entire world. Every time you buy anything with a reward card, a percentage will come straight back to you. Find the best reward credit card for yourself here.
Ryan Cole is the editor-in-chief of Unconventional Wealth. He’s been covering the alternative investment space for nearly a decade and writing about finance and investment for almost 20 years.
Ryan has walked the walk for years, living a very unconventional life. He’s led snowmobile tours through the mountains of Colorado, settled in Japan for five...