From points to cashback to rebates, these are the best money saving apps and sites to help you through the cost of living crisis so you’ll never pay full price for your things again. purchases.
In the second of my consumer champion columns for YourMoney.com readers, I’m listing all the best proven apps and sites that reward you for your purchases, give you cashback or points, give you a direct discount off the list price, or even give you things for free…
cash back sites
These sites literally give you cash back when you shop at certain locations. TopCashback and Quidco are probably the best known, but another noted site is KidStart which lets you save cashback for your little ones.
With these sites, you must register and create an account. If you’re considering buying something from a retailer or a service such as an energy rate or broadband deal, check to see if the company offers cashback through those sites. You will then be redirected to the site so you can shop normally, but your purchase is tracked and the pennies can quickly turn into big money.
Cashback percentages vary, the usual being around 2% to 5%. However, I’ve been known to get around 20% off vacations before now. Some merchants will have limited time offers and sometimes discount codes. It’s worth trying out a few of the sites, as each website has different selling points and percentages. You can even give the link to your friends and family to use when purchasing items, and you can also get cash back for referring friends. The time frame in which you get the cashback amount varies from merchant to merchant.
Sajan Devshi is a big TopCashback user and has saved hundreds of pounds over the past year. For example, £101 for booking her holiday with OnTheBeach which cost £2,666, bringing the cost down to £2,565. Other savings included:
- Over £12 on a hotel room to attend a friend’s wedding out of town
- Over £75 saved when buying a TV at Currys online. His price matched a competitor, then he got an extra £75 refund
- Over £94 off a £236 outlay on home insurance, essentially bringing his cost of insurance down to £142
- Plus £13 cashback on AA cover that costs just £39
- £80 for signing up for a new Virgin Media broadband package after canceling his last one when the price rose. This increased the cost from £45 per month to £35 per month, plus £80 cashback on top.
Financial blogger, Al Baker AKA The Penny Pincher, also suggests using Karma Cashback alongside Topcashback. “Karma is great because you can buy a gift card through it, get cash back on the gift card, then buy something through TopCashback, pay with your gift card, then earn money on the purchase as well, so it’s a double cashback hit,” he says.
Supermarket shopping apps
Shopmium, Green Jinn, and CheckoutSmart are designed to offer you cashback on various household and food items. Download the app, register and choose the item with the discount, upload the receipt and barcode photo and the money will go to your account. Pick the right time and you can get a gift when you start.
You can get anything from 10p on a 100% item. Savvy bloggers practice what they preach when it comes to getting discounts. Emma Bradley, who runs the Mum’sSavvySavings blog, has only been using Shopmium for six weeks but has already saved 47% of her spending as she received £22.99 in cashback after spending £49.10.
On top of that, she earned £17.30 by referring friends to the app. You can get credits by completing your own cashback requests, so claiming at least one cashback request in order to use your referral credits. Emma says this means that in total she only spent £8.71 of her own money in a £49.10 store. Her best advice is to “look for things that are already on offer or free items. Free items can be added to a food bank if you don’t need/want them.
Bee Money Savvy blogger Emma Jackson saved around £200 on Shopmium, £99 on CheckoutSmart and £142 on Green Jinn.
In order to tackle the problem of food waste, OLIO connects neighbors with each other and with local businesses so that surplus food can be shared and not thrown away. The Too Good To Go application allows you to buy and collect food from shops at reduced prices.
Much More With Less blogger Faith Archer has used Too Good to Go several times over the past year. She spent £30.86 on short-term food that should have cost £94.75 full price, saving £63.89. She tends to get “magic bags” from Morrisons and Co-op near her in Suffolk. She also uses places like Starbucks and Costa Coffee when she is in London. She says the element of surprise with Too Good To Go is fun, but warns it’s “like a fluke, but you can also end up with things you normally would never buy or don’t like. I consider it more of a treat than a secret weapon to cut costs.
FreeStuffUK is an amazing website. Who doesn’t love something for nothing? And this site really gives you that. Many fresh offers are added every day. I just got a totally free mascara from there just by filling in my details. You will usually receive follow-up emails, sometimes with discount offers, but simply unsubscribe if you don’t want them. Essentially, companies offer freebies in exchange for your contact information.
Run by the same people as FreeStuffUK, LatestFreeStuff offers discounts on a wide variety of products as well as free stuff for taking surveys, taking quizzes and entering competitions.
Magic Freebies is another site that works like LatestFreeStuff.
A relatively new player in the cashback world, Jam Donut offers prepaid gift cards that you can redeem online, in-store, or over the phone where you earn rewards points. These points accumulate and once you have received £10 worth of points you can withdraw the money. The rewards range from 2.5% to 20% cashback.
Since October 2021, Graeme Duff has received £314 in cashback. He did it with Airbnb (£124) and the rest split about 50/50 between Sainsburys (4%), then ate at places like Miller & Carter, Pizza Express, Greene King Pubs and Costa. He says, “Whenever I’m about to buy something, I check to see if they’re on JamDoughnut, then I just buy a voucher for the amount I need.”
Another relatively new and growing player is My VIP Rewards. The app actually costs £3.99 per month to subscribe, but on average users can save around £40 per month. You can also try it currently for £1 using the discount code ‘SUMMERSAVER’. Deals abound for a range of retailers of all sizes. This is a money saving app that also supports the local community. It helps people save on supermarket shopping, going out, fitness, dining out and, most importantly, supporting small, independent businesses. The site says it offers 5,500 discounts and claims you can save up to 58% on UK attractions and up to 40% on cinema tickets.
Nicole Ratcliffe has saved £167.15 in the last five months she has used it. She bought £9.99 cinema seats for £3.50 and a £100 restaurant gift card for her parents, but paid £88 for it. So it makes sense to watch this app before you go out to eat because you might buy yourself a gift card first.
Sign up for the Airtime Rewards app and when you make purchases from their retail partners, you’ll receive cash rewards on your mobile bill.
Fun Money Club blogger Neesha Rees has saved £94.60 over the past 12 months. On top of that, she also got an extra £38.50 in bonuses that you can receive for completing challenges and even getting random cash bonuses when you enter certain promo codes.
Track prices and search for discounts
Download the Honey app to track your purchases. Every time you go to a website and put items in your cart, it searches for available discount codes. My son uses this one well and often gets discounts for me when I buy his clothes!
Download the Petrol Prices app to compare petrol and diesel prices. Simply enter a postcode and the gas stations in the area, with the price per litre, will be displayed. This is ideal if you do more than local driving. I found 20 pence a liter difference between two supermarkets a few miles apart. If you fill up your car regularly, this app could save you a lot of money.
Camel Camel Camel monitors the prices of items for sale on Amazon and lets you know when prices drop, as well as price history. Check if these bargains are really what they claim to be.
Pricechecker, Pricerunner, PriceSpy and Idealo all compare prices from different sites for the same item, so it can also be worth checking them out before buying anything.
Tips for using cashback and rebate sites
It is important to remember that many retailers will be enrolled in more than one program. There will also be different discounts at different times, so always compare prices before buying.
If you remember to use apps and websites every time you shop, the savings will soon increase. You can keep track of what you save and where. This will encourage you to keep going and save more.
Helen Dewdney – The Complaining Cow – is a consumer advocate and consumer rights expert who has written two bestselling books on how to complain. YourMoney.com readers can get 15% off these posts with coupon code YMCow.
She has partnered with YourMoney.com to provide our readers with advice, information and action points regarding your consumer rights and to help you with your money. If you have a burning question or problem and would like Helen’s help with a consumer issue, email us at [email protected] where we will endeavor to right those wrongs.