When it comes to the biggest family household expenses, the four highest are typically:

  1. Housing
  2. Transportation
  3. Education
  4. Food

Cutting expenses for housing, education, and transportation takes time and effort. It might require moving, selling a car, or saving for 10 years in a 529 plan. That leaves food as the budget category where it’s easy to make a real dent in your monthly expenditures.

One easy way to save on groceries is to use cash-back apps. In most cases, you don’t have to change much. It only takes a minute or two to scan the item and receipt after you’re done shopping. 

With that in mind, here are the best cash-back apps for groceries. All of them are free, and all of them can save you some serious money. 

Apps are broken down into three categories:

  • Top Cash Back Apps for Groceries. These are apps just about everyone can benefit from. They have a large number of great reviews, they work at most stores and for a large variety of items, and many can be stacked to produce maximum savings. 
  • More Apps to Maximize Your Cash Back. These apps are great in the right circumstances. They may work well for a certain type of shopper (e.g., healthy eaters) or require a bit more work than taking a quick picture with your phone. Yet, in the right circumstances, you can save a lot of money with these apps, so definitely read through the entire list. 
  • Store Specific Shopping Apps. These apps work at only one store.

Top Cash Back Apps for Groceries

Ibotta - Save money on groceries

#1 ⁠— Ibotta

Quick summary: Download and search the Ibotta app for digital coupons on food and other items at grocery and retail stores, both brick-and-mortar and online. Buy the items you had coupons for, and upload a picture of your receipt to your Ibotta account. The Ibotta app will deposit your cash-back bonus into your account within 48 hours of verification. Once your account reaches $20, you can transfer it to your PayPal or Venmo account.

Did you know: Ibotta is best known as a cash-back grocery app, but you can get rebates at hundreds of non-grocery retailers too.

App Store ratings: 4.7/5 with over 545,000 reviews.

Google Play ratings: 4.5/5 with over 398,000 reviews.

Sign-up bonus: New users will receive a $10 bonus for creating a new Ibotta account.

#2 — Shopkick

Quick summary: Link a debit or credit card to the Shopkick app. You’ll earn points, called Kicks, when you purchase eligible items and submit a copy of your receipt. Your Kicks can be redeemed for gift cards from dozens of retailers.

Did you know: There are four different ways to earn Kicks with the Shopkick app: By walking into a specific store, by scanning certain products, by buying products and uploading a receipt, and by linking your credit card and making a purchase at designated locations.

App Store ratings: 4.7/5 with over 43,000 reviews.

Google Play ratings: 4.3/5 with over 219,000 reviews.

Sign-up bonus: Get 250 Kicks by using the promo code SHOP015746 when you sign up for a new account.

Receipt Hog Home Page

#3 — Receipt Hog

Quick summary: If you like flexibility, you’ll love Receipt Hog. It doesn’t matter what store you shop at or what you buy. You can upload any receipt and earn points, called Coins, for every upload. The number of Coins you earn depends on the amount you spend, so the more you buy, the more you save. Coins can be redeemed for cash via PayPal or Amazon gift cards.

Did you know: You can upload restaurant receipts, so if you’re at a group dinner, offer to pay the full amount on your credit card and your dinner partners can give you their portion in cash or Venmo. Restaurant receipts will enter you into a monthly drawing to win 5,000 Coins.

App Store ratings: 4.7/5 with over 63,000 reviews.

Google Play ratings: 4.5/5 with over 96,000 reviews.

Sign-up bonus: None currently available.

#4 — Fetch Rewards

Quick summary: With the Fetch Rewards app, users can earn points for buying eligible brands (the product doesn’t matter) as well as specific products. You don’t have to preselect the items; just upload a photo of your receipt showing you bought them. The number of points earned is based on the cost of the product. You can redeem your points for gift cards.

Did you know: There is nothing stopping you from uploading the same receipt to both Fetch Rewards and Receipt Hog. Double dip!

App Store ratings: 4.7/5 with over 120,000 reviews.

Google Play ratings: 4.3/5 with over 25,000 reviews.

Sign-up bonus: Get 2,000 points when you scan your first receipt.

#5 — Coupons.com

Quick summary: Download the free app and choose digital coupons from dozens of grocery stores, pharmacies, and other retailers. You can also add coupons to your store loyalty cards (those bar-coded plastic tags on your keychain) so they’ll register when the cashier scans the card. For stores without loyalty cards, you can upload your receipt to receive cash-back on the items in the app. (The cash will be sent to your PayPal account.)

Did you know: You can sign up to receive alerts so coupons are sent directly to your email if you don’t want to search through the app.

App Store ratings: 4.7/5 with over 111,000 reviews.

Google Play ratings: 4.3/5 with over 32,000 reviews.

Sign-up bonus: None currently available.

CoinOut Home Page

#6 — CoinOut

Quick summary: CoinOut is an app that acts as a digital wallet to store spare change and cash-back from participating stores. When you pay in cash, the cashier selects the CoinOut option rather than handing you your change; you scan your phone, and the money is deposited into your digital wallet. You can also upload receipts from participating retailers and have cash-back added to your wallet. Each partnered store gives back a percentage of each dollar you spend in certain categories; you can then have the money sent to your bank account or redeem it for gift cards.

Did you know: If you use the cash-based envelope method of budgeting, this app is your new best friend.

App Store ratings: 4.7/5 with over 25,000 reviews.

Google Play ratings: 4.5/5 with over 6,000 reviews.

Sign-up bonus: None currently available.

#7 — SavingStar

Quick summary: SavingStar lets users connect their grocery store loyalty cards to their account or scan their receipts. Activate the rebates before you shop; each time you buy an eligible item, the app is notified and applies any coupons or rebates to your account. The money in your account will be sent to your bank or PayPal account, or you can redeem it for gift cards.

Did you know: This app has solid rebates ⁠— most are worth at least $1, and some pay as much as $5.

App Store ratings: 4.1/5 with over 4,000 reviews.

Google Play ratings: 4.2/5 with over 62,000 reviews.

Sign-up bonus: None currently available.

#8 — ReceiptPal

Quick summary: With a few exceptions, you can upload a receipt from almost anywhere you shop and earn points with ReceiptPal. Every four receipts will earn you 100 points, and you can submit up to 20 per week. The points can be redeemed for gift cards.

Did you know: For every receipt you upload, you’ll be entered into a weekly drawing that takes place each Monday and pays out $250.

App Store ratings: 4.7/5 with over 5,000 reviews.

Google Play ratings: 3.9/5 with over 5,000 reviews.

Sign-up bonus: None currently available.

More Apps to Maximize Your Cash Back

These apps offer some of the best ways to save and earn cash-back other than by uploading receipts. Many can be paired with the services above in order to double-dip or triple-dip on savings. 

Acorns Home Page

#1 — Acorns

Quick summary: You probably know of Acorns as a micro-investing app, but you might not know they offer a cash-back feature for online purchases. Download the Chrome “Found Money” extension, and when you shop with more than 200 partners, you’ll earn cash-back that will be invested directly into your Acorns account.

Did you know: Acorns’ Found Money has partnered with sites like Expedia, Airbnb and Uber, so you can save on your travel expenses.

App Store ratings: 4.7/5 with over 416,000 reviews.

Google Play ratings: 4.4/5 with over 74,000 reviews.

Sign-up bonus: When you and a friend sign up for Acorns, the app will invest $5 for each of you.

#2 — Dosh

Quick summary: When you create your Dosh account, you’ll link a credit or debit card and you’ll receive up to 10% cash-back when you use that card to make purchases at thousands of online stores, brick-and-mortar retail establishments and restaurants. The money is deposited into your Dosh Wallet and can be transferred to your bank or PayPal account.

Did you know: If you link a cash rewards credit card, you’ll get cash-back from both your card and Dosh. Double-dipping again.

App Store ratings: 4.7/5 with over 87,000 reviews.

Google Play ratings: 4.6/5 with over 37,000 reviews.

Sign-up bonus: None currently available.

#3 — Flipp

Quick summary: If you don’t get the Sunday paper but miss flipping through the weekly grocery shopping circulars that are tucked inside, meet Flipp! Flipp lets you see all the circulars in your area (just enter your zip code when creating your account) so that you can save money on grocery items, household items, clothes, electronics, and more. “Clip” the coupons and they’ll be attached to your store loyalty cards.

Did you know: You can use the app’s price matching feature to get the lowest price in stores that allow price-match savings.

App Store ratings: 4.6/5 with over 71,000 reviews.

Google Play ratings: 4.6/5 with over 100,000 reviews.

Sign-up bonus: None currently available.

#4 — NCP Mobile

Quick summary: NCP Mobile is a barcode scanning app. Scan the barcodes of eligible items you buy, answer a few questions about the purchase, and then submit your feedback to earn points. The points you earn can be redeemed for gift cards.

Did you know: The longer you use the app, the more points you earn for each scan.

App Store ratings: 4.3/5 with over 2,700 reviews.

Google Play ratings: 4.3/5 with over 15,000 reviews.

Sign-up bonus: None currently available.

See Also: Nielsen Computer and Mobile Panel Review

Drop Rewards home page

#5 — Drop Rewards

Quick summary: Drop Rewards is easy to use. Just link your debit or credit card, choose the two participating retailers you spend the most money with, and earn points for each purchase. Give some thought to the two locations you choose, because once you decide, you can’t change your mind. The points you earn can be redeemed for gift cards.

Did you know: You can also earn points by redeeming special offers from participating retailers and online stores, even if they aren’t in your two selected merchants. These offers often earn some of the best cash-back rates around.

App Store ratings: 4.7/5 with over 36,000 reviews.

Google Play ratings: 3.8/5 with over 5,200 reviews.

Sign-up bonus: None currently available.

#6 — The Krazy Koupon Lady

Quick summary: This app is like a one-stop-shop for coupons. It has coupons from circulars, stores and manufacturers, as both digital and printable coupons. The app will send new offers to your phone as it finds them, wherever it finds them.

Did you know: The app also offers tutorials and videos to teach those new to couponing how to optimize their savings.

App Store ratings: 4.9/5 with over 50,000 reviews.

Google Play ratings: 4.7/5 with over 11,000 reviews.

Sign-up bonus: None currently available.

Store Specific Shopping Apps

These are just a few of the major retailers who have dedicated mobile apps. Apps like these often feature exclusive coupons and offers, so take the time to see if any are offered by your favorite stores. 

Target’s Cartwheel App: This app lets you see Target’s in-store offers right on your phone. Search by category or collection, or enter a brand or item into the search bar. You can also scan a barcode to see if there are any savings on that particular item. When you find an offer you want, click it and it will be added to your list. When you’re checking out, scan the barcode in your Target app at the register and the discounts will be applied.

Kroger: Not only does the Kroger app save you money on household staples and grocery items, but it also saves you time. You can shop from the app and pick up when you arrive at the store, or you can have your order delivered. You can also view weekly ads, coupons and special offers, and load digital coupons to your loyalty card.

Whole Foods: You can use the app to see weekly sales and specials. To really save though, you’ll need to be an Amazon Prime member. Prime members receive special offers and an extra 10% off hundreds of weekly sale items. Sign in through Prime and scan the QR code in the app when checking out.

Meijer: The mPerks app offers users digital coupons, special offers, rewards for buying eligible items, and access to the weekly circular. Users earn rewards like $5 off their next shopping trip after spending $250 or more in total purchases.

Walmart: This app allows users to view the weekly circular, create a shopping list, receive notices about special offers, scan items to check their price, send money, and refill prescriptions.

See Also: The 18 Best Passive Income Apps for Making Money Fast in 2019