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For those of you who are familiar with my blog you know that I’m slightly, just slightly obsessed with food. I love: looking at it, eating it, buying it, going to Farmer’s markets, watching cooking shows, and browsing aimlessly for hours in foreign grocery stores.
You Get The Picture
I love food a little too much. I’m also a foodie. The problem with this kind of food love is that it can get a little expensive. Fortunately, I’ve worked very hard to kill my grocery costs. I’m just cooking for myself regularly and occasionally for friends and family. The thing that we can all agree on is the following: groceries are expensive!
I’ve worked very hard over the past 2 years to cut my expenses and food was a major budget buster. Recently I’ve added an additional layer to my grocery budget buster process.
To be honest, I don’t know why it took me so long to jump on the grocery app bandwagon. I think I didn’t really know they existed…somehow I just missed it. Fortunately I discovered iBotta*and I love it for several reasons: it’s developed in Colorado (where I’m from), once you figure it out it’s pretty easy to use, and I actually use the app because I always have my phone on me.
I won’t lie, there is a bit of a quick learning curve when you first begin using iBotta (affiliate link), but I’ve gotten into a nice process for using it and I think that you will enjoy using it too.
How it Works
- Download the App-Via “Play Store” happily it’s free.
- When you open up the app the front page will show a list similar to the following:
- What’s Hot
- Holiday (or whatever is seasonal)
- Beer, Wine, Spirits
- Click On Grocery-Since we’re focused on saving on groceries I’m just focusing on that part of the app (but it works the same regardless of what you click on).
- You will see at the top of the page: a banner add, rebates, and bonuses
- You will also see a list of different grocery stores
- Click on a grocery store and you will see a bonus at the top the page and then you will see the items that you can save on.
Fruits, Vegetables, and Staples
This is why I love the app. I eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables and it’s hard to find savings on those items. In fact, many people complain that they can never save on fruits and vegetables-with iBotta, you can.
The app also offers consistent rebates on regular grocery staples such as eggs, bacon, bread, butter, you get the picture.
- Once you’ve found an item that you would like to receive a rebate on you will click on that item.
How To Get a Rebate
- Easy! Once you’ve clicked on the item you would like to receive a rebate on you will have to “UNLOCK” the savings. It’s painless.
- Unlocking a rebate will require you to: watch a video, fill out a 3 question questionnaire, or read some information about the item. Once you’ve done that-the rebate is unlocked and after you purchase and verify the purchase you will receive that rebate.
Tricks to Make iBotta Easier To Use
A figured out quickly that if I were to use the app consistently I had to make it easy on myself. So, I created a simple to use process that has become a habit and is saving me money-love it!
- Sundays I unlock savings-I just set aside 15 or 20 minutes on Sunday to release savings and create a grocery shopping list for the week. I also double check that the rebates I’ve unlocked are to multiple stores.This is actually a huge deal because you will be ticked off if you bought an item and it’s not redeemable because of the store you went to.
- If You’re in the Store-And want to find more rebates tap the white search bar at the top of the page. That bar will say one of two things depending on where you are in the app:
- Find Cash Back
When you tap the white search bar you can actually SCAN the items that you’re looking at to find out if there is a rebate. If there is just quickly unlock the savings and keep shopping. It’s pretty awesome.
Redeeming Your Rebates
Once you’ve finished shopping for your groceries remember to GET YOUR RECEIPT. Cashiers may forget to give it to you if you don’t ask for it. You must have your receipt because you will need it to redeem your purchases and get your money.
- Click on the green “Verify Purchases” button with the camera icon on it.
- Grocery items will be split into different groups: Grains, Protein, Snacks, Produce, Household, etc.
- You will click on step one and scan the barcodes of the packaged items that you’ve purchased.
- Capture the Receipt-You will take a picture of the entire receipt. It takes a steady hand but it’s pretty easy.
- 24 hours later-Receipt is verified and your savings goes into your account
The Power of Community
What I really love about this app is the “Teamwork” feature. Basically, users are encouraged to build their team. As people grow their teams by sharing their affiliate links with friends and family the potential for earnings via bonuses grows. Each time one of your teammate unlocks savings your entire team benefits. Join my team here!*.
Earn an Extra $10 Dollars
Oh, and one more thing. When you sign up on my affiliate link and redeem your first purchase within two weeks after you sign up and you will get $10 towards your first payout! By the way, I will get $5 for referring you to iBotta. This is why I love the power of community.
- Save money on groceries
- Get $10 bucks after you redeem your first rebate within 2 weeks of signing up
- Earn extra more as other team members actively use the app
What Could Be Better
I love iBotta but there are a couple of things that I would change or work on so that more people would use the app.
- More savings on proteins-I think there should be more opportunities to save on: chicken/beef/pork
- Expand the produce offerings-I’m pretty happy with the options so far, but I am noticing some of the same items are consistently showing on the app.
- This…is…a little awkward to mention but I wonder if there are a bunch of wealthy soccer moms or single millennials advising on the app? No problem if you’re in either group but I think that iBotta is missing out on potentially the biggest group of clientele-middle class shoppers who could really benefit from the savings. I base this opinion on the items that can be redeemed.
- Too much alcohol-Ok, I actually think it’s because of the time of year but I only drink posh drinks when I go out. It’s amazing how many bottles of alcohol you have the potential to save on. If you’re looking for a hostess gift and alcohol is your go to do not forget to look at the app before buying it and save some money.
- You’ll still need to use coupons...but at least you’ll be apple to save on produce!
- I love, love the potential to increase my savings via savings boosts. Basically, if you redeem a certain number of items you have the potential to “boost” your savings. The current opportunity is to save an additional $5 on your redeemed 8 rebates. EASY. Just check the: expiration date of the boost and the terms. (These change weekly)
- Teamwork-I have changed my life through the people on my personal life team. That’s a whole other post but the song is true “I get by with a little help from my friends.”
- After the first time you use the app-it’s super easy.
- Cashing out your savings via Paypal or Venmo or get a gift card instead. To withdraw via Paypal you need to have a minimum of $20 in your account. I have $16.20 in my account right now and it was easy, easy, easy to get there. 1/7/16-Update I earned $29 for my first month of rebates. Nice!
I hope this helps and makes using the app a lot less intimidating! Save your money and build your teams. Again, I love iBotta for the following three reasons: they offer rebates on produce, the ability to “boost” your savings, and the power of community. I will continue to use it..and maybe figure out a way to connect with them regarding expanding items available-we’ll see how that goes!