Ibotta Savings & The Best Days to Buy Stuff!

by J. Money - Published July 27, 2016

ibotta app - cash not coupons

Have any of you tried the Ibotta savings app before? Does it save you a lot of money?

I’ve heard about it approximately 37 times over the past few years from friends of this site and other $$ bloggers (always sounded spammy to me?), but stopped for the first time this morning to finally see what the fuss is about…

So far looks pretty cool :)

Within seconds I downloaded the app and came across this gem, haha…

ibotta savings app

I watched a 15 second clip of a new movie coming out – “Sausage Party” – and then it unlocked this cash rebate of $3.00 that I’ll pick up if I go and buy these two items (hot dogs, Pabst) the next time I’m at CVS. Probably not the best example to use, but hey – it kept my attention! :)

And, hell, why not go out right now and see if it works? You won’t miss me, right?

Hold, please…

Okay, back! Look how fast I am!! :) Well, the good news is I was indeed able to pick up a couple of rebates, but the bad news is there was no beer to be found at this particular CVS… Totally forgot I’m living in a new state now (Maryland) that bans alcohol at convenient stores! Booooooo….

So I pulled up the app to see if bread or eggs were cash back-able as my wife had tasked me to pick them up earlier, and luckily they were or else this post would have been much less exciting, haha…

I took two 3-second surveys and unlocked a $0.50 cash rebate for the eggs and a $0.50 rebate for the bread. Then when I got home I scanned the items with the app and took a snapshot of the receipt, and just like that $1.00 was credited to my account. They won’t nearly be as tasty as that sausage party I started looking forward to, but hey – it’s free money!

hooray money gif(I got this in my email when I activated the $$$, haha…)

So yeah, that’s how Ibotta works in a nutshell :)

Just pull up the app anytime you’re about to buy something, and then see if there are any rebates waiting to be activated for them (apparently they give out special deals for Ibotta users only, too).

If there are, do the quick task to “unlock” them (could be a video, reading a fun fact, taking a survey) and then once you buy them just scan the items and upload a photo of the receipt – or even better, have your store loyalty cards linked up so it’s all automatically confirmed!, and then BOOM – instant cash back.

Once you hit $20 you can Paypal or Venmo the money right over to yourself, or you can pick up any of the featured gift cards they offer. Though I recommend the cash money. All new users to the app receives a $10.00 credit once they redeem their first rebate as well – like I just got – woo!, which you can get by signing up here or using my referral code – wlercad. Might be worth a shot?

The Best Times to Buy Stuff

ibotta 100 million cash

So why the itch to try Ibotta today out of all days? Well, as silly as it sounds, I caught a press release they did after analyzing 50 million receipts from their users in celebration of hitting $100 Million cash back (nice!!), and thought I’d write up a post about it to help everyone hack their shopping more.

I then figured I might as well check out the app while I was at it, and voila – here we are! It must be hard for marketers to figure out what gets people to take action or not, haha… But now we know why they like to put out stats so much! :)

Here’s what they found – the best (and worst) times to buy stuff:

  • Beer: Mondays are the best days with Saturdays the worst – a difference of 9%!
  • Wine: Tuesdays are the best, with Saturdays being the worst – a difference of 6%
  • Produce: Wednesdays are the best, with Mondays interestingly being the worst – a 3% difference
  • Bread: Fridays are the best, with Sundays being the worst – a difference of 2%
  • Snacks: Fridays are the best, with Sundays the worst – a 7% difference
  • Ice Cream: Mondays are the best, with Sundays being the worst – a 9% difference
  • Beauty Products: Mondays are the best, with Sundays being the worst – a difference of 11%!
  • Cleaning Products: Thursdays are the best, with Sundays the worst – a 3% difference
  • Sunscreen: Mondays are the best, with Sundays being the worst – a difference of 6%

So pretty much shop for groceries during the work week if possible as the weekends are jacked higher when everyone else and their moms are out shopping. And for beer and wine, stock up earlier in the week (Mondays/Tuesdays) so you can score them cheaper as well.

Best Prices Across the Stores

Across the 197 stores Ibotta works with (Target, Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, Kroger, Publix, etc), here were the best three prices paid for each product:

  • 6-pack of beer: Walmart ($7.75), Target ($8.11), Kroger ($8.39)
  • Bottle of wine: Walgreens ($9.23), Walmart ($9.39), Sam’s Club ($9.61)
  • Produce: Food4Less ($2.39), Albertsons ($2.46), Kroger ($2.55)
  • Bread: Dollar General ($2.18), Family Dollar ($2.21), Walmart ($2.27)
  • Snacks: Dollar General ($3.37), Walmart ($2.71), Family Dollar ($2.76)
  • Ice Cream: Dollar General ($3.01), Family Dollar ($3.26), Walmart ($3.35)
  • Beauty Products: Family Dollar ($3.45), Dollar General ($3.46), Kroger ($3.88)
  • Cleaning Products: Family Dollar ($3.37), Dollar General ($3.42), Walmart ($3.71)
  • Sunscreen: Dollar General ($4.69), Target ($6.07), Walmart ($7.08)

So produce is cheaper at smaller retailers like Food4Less and Albertsons, while snacks and ice cream are cheapest at Dollar General (I had no idea you could even buy ice cream there?). Non-food items are also cheaper at dollar stores like Family Dollar and Dollar General.

Some fun Millennial stats…

They also found some pretty random/interesting facts on their millennial users as well while analyzing:

  • Millennials use 20% fewer coupons than Gen-X / take advantage of 7.5% fewer in-store discounts.
  • Millennials shop at natural grocery stores (Whole Foods, Sprouts, Natural Grocers) about 56% more than non-millennials.
  • Millennials are 8% more likely to shop at Costco over Sam’s. Millennials are 13.5% more likely than non-millennials to shop at Costco.
  • Millennials are 27% more likely to shop at Target than users in all other age groups
  • Millennials are 2x more likely to shop at Sephora than non-millennials
  • Millennial Dads are doing a greater portion of the household shopping. Ibotta found a 62% increase in the share of grocery purchases made by Millennial Dads compared with Millennial Moms. (Yeah, dads!)

ibotta cash not coupons

And there you have it. Cash stats – and savings! – with Ibotta.

Interested in trying them out? Here’s how it works again:

  1. Download the Ibotta app (free)
  2. Unlock rebates before you go shopping
  3. Buy the stuff as you normally do
  4. Upload receipts or link loyalty cards to it
  5. Get cash back!

You can sign up to Ibotta here, or download the app directly off your phone. Remember to use the code wlercad if you wanna grab the $10.00.

Let me know what you think! And more importantly – how much you save!

Would love to hear how many of you are already using them and/or don’t even think it’s worth the hassle… I’m digging it so far, but we’ll see how long it lasts :)

Now to go find out where the heck I can buy beer around this place, jeesh…

****
PS: This is not a sponsored post, but there are affiliate links in it. meaning if you sign up through my links/code I’ll get comped just like you. Interesting turn of events, however, as I only intended to write about the stats – not go on any field trips! Haha…

Jay loves talking about money, experimenting, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his two beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chris @ Flipping a Dollar July 27, 2016 at 5:40 am

This is really interesting. What’s crazy to me is that marketing used to be “maybe they’ll be plunked down in front of our boob tube during a commercial break.” This has evolved to “they will come to us to get deals that we give them!”

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2 J. Money July 27, 2016 at 6:29 am

Haha yup!

And with smart phones it’s totally changed the game too… People are so obsessed with them – they go everywhere with you!

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3 Miss Mazuma July 27, 2016 at 5:49 am

Well, who doesn’t love a sausage?!

I have always been fascinated by stories about when it’s the best time to buy what and for some reason October for new cars is the only thing that has stuck in my mind – and I’ve only bought a car once…and it was used! This is a way better use of my brain space – food and household items. Perfect! I think I can manage stocking up on wine this Monday. ;)

Thanks for doing the research – downloading the app now…

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4 J. Money July 27, 2016 at 6:31 am

Let me know what you think about it! They have some pretty raving fans…

(And I’ve only ever bought used cars too :) Though probably like 10 of them by this point, haha… most are REALLY used!)

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5 Kate @ Cashville Skyline July 27, 2016 at 6:33 am

That’s funny! I’ve had the exact same view about Ibotta even though everyone’s been telling me how great they are. But who doesn’t want to save on stuff you’re going to buy anyway? I’m going to check this out today!

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6 Frankies Girl July 27, 2016 at 6:51 am

I have both the Ibotta and Checkout 51 shopping apps, but rarely use them. I primarily shop at Aldi, which is not a supported store because it doesn’t carry many name brand items, so the apps don’t get any kickbacks from them. I also don’t buy hardly anything that is prepared or prepackaged and almost nothing that is name brand.

The ibotta app does offer generic staples rebates like “milk” or “eggs” or “onions” – their usual offer amount is 25¢ for these generics. But they only work if you buy them at the specifically named stores, and the prices are jacked up compared to my discount store. Even with that rebate, I’d pay (for example) over a $1 more for a gallon of milk! How is that a good deal?

These shopping apps fool you into a more spendy shopping experience by making you feel good buying fancy name brand or nutritionally questionable prepackaged stuff, where if you actually bought store brand or shopped at discount groceries you’d likely come out with much cheaper and/or healthier food overall and not have the headache of juggling shopping apps and scanning receipts and letting them data mine your shopping habits so as to better target you with more advertising for crap you don’t need. ;)

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7 Roy Largo @ Band of Savers July 27, 2016 at 7:06 am

Thank you Frankies Girl, this is exactly what I was worried about with these apps and hesitant to try them out. Thanks for pointing out the consumer behaviors that they are attempting to mold into us. Appreciate the insight.

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8 Karlene July 27, 2016 at 8:43 am

A few days ago I heard about Ibotta and meant to look into it. Thank you for explaining how it works J. Money.

Like Frankies Girl I do much of my shopping at Aldi’s, and do not like the idea of anybody or any company data mining my shopping. So, you and the commenters have given me enough information to decide that this is not for me.

Although it’s not for me it does sound good for some folks, especially those who shop at name brand stores and for name brand products.

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9 J. Money July 27, 2016 at 10:38 am

Yes yes, good points y’all!

Was def. more expensive me picking up my bread and eggs at CVS vs regular grocer – though I was going to do it anyways out of convenience, haha…. So I guess that’s the main difference there – if you’re already buying it then grab the discount, but if you have to go somewhere else or spend more for it then of course not worth it.

They’ve def. figured out the game though for sure – esp connecting with the biggies like Target and Walmart, etc. More people than not shop conveniently these days so while we’re spending more, at least we’re getting a little back :)

Def. not for everyone though – thx for chiming in.

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10 Roy Largo @ Band of Savers July 27, 2016 at 7:01 am

First time hearing about this J, thanks. I’m still trying to decide if it will be worth the effort to try it out. I’m a bit worried about the spending creep that could happen with from it – ie. buying something just because I can get the rebate when we could have done without it anyways or even found a cheaper option by holding out a while until it was on sale.

But if they work with Aldi I might be willing to give them a try.

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11 Vicki@Make Smarter Decisions July 27, 2016 at 7:11 am

That’s so cool and I’ve never heard of it! How can your convenience stores not sell beer? That’s their main product here! Downloading and giving it a try. Happy to buy beer, wine and sunscreen on Monday and Tuesday – sets you up for a fun week outside!

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12 J. Money July 27, 2016 at 10:39 am

It’s a law here in MD :( Guess it makes it too easy to consume alcohol!

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13 Apathy Ends July 27, 2016 at 7:30 am

I haven’t started using Apps like this yet, probably should be if it is that easy though.

MN has the worst alcohol sale laws. No sales on Sunday and all liquor stores have to close by 10PM

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14 Kate @ itsakatelife July 27, 2016 at 12:31 pm

I second that. It’s annoying that we have to buy from liquor stores and can’t buy at grocery or convenience stores.

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15 Sara July 27, 2016 at 7:56 am

I live in MD too and it sucks to buy booze, especially in Montgomery County. Not sure where you live, but if it’s anywhere near Total Wine go there. I turn into a kid in a candy store in that place.

I’m curious (in a non-stocker way, I swear) what area you are living in in MD? I grew up in Gaithersburg and then lived in the Silver Spring area for about a decade but now live in Frederick County because of the price of housing and quality of schools.

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16 J. Money July 27, 2016 at 10:40 am

I love Frederick!! We used to go to bed and breakfasts there before kids (hah) – so cozy there :) I’ll hit you on the side and let you know where we are…

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17 Josh @MoneyBuffalo July 27, 2016 at 8:49 am

We looked into Ibotta but it doesn’t really benefit us for how we buy our groceries. As one of the other commenters mentioned, it’s coupons primarily for name brand or prepackaged food. We typically buy store brand or make from scratch.

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18 ZJ Thorne July 27, 2016 at 8:53 am

A sausage party sounds far more delicious than the bread and things you needed party. I’m glad you liked it. I get weary of more apps on my low-memory phone.

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19 J. Money July 27, 2016 at 10:43 am

yeah – I don’t have many apps really, hurts my brain. anytime I realize I haven’t opened one up in a few months I just delete it. Minimalism works on phones too just like everywhere else! Less is usually more!

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20 Michael Naab July 27, 2016 at 9:23 am

I’ve been using ibotta for about 8 months and have gotten about $75 back from it so far. Like others, I tend to stay away from the name brand stuff because even with the cash back, the store brand is cheaper.

They do offer “any brand” cash back options (which are typically less money back) but have that for everyday items like milk, bread, eggs, fruit and vegetables. You can usually get a buck or 2 back each trip just for that. They also get a lot of liquor on there around Christmas (getting into the “spirit”!). Also look for random bonuses, some of which are easier than others to acquire, like redeem 3 non-any brand bonus in 1 week for an extra $2 back.

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21 J. Money July 27, 2016 at 10:44 am

Haha… I’ll have to move the app to the home screen come Christmas then :) Liquor rarely goes on sale!

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22 Roy Largo @ Band of Savers July 27, 2016 at 1:10 pm

Just out of curiosity Michael, how much are you spending on groceries each month over that 8 month period? I’d like to be able to put into perspective the percentage that it is saving you on groceries. Does this represent 10% or 0.1% of what you spent on groceries? How much would I have to expect to spend in order to make save $75.

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23 Emily @ JohnJaneDoe July 27, 2016 at 9:43 am

I’ve used Ibotta for about 6 months, and mostly get to take advantage of the “25 cents from any gallon of milk” rebates. That’s some slowly building savings. Since it’s automatic on my Food Lion card as long as I grab the rebates (which takes no time), though, it’s certainly worth doing. I do end up with a lot of unused unlocked rebates,

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24 J. Money July 27, 2016 at 10:45 am

Yeah, I think automating it with the loyalty card attachments are the best way.. I didn’t take the time to do it, but it’s now on my list to add so future runs will be much easier/faster.

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25 EL July 27, 2016 at 9:52 am

Coupons bring them on, I don’t mind them. I wont go crazy like some people in a TLC show, but if its easy and on an app why not. Keep on clicking my friends.

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26 Maria Ayres July 27, 2016 at 9:57 am

Thanks J and everyone else. I am always leery of those apps because, like others I don’t buy a lot of name brands or prepackaged food. But I like creeping savings so I will give it a try.

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27 FinanceSuperhero July 27, 2016 at 10:18 am

I’ve been using Ibotta for several months now and have saved significant money on items I would have purchased even without the savings. I like the user-friendliness of the app, as it is easy to find rebates and even easier to take advantage of them after the purchase is complete. I have a draft post reviewing Ibotta sitting in my editor, actually. Probably going to wait a while on running that one now, haha!

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28 J. Money July 27, 2016 at 10:46 am

Nah – you gotta run it so we can all learn more, esp me :) Then come back and drop the link here for others to check out!

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29 Michelle Marcus July 27, 2016 at 10:24 am

This app pisses me off because my main grocery store is not listed in it. So I use Checkout51 instead.

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30 J. Money July 27, 2016 at 10:47 am

You’re the third person to mention Checkout51 today – seems like it would be good to hack all of them together for the best chance of scores. As long as you have the patience, that is :)

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31 Lindsey Thompson July 27, 2016 at 10:29 am

I have earned $821 to date. I use coupons with some of the rebates for double bang for your buck. I shop around at Aldi and Big Lots where you can’t use ibotta too but the bonuses are cool if you use it enough.

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32 J. Money July 27, 2016 at 10:48 am

Holy crap!! You are killing it!!

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33 Mysti July 27, 2016 at 10:45 am

I primarily grocery shopping at Walmart and buy whatever I was going to buy. Then I go to IBotta and unlock whatever rebates go along with my purchases. This way, I am not tempted to buy stuff just because of a rebate.

Then, I use my Walmart Savings catcher and hopefully get a few dollars back.

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34 J. Money July 27, 2016 at 10:48 am

Good system :)

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35 Mary Ann July 27, 2016 at 10:46 am

I shop Publix mostly, no Aldi near me, and I can’t explain it but I hate the big warehouse stores, so I am looking forward to checking this out. Especially when buying milk, bread and produce. Thanks, J Money

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36 J. Money July 27, 2016 at 10:48 am

I want a Christmas gift if you make millions off it :)

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37 Chris @ Mindful Explorer July 27, 2016 at 11:37 am

What I see is the power of consumer data and statistical trending, the info this app is providing companies is powerful and very interesting the few points alone that you shared.

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38 AMW July 27, 2016 at 1:06 pm

I use Ibotta because it has rebates for stuff you almost never find coupons for…produce, milk, alchohol, etc. If you use coupons you can combine them with the rebates. My grocery store is connected with the card so I don’t have to remember to take a picture of the reciept. I also unlock anything I might use so if my husband goes to get something it takes his off as well.

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39 J. Money July 28, 2016 at 9:44 am

Yeah, I think that’s the sweet spot – nabbing them for the generic stuff you buy every week even if they’re already on sale or not.

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40 Done by Forty July 27, 2016 at 2:00 pm

You had me at beer coupons.

Though hopefully there are more choices than Pabst.

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41 Fiscally Free July 27, 2016 at 3:10 pm

Seems like more of a hassle than it’s worth.
After visiting their site and checking out the deals at Ralphs, which is where I shop, I’m not impressed. It seems to offer savings on very specific items and brands that I don’t buy.

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42 Cedes July 28, 2016 at 1:31 pm

ibotta is awesome! I’ve been using it for almost a year now and have gotten over $150 cash back! one of my favorite things is that you can create teams and it’s a great way to work together to make extra money when you are all redeeming rebates.

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43 J. Money July 28, 2016 at 11:27 pm

I was just looking into that team stuff.. I guess if you refer people to it they auto. become part of your team?

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44 Sandy July 28, 2016 at 5:36 pm

I have Ibotta, checkout 51, and Saving star. With Ibotta alone I cashed out $25 last month. With Ibotta if you use so many rebates it gives you an extra dollar, and when you hit the next level it gives you $2 extra just as bonus. I have been using Ibotta may be for about a year now and I am very happy with it. Definitely worth having it.

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45 J. Money July 28, 2016 at 11:26 pm

Rock on! Free money on top of free money is always good :)

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46 Calvin August 1, 2016 at 2:52 pm

I started using iBotta about two months ago. Yeah they get you to buy the more expesive stuff at the name brands but I leverage it by shopping at Aldi(not supported) and Kroger(which is much closer to my house). I like it for the generic stuff and occasional name brand snacks. Good for the bread and milk as well. Made about $30 bucks so far.

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47 J. Money August 5, 2016 at 10:52 am

Nice! I think it just takes some good strategizing to really milk it for some cash.. None of these apps/tools out there are going to be perfect, so well done.

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