FAQs About Grocery Rebate Apps for Smartphones

Have you ever clipped a stack of coupons before a big grocery trip and forgotten to use them? I have. Heck, one time my toddler even ate all of my coupons as I was loading groceries on the conveyor belt. I wish I was joking.

That’s why I love rebate apps. You don’t have to kill your wrists clipping coupons or scrutinize the checkout screen to make sure the cashier is inputting your coupons correctly. I still combine coupons with rebate apps, but I don’t blow my grocery budget if I accidentally leave my coupon holder at home.

I use 7 grocery rebate apps regularly – 8 if you include Cartwheel. Grocery apps and coupons help my family afford healthy food from Whole Foods, Target, Walmart, and local grocery stores. I get lots of cheap groceries using rebate apps, and I score free groceries several times a month thanks to a combination of in-store sales, coupons, and rebates.

Rebate apps have helped me save thousands of dollars on groceries over the years. I’ve had several friends ask me how the apps work, so I’ve compiled a list of the most common questions and concerns I hear about grocery rebate apps.

Frequently Asked Questions About Grocery Rebate Apps

Blake's products often appear on grocery rebate apps
Blake’s products often appear on grocery rebate apps.

Are rebate apps a scam?

No, rebate apps are not a scam – at least not the ones I use. It’s wise to read online reviews or talk to friends and family members before you download a rebate app – or any app – but generally, it’s safe to use rebate apps.

Do rebate apps cost money?

None of the rebate apps I use cost money. You shouldn’t have to pay money to save money, but that’s just my opinion.

What are some of the best rebate apps for groceries and household items?

I use 7 different rebate apps, but my favorites are Ibotta, MobiSave, and BerryCart. I also use Shrink, Shopmium, SavingStar, Checkout 51, and the Target Cartwheel app. I’m currently working on a detailed article that explains the pros and cons of each grocery rebate app, so keep an eye out for that this summer.

Do I need a smartphone to use rebate apps?

No, you do not always need a smartphone to use rebate apps. You can install rebate apps on a tablet, a smartphone that no longer has service but can still connect to WiFi, or similar mobile devices. A few grocery rebate apps are compatible with laptops and desktops. Target Cartwheel lets you print a barcode from your computer and redeem it multiple times at the checkout.

Do I need to mail in any paperwork to redeem a rebate?

No, you do not need to mail in paperwork to redeem rebates offered via grocery rebate apps. These apps replace the traditional paper rebates that were once popular. You do need a receipt to prove you bought each item, and some apps have you scan products’ barcodes with your smartphone or tablet.

Can you use food stamps with grocery rebate apps?

You can use food stamps with most grocery rebate apps, including Ibotta, Checkout 51, MobiSave, Cartwheel, Shopmium, Shrink, BerryCart, and SavingStar.

What payment methods can use use with rebate apps?

Most grocery rebate apps, including all of the ones listed in the answer above, accept receipts for products that you paid for using cash, checks, credit cards, debit cards, prepaid bank cards, EBT cards, and gift cards.

Do rebate apps allow coupons?

Most rebate apps let you use coupons to maximize your savings. This is a great way to score free groceries.

Shopmium does not allow coupons.

Can you earn overage from rebates?

Yes, you can earn overage from rebates. In other words, you can make money off a product you buy if you buy it for less than the amount of its rebate. This happens to me when I use multiple rebate apps for the same product or use a combination of Cartwheel discounts, coupons, and rebates.

How many times can you redeem a rebate?

The number of times you can redeem a rebate varies by app. Popular products and brands often reappear on grocery rebate apps, so you might be able to buy the same product and receive a rebate for it multiple times.

Ibotta typically lets you redeem one rebate per product, but my favorite products often reappear a week or so after I redeem my first rebate. Shopmium often has redemption limits as high as 20, so use that app if you plan to buy in bulk.

Can you submit the same receipt to multiple rebate apps?

Yes, as long as the guidelines say it’s okay. Rebate apps update their guidelines regularly, so check before you submit the same receipt to multiple apps.

When do new rebates appear?

MobiSave adds new offers once a week. Other rebate apps add new rebates as they receive them. Check daily to make sure you don’t miss anything.

How long does it take to get paid from rebate apps?

Payment varies from a few hours to a few weeks. You have to wait until the rebate app approves your receipts, then you have to request payment and wait for it to arrive. Ibotta reviews most of my receipts within an hour, and payout is instant after you request your money. Checkout 51 sends a paper check that takes a few weeks to arrive.

How do I get paid?

Most rebate apps submit payments via PayPal, but Checkout 51 sends a paper check. It’s free to create a PayPal account if you don’t already have one.

I’ve also seen some apps offer gift cards as payment options. Ibotta is one of the apps that offers gift cards.

What products do rebate apps usually offer?

Rebate apps offer cash back for groceries, household supplies, toys, electronics, personal care, and health/wellness items.

Here are some products that regularly appear on rebate apps:

  • Soup
  • Juice
  • Milk
  • Non-dairy milk
  • Cereal
  • Granola bars
  • Fruit snacks
  • Produce
  • Bread
  • Pasta
  • Organic food
  • Gluten-free food
  • Diapers
  • Baby food
  • Formula
  • Vitamins
  • Bandages
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Feminine care products
  • Toilet paper
  • Paper towels
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Candles
  • Makeup
  • Meat
  • Alcohol

Can I get rebates for diapers or other baby supplies?

Yes, Ibotta, MobiSave, and other rebate apps often offer rebates for diapers, wipes, training pants, and diaper rash cream.

Can you get rebates for healthy food?

Yes, rebate apps offer cash back for healthy products, including gluten-free food, dairy-free products, fresh produce, and meat.

Are there any restaurant rebates?

Yes, some rebate apps offer restaurant rebates. Ibotta has a section for restaurant rebates. You can also redeem rebates at places like American Eagle and Best Buy when you install Ibotta.

How much money will I save each month?

The amount of money you save with rebate apps depends on how many rebates you redeem each month. My family typically saves between $50 and $100 a month with rebate apps, and that’s not including the coupons and Cartwheel discounts I stack with the rebates.

Can I see some screenshots of grocery rebate apps?

Sure, I’ve got your back.


Get $10 just for signing up and redeeming one rebate at Ibotta!

Ibotta rebate app


rebate app


Shrink rebate app

Checkout 51

rebates for free and cheap groceries


rebate app for groceries


grocery rebates


FREE Lindt chocolate bar if enter code KCEKAGCJ when you register

rebate app Shopmium

Target Cartwheel

Cartwheel for Target

Is there anything else I should know before I install rebate apps?

Make sure you have a working camera so you can photograph receipts for rebates. Check whether a rebate has to be redeemed from a certain store, such as Walmart or Target, before you buy each product. Be prepared to watch 15-second videos or read fun facts about some products before the company distributes your rebates. Track your rebates in case your city/state/country requires you to claim rebate earnings at tax time.

I want this to be a comprehensive list of questions and answers about rebate apps. If you have questions about rebate apps that weren’t addressed in this article, please leave a message in the comments below or contact me here.

Disclaimer: I’m an Ibotta affiliate. That’s a fancy way of saying I earn money to support my blog’s hosting fees if you join Ibotta (which is totally free, just so you know). I’m also an affiliate for some of the other companies listed throughout my blog, including, but not limited to, Target and Checkout 51. All opinions are my own – I never trade my integrity for cash. 

16 thoughts on “FAQs About Grocery Rebate Apps for Smartphones

  • Pingback: I Got All This Food for $23.29 after Coupons, Cartwheel, and Rebates – Plus a Free $10 Gift Card – Make It With Missy

  • September 16, 2016 at 12:50 am

    Love that you share tips on how to save money. I love saving money and I think anyone who doesn’t is crazy! :p
    I do the same with my Ralphs grocery card. Its the only place I shop food from and their coupons are downloadable to the card. If you leave your card, as long as you have a phone number attached then you are still good to go. I used to have ibotta but deleted it bec of the additional work. Is it worth it? 🙂


    • September 16, 2016 at 9:45 am

      Thanks, Katrina! We don’t have a Ralphs here, but that’s awesome that the store downloads coupons to a card. Very convenient!

      Ibotta is definitely worth it, in my opinion. You can’t cash out until you have $20 in your account, but I cash out multiple times each month. You can stack Ibotta with coupons and Target Cartwheel, so I’m able to get stuff for pennies – sometimes even for free – after combining the 3. I specifically mention the coupons because some rebate apps don’t let you claim the rebates if you use coupons, which is such a bummer.

      • September 16, 2016 at 3:36 pm

        Noted! You have convinced me to get back on Ibotta. 🙂 So glad I found your blog! Love saving money! Ps-if I may ask, are you Taurus? :p

        • September 16, 2016 at 3:41 pm

          Awesome! Thanks – me too. 🙂

          Nope, but you’re close. I’m a Gemini.

  • September 16, 2016 at 3:04 am

    wow…this app is so cool, i haven’t use any rebate website before, I was thinking that if I do for taobao ( a china site) they will send me to a more expensive search. But I hope that in future Malaysian groceries will have rebates like these.

    • September 16, 2016 at 9:45 am

      Thanks, Myheartots! I hope you get some good rebate apps in your area soon.

  • September 16, 2016 at 3:12 am

    Wow I love all the information. I have tried using these before and go frustrated. I may have to try again using your tips. Thanks for sharing!

    • September 16, 2016 at 9:46 am

      You’re welcome, Bethany! There’s definitely a learning curve associated with some of the grocery rebate apps, but I promise that they get less stressful and confusing after you use them for a while.

  • September 16, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    Wow I love these information, really useful for saving I am going to check if we have things like that here I have never used it before. Thanks

    • September 16, 2016 at 3:18 pm

      Thanks, Tamara! I’m glad you enjoyed learning more about grocery rebate apps!

  • September 17, 2016 at 6:33 am

    Technology now has a lot more to offer. This app is very efficient and economical.

  • September 17, 2016 at 11:47 am

    I didn’t know rebate apps have so many benefits! Who doesn’t love saving money 😉

  • September 17, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    Is this in the USA? I have seen TV shows of people going shopping and end up getting heap a stuff free or with a massive discount thanks to coupons. I would so do it if I lived there! And I would be trying the apps out too! It’s a shame they dont do this anywhere in Europe and not even in Australia.. Thanks for sharing though!


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