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Family Money

Not so long ago, the Sunday paper, Valpak and printable online coupons seemed to be the only way to get grocery, entertainment and dining coupons. Fast forward. As we are fully immersed in the digital age, most people use their smartphone for everything, even saving money. Yes, there’s an app for that!

New savings apps seem to pop up daily on social media. These apps could possibly save you time from clipping coupons and give you money for buying stuff that you may buy anyway. I say possibly and may because couponing and apps must work for you, not brainwash you into buying products that you think you need just because you have a coupon.

These are some of the apps that I have found that have helped me save money on purchases:

RetailMeNot boasts “Thousands of coupons in your pocket.” Save coupons you want for easy access and get notifications when coupons expire. You don’t have to worry about printing coupons; all you have to do is show your phone at checkout.

Ibotta allows shoppers to earn real money. Before you go shopping, unlock cash rewards by completing simple tasks. Then go shopping and buy the products you’ve unlocked at any supported store. Verify purchase, scan your product barcodes and submit a photo of your receipt. Get cash deposited in your Ibotta account within 48 hours. Redeem for cash or gift cards.

Shopkick users earn points by making purchases, inviting friends to join, or just by walking into stores. Points can be transformed into gift cards at partnering stores.

GasBuddy allows you to see the current prices of gas at stations near you.

Groupon and LivingSocial both offer local deals.

When I asked other mommies what their favorite app is for saving money at checkout, Cartwheel topped everyone’s list. Cartwheel offers hundreds of deals from clothing to groceries. Just scan the barcode and the app will tell you if there is a coupon available for it.

Other recommended apps that I think may be worth checking out are Key Ring (keeps track of all your loyalty and rewards cards so you don’t have to carry all your cards), Raise (purchase gift cards at a discount), Wi-Fi Finder (finds locations where you can use Wi-Fi for free so you don’t use up your cell phone data), and Out To Eat With Kids (finds restaurants where kids can eat for free).

Be sure to shop around before you make your purchase. If you are buying the item anyway, why not check an app to find out where it may be on sale and if there is a coupon for additional savings.

Nikki Ducas is a Fredericksburg mom teaching her two young sons financial responsibility with the less-is-more mindset.

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