I love finding new, free money saving apps to try out.
From checking the weather and getting directions to watching videos and providing the perfect soundtrack for the gym, I consider my phone to be the ultimate multi-purpose device.
So it should come as no surprise I have also found ways to use it to help us on our personal finance journey.
Today, I’m sharing five incredible apps and programs I use that either save or make money.
Five free money saving apps you need to check out
Before I get into talking about these free money saving apps, this post isn’t sponsored. There are a couple referral links, which are marked, but I’m not being compensated to write reviews of any of these apps.
I personally use all these apps and programs and my comments reflect my own experience and personal opinions.
If anything changes in the future, I’ll be certain to revise accordingly.
On to the apps!
For the budget-bookworm: OverDrive
OverDrive lets you check out eBooks and audiobooks from your local library. The best part? It’s free — all you need is a library card.
To say OverDrive has completely transformed the way I read would be an understatement.
Although I do check out eBooks, my preference is audiobooks. I like to listen them when I go for walks — it’s a great way to get a little extra reading in.
Selection on OverDrive will vary based on the resources available at your local library.
Tip: When borrowing audiobooks, make sure you actually go and download the files after you check it out (it doesn’t happen automatically). I like to do this when I am attached to WiFi, so I can save my data!
For the savvy shopper: Checkout 51
If I was in the United States, this is where I would plug Ibotta. Most lists like this tend to include it and with good reason: it seems like an awesome cash-back program.
But Ibotta isn’t available in Canada.
Instead, I’ll talk about one of my favourite simple money saving apps: Checkout 51 (referral link).
This app is simple: every Thursday, it provides a list of items with cash-back offers. If you purchase one of the items, select it and then take a picture of your receipt with your phone. Once it’s processed, the cash-back is added to your account. You can cash-out when you reach $20.
Your success with Checkout51 will depend on how often what you buy lines up with offers in the app. Some weeks, the offers are great for me, other times, not so much. Regardless, it’s easy to use and hey, cash-back is cash-back, right?
Tip: Check the bottom of your offers in the app – sometimes they include video options where you can earn a tiny incentive (usually $0.10) to watch.
For the savvy (online) shopper: Rakuten (formerly known as Ebates)
Honestly, the first time I heard about Rakuten, I thought it was a scam. I mean, it sounds like a scam. A website that gives you cash-back for shopping at other stores online? Yeah, right.
But Rakuten is legit. I’ve been using it for a couple years now and made more than $250. You won’t get rich, but if you’re shopping online, you might as well be using Rakuten.
Tip: install the toolbar button! This will automatically alert you when a site is offering a rebate via Rakuten and give you the option to activate it without having to go through the site. I resisted for a longtime and likely missed out on cash-back as a result. Seriously, if you ever shop online, you should be using Rakuten.
(Note: the links included in this section are referral links. That means if you follow the link, sign up and make a purchase, I will earn a bonus. If you decide to sign up through this link – thank you for supporting my little blog! I truly appreciate it.)
For the loyalty card lover: PC Optimum
If I could only keep one loyalty card, it would without question be the PC Optimum card.
What I love about this program is how easy it is to earn points. We have saved hundreds of dollars on groceries through the various iterations of this program over the last two years and I truly believe the recent changes have only made it better.
So many places accept PC Optimum — Loblaws, Atlantic Superstore, Joe Fresh, Shoppers Drug Mart and Esso, to name a few. Additionally, the program offers personalized offers through the app based on items you actually buy regularly.
Most weeks, I receive about 26 offers through the app and at least 20 of them are for things I was planning to buy anyway. Add in the in-store offers…can you see why I love this program so freaking much?
Tip: to really get this most out of this program, you absolutely need to be using the app. This is how you load personalized offers to your card every Thursday. Once you start loading offers, you’ll earn points quickly and really see the benefits of the program.
For fun en francais (or Español, etc): DuoLingo
Want to learn some language basics but can’t afford lessons right now? Check out Duolingo!
This is another “recommended by a friend” app that I have come to absolutely love. You probably won’t become fluent in your language of choice with just the app alone (my opinion) but it’s easy and fun to use and you’ll definitely pick up a few things if you’re using it regularly.
Tip: If, like me, you find your streak a source of motivation, protect that! Once you’ve been using the app for a while, you’ll start earning linglots, which you can use to buy streak freezes. These protect your streak for 24 hours in the event you forget to practice. There is also an option to repair your streak for a cost, but I’ve never done that.
I always love finding new money saving apps. These are a few of my favourites but I’m always trying out new ones.
Is there an app or program you love that you think I might be interested in? I’ve love to hear about it! Let me know in the comments below.