4 Apps to Effortlessly Save Money and Get Discounts (Set & Forget!)

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I know – more apps. Between social media, mobile banking, loyalty programs, and shopping, the last thing most peeps need is another app.

But there are a few apps out there you can set up once – and then, if you want, never look at them again. Even better, these apps earn credits for gift cards, get you refunds, or award cashback for setting them up.

best apps to save money

I turn Drop points into Whole Foods gift cards and get free groceries – just for keeping the app installed

I’ve gotten free groceries and Amazon gift cards, deposits into my checking account, and credits on my cards – all from having these apps on my phone.

Here’s an overview. And how they save you money without any ongoing effort.

4 best apps to save money

1. Drop

Drop was the app that got me into “set it and forget it” mode. Since November 2017, I’ve earned over $100 in Drop points, which you can redeem for gift cards to stores including:

  • Amazon
  • Whole Foods
  • AMC
  • iTunes
  • Sephora
  • Best Buy

You can easily earn and redeem Drop points at lots of merchants

When you sign up, you’ll pick 5 stores where you want to earn ongoing Drop points. I picked Uber, Starbucks, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Amazon.

After you plug-in your bank information, you’ll earn Drop points every time you spend at selected merchants. The app scans your purchases and awards points automatically.

1,000 Drop points = $1. And you can redeem for a gift card starting at the $5 mark (5,000 Drop points).

Plus, they have tons of promotional offers. I wrote about how I got $50 in gift cards for letting someone walk my dog. And other promotions have included 2X Drop points for Plastiq payments.

I earn a few hundred points here and there. Then peek in every once in a while to see how many accumulated. I’m always surprised at how many I have. But then again, I shop at Amazon a lot and grab the occasional coffee at Starbucks.

drop app

I’ve scored over $100 in free gift cards from the Drop app

I love redeeming for Amazon and Whole Foods gift cards. They’re issued within minutes after you redeem.

Once you set up Drop, let the points roll in. You can check every so often to add more offers or see how many points you have from setting it up one time.

2. Earny

I wrote about how Earny works. If your Visa or MasterCard credit card offers price protection, Earny will detect price changes from receipts in your email inbox and file a claim – with NO effort required on your part.

Earny automates price protection on dozens of credit cards

Most major banks are supported.

Earny tracks purchases from:

  • Amazon
  • Best Buy
  • Bloomingdale’s
  • Carter’s
  • Costco
  • The Gap Group including Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Athleta, and factory stores
  • Home Depot
  • J.Crew
  • Jet
  • Kohl’s
  • Macy’s
  • Newegg
  • Nike
  • Nordstrom
  • Overstock
  • Sears
  • Staples
  • Target
  • Walmart
  • Zappos

I plugged in my Citi AT&T Access More card because it earns 3X Citi ThankYou points for online shopping.

Automatic claims from Earny

Since I set it up, I’ve gotten ~$74 back from random purchases – with zero effort. In return for Earny’s services, they take back 25% of whatever they save you. Considering it’s automated and money I would’ve never seen otherwise, that seems fair.

Moving forward, I’m putting the bulk on my shopping on Citi cards to take advantage of Citi Price Rewind, which comes with all their personal credit cards.

Awesome built-in card perk

Citi puts the onus on you to register your purchases – but Earny also does that for you automatically.

Citi Price Rewind details

The reason I’m moving to Citi cards is because Chase is dropping price protection on all their cards this year. If you shop online a lot, Earny is a must-have.

3. Spent

Spent works a lot like Drop – and lets you earn at many of the same merchants. But instead of gift cards, you redeem for cash to your PayPal account once you earn $20.

Earn Spent points automatically at lots of popular stores

A big part of the app is the shopping portal. But you can add your cards to automatically earn 1% back at 10 merchants:

  • Amazon
  • Uber
  • Whole Foods
  • Netflix
  • Starbucks
  • iTunes
  • McDonald’s
  • Lowe’s
  • Walgreens
  • 7-Eleven

Get 1% back on certain purchases when you link your cards

You can get 1% cashback from Netflix, Uber, Walgreens, and other popular stores after linking your cards, then let the points build. Plus, you get $10 for signing up, so you should reach the $20 cashout threshold pretty quickly.

The app is free to have and use. Free cash money for adding cards and offers to your account one time.

4. Dosh

Dosh earns cashback at local restaurants and a few big box merchants (including Sam’s Club, Payless, World Market).

What’s cool is you can often double-dip and get miles from airline dining programs AND cashback from Dosh.

Dosh earns cashback at several local food joints

Cash out when you get $25 in your account – the money is transferred to your debit or credit card. Lots of restaurants offer 5% or 10% cashback. So depending on how often you dine out, you can get cash in your checking account or a credit on your card pretty fast.

Dosh is free to have and use. I don’t dine based on what’s on Dosh. But every once in a while, I’ll get a ping that I earned cashback for eating out, which is always a nice surprise. Plus you get $5 in your account just for signing up. Link your cards once and let the cash roll in. Set it and forget it.

Are there drawbacks?

These apps require you to enter your banking and/or email information to scan transactions. I’ve been using these apps for 6+ months and haven’t had any issues. But some peeps don’t want to share their information.

It’s all for data collection and piecing together your spending habits to use for marketing. Personally, I don’t care – it’s not like the banks aren’t already doing that.

If this part of the apps bothers you, it’s best to skip them altogether. As always, do what you’re personally comfortable with.

Bottom line

These 4 apps have gotten me free gift cards, credits from price protection, and cashback from normal spending. I didn’t go out of my way to earn any of it. Once you set them up, you don’t have to check again – earning rewards is effortless. And every little bit helps.

To that end, there’s no reason to turn down free cash, merchandise, or credits – unless the data collection piece bothers you. All you have to do is spend a few minutes setting up your accounts. Then never think about them again, except to see if you can redeem for rewards.

Drop in particular has great offers you can activate if you want – so I open that one most often (but you certainly don’t have to). I literally never look at Earny – just see the credits on my cards. There’s also no reason to ever check Spent or Dosh, except to redeem for cash.

Some apps (like Ibotta) require you to constantly interact. But these are easy and effortless.

Which is your fave? Are there other easy rewards apps you like better? 

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Dallas.

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Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post. The opinions of the commenters are not necessarily the opinions of this site.

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  1. […] 4 apps to effortlessly save money and get discounts (set & forget!) – Harlan and I share a love of personal finance and finding simple, yet effective, ways to save money. When you can save automatically, that is even better! I’ve written about Dosh and Earny, but haven’t tried out the others. I’ll definitely be signing up. […]

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