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Should you bother with cashback apps such as Shopitize, CheckoutSmart, ClickSnap, Shopmium, Green Jinn and Topcashback to bring down the cost of your supermarket shop? I’ve reviewed and rated each one.

I’m not a huge fan of couponing for groceries – they’re rarely for things I want, and I just don’t have the time to hunt around to see what’s on offer.

In theory, apps which give you cashback on your supermarket shop make it easier – for a start you don’t need to search through newspapers and online for the discounts. But they’re not always as simple as they suggest. I’ve taken a look at how they work, what to watch for, and how to get the best out of them.

Plus there’s a code to get a free treat with Shopmium!

How supermarket cashback apps work

Unlike when you use cashback sites to shop by clicking through, here the cashback is earned after you’ve bought the goods.

So you look at the apps before you head to the supermarket – or even when you’re walking the aisles – to see the different promotions, shop as normal and claim when you get home.

Each app works slightly differently, but they all require you to select the offer you are claiming and upload a photo of your receipt.

If that’s all done correctly you’ll start to build up a little bit of extra money which you then transfer to your Paypal or bank account.

However, don’t get caught up in the discounts to buy stuff you don’t really need. I’ve heard of someone who bought some (admittedly free) dog food, even though they don’t even have a dog!

The different apps rated and reviewed

There are six different apps, though two are powered by the same company and usually have the same offers which can only be redeemed once.

CheckoutSmart

Available on both your phone and your desktop, CheckoutSmart is the best for freebies. It also has a far wider list of supermarkets, including online – though watch out as some cashback promotions are limited in stock and could have expired before your delivery comes.

It has a very high £20 payout level, though freebies can help you reach that amount if you use the app frequently

Where you can get cashback: All the main supermarkets, their online shops, Ocado, smaller stores such as Budgens, Iceland, Netto, and others (though promotions are limited at these).

Minimum payout level: £20 (no fee), £19.99 or under have a 5% fee

Good for: Online grocery shops and smaller retailers.

Rating: 7/10

>> Get the CheckoutSmart app

Shopmium

A newer one on the market, Shopmium has fewer offers, but often they’re for products you don’t see on the other apps. I’ve picked up a few bottles of half price wine and 60% off tasty Choco Leibniz biscuits.

You can also get a free gift when you sign up, worth £2. Bonus! Usually it’s a Lindt chocolate bar. Use the code z8pe2 to activate the offer.

Where you can get cashback: All the main supermarkets, and the odd offer at Whole Foods, M&S Simple Food and others.

Minimum payout level: £0.01

Good for: Quality products and free chocolate!

Rating: 7/10

>> Download Shopmium and get a free box of cornettos (use code z8pe2)

Quidco Clicksnap 

This app from Quidco runs pretty much the same offers as CheckoutSmart, but only for the major supermarkets, and not for online shopping.

However, the benefit here is there’s no minimum amount for payout. You will be given the money in your Quidco account and you can often boost the value by swapping for vouchers at places like Amazon or Marks & Spencer.

Where you can get cashback: All the main supermarkets

Minimum payout level: £0.01

Good for: Instant payout.

Rating: 7/10

>> Sign up to Quidco

Green Jinn

The newest of the apps, there are some different products to what you’ll normally see as it claims to only offer good quality or healthy food and drink. I like that it has everyday items like eggs and fruit rather than just new products brands are pushing.

Where you can get cashback: Just Sainsbury’s and Waitrose

Minimum payout level: £0.01

Good for: Buying normal items from Waitrose and Sainsbury’s.

Rating: 6/10

Topcashback

The Topcashback app works in much the same way as the others, but there aren’t as many offers there now as there used to be. With more deals on the other apps this one seems more hassle than it’s worth. Only bother if you want the full set.

Where you can get cashback: Just Sainsbury’s and Waitrose

Minimum payout level: £0.01

Good for: The odd deal.

Rating: 4/10

Shopitize

One of the first grocery cashback apps, Shopitize looks like it’s on its last legs.

In recent months though there have been very few offers and even then usually only for 10p off – making it difficult to reach the £4 payout. Ominously lots of people have claimed their accounts have been blocked, while the Shopitize Twitter account hasn’t been updated since October 2016.

It’s probably best to steer clear for now. If you’ve any money due, try to cash it out ASAP.

Where you can get cashback: Asda, Co-op, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose

Minimum payout level: £4

Good for: Sadly, very little right now.

Rating: 2/10

>> Get the Shopitize app

Do they save you money?

Well, yes I think they can save you money – though we’re only talking a few pounds and pence per item.

You can sometimes get all your money back – making the items free – as brands want you to try something different, especially new products.

Since uploading a receipt doesn’t take that long – say three minutes on average – I’d say it’s worth the time taken, despite the small returns.

The downsides

There are a few things worth knowing.

First, just because you’re saving 50p, it doesn’t mean you should buy it. It could be cheaper to get a different brand on offer in the supermarket. Or it might be better to just go without if it’s not something you really need – even if it does only cost 20p after cashback.

You also need to make sure you’re getting a) the right item, and b) from the right supermarket. It’s often only specific varieties or sizes that are valid for the cashback, or you can only claim from one or two chains. I’ve certainly missed out by accidently picking up raspberry rather than strawberry jam, or bought in Tesco to find the offer was only valid for Sainsbury’s.

Frustratingly, receipts will sometimes be rejected for quality purposes. You then need to retake the photos and upload them until they are accepted. This takes time which for me can outweigh the benefits of saving 30p; I’ve often better things to be getting on with. But this happens far less to me now than it did a few years ago.

Payout limits are also something to watch out for. It can sometimes take a while to build up enough cashback in your account to let you cash out.

Six ways to make supermarket cashback apps work for you

It’s well worth adding these apps to your phone. I generally only check them when I get to the supermarket, but if you’ve a little more time it could help you choose where to shop.

  • Only buy what you want or were planning to buy
  • Look for double discounts where items are also on special offer
  • Make sure you buy the right product
  • And make sure you buy at a participating supermarket chain
  • Don’t go out of your way to track down one of the items – if they don’t have stock (which often happens to me) it’s a wasted journey
  • Offers can change weekly, so don’t forget to snap your receipt as soon as you get home

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