Not so long ago, savvy shoppers cut coupons and filled out rebate forms to save a few dollars on clothing, electronics, and household goods. They relied on travel agents to get them the best deals vacation packages. And if they wanted a price adjustment, they had to drive back to the store where they had originally made their purchase.
Not surprisingly, all of those things can now be done from the convenience of your smartphone. Here are 10 apps that offer great shopping deals on everything from last-minute hotel rooms to designer handbags to everyday grocery items.
Slickdeals relies on the power of crowdsourcing to uncover the best deals on everything from clothing to household goods to electronics. The deal-sharing platform looks to its millions of members to find, share, and rate deals and coupons like a social media and e-commerce mash-up. Based on votes and feedback, the hottest online and in-person offers make it to the Frontpage, but you can also find deals by browsing category pages or searching for a specific sale.
One of the most popular features is the Slickdeals community forum, where users share feedback and product reviews to help each other make smart purchasing decisions. The app also lets you configure deal alerts based on keyword, stores, or categories and set push notifications so that you never miss a new offer or coupon. And if you’re not ready to pull the trigger? Slickdeals allows you to save deals as favorites for easy reference.
Gone are the days of schlepping envelopes stuffed with coupons from store to store. Or worse, of forgetting those valuable clipped coupons at home. The future of couponing is SnipSnap, an app that turns printed offers into mobile-optimized ones that can be redeemed right off your screen. Instead of snipping, simply snap photos of your coupons with your phone and import them into the app. (Currently, SnipSnap only supports retail, restaurant, and local coupons, meaning you can’t save those manufacturer coupons you use at the grocery store.) When you enter a store, SnipSnap will send a push notification if you have a relevant coupon saved. The app can also let you know if a coupon is expiring soon.
A fun and futuristic feature is Scout, SnipSnap’s personal savings assistant that can locate the best deals when you’re out and about. Say you’re shopping for a birthday present at Toys “R” Us. If you snap a photo of a toy, Scout will respond with any applicable coupons, mobile rebates, or price-match opportunities.
One Kings Lane
A must-have app for design enthusiasts, One Kings Lane features daily sales on name-brand furniture, rugs, kitchenware, decorative accessories, bedding, art and more. Discover the perfect throw pillow or framed print by using filters and categories to narrow down the options, or try the search function to find exactly what you want. The catch? Most sales last only 72 hours, so you’ll want to shop early — and often.
Besides daily deals on top retail brands, One Kings Lane offers Tastemaker Tag Sales, giving shoppers access to the personal collections of some of the biggest names in the design industry. Occasionally, authentic props from popular movies and TV shows are up for grabs in Straight from the Set sales, and one-of-a-kind vintage pieces are always available in One Kings Lane’s vast online marketplace.
Like One Kings Lane, Zulily is a daily deal app featuring 72-hour sales. However, Zulily’s curated collections aren’t limited to just home decor. The app also offers deep discounts on fashion and accessories for men, women, and, often, pets. However, Zulily is probably best known for its deals on children’s clothing, toys, gifts, and accessories — up to 70% off retail prices.
Zulily refers to its app as “a treasure chest” because you never know what brands will be featured each day. While there’s always a great mix of well-known and newer brands, if you’re in the market for something specific — a Step2 climbing play set for your toddler grandson, perhaps? — it likely won’t be available when you want it. Find out when your favorite brands will be on sale by signing up for email alerts and notifications.
For shoppers who lust over luxury brands but shy away from high-end prices, there’s Gilt — a mobile app offering daily designer sales for women, men, kids, and home. Inventory may be more limited than other daily deal apps, as Gilt sales last only 36 hours; however, being the first to snag a luxury item at up to 70% off retail is part of the thrill. Be sure to sign up for real-time notifications when sales start or when one of your waitlist items becomes available. Then act quickly!
In addition to access to designer brands at insider prices, the Gilt app offers deals to exclusive experiences and offers in 12 major cities, including New York, Chicago, and Dallas. Don’t worry if your hometown isn’t on the list yet: Gilt City features national deals in addition to local ones.
Offering more than 500,000 coupons for 50,000 stores, you’re almost guaranteed to save money at your favorite retailer or restaurant using RetailMeNot. The app eliminates the hassle of printing coupons before you leave the house and the frustration of trying to find the one you need at the bottom of your purse. Simply pull up the coupon on your phone at checkout and save!
What’s more, the RetailMeNot coupon app can alert you to nearby deals and notify you when coupons you’ve saved are about to expire. Of course, you can always search for the coupons you want by browsing Categories and Trending Deals, or use the bookmark tool to quickly find the best offers available at your favorite stores. Selecting your favorite stores will also allow the app to offer personalized recommendations and identify the best deals just for you.
What’s better than using coupons or discount codes to save money? How about earning money every time you shop? Ibotta is a free app that offers cash back on groceries, apparel, cosmetics, electronics and more at hundreds of your favorite stores. Here’s how it works, in a nutshell: Unlock Ibotta’s exclusive rebates, go shopping, and then submit a receipt or link a loyalty card to get cash back.
The app offers a variety of ways to earn extra cash back, from buying featured items at specific retailers to inviting friends to join with a referral code. You can also link your account to Facebook and connect with family or friends to earn monthly Teamwork bonuses. Ibotta pays in cash via PayPal or Venmo, or you can use your earnings to buy gift cards for stores like Amazon and Starbucks. And payment is quick — you’ll get your cash back within 48 hours of verifying your purchases.
Like Ibotta, Paribus also puts money back in your pocket, but in a slightly different way. The app automatically works to get you a price adjustment when something you’ve purchased online goes on sale. By linking your inbox, Paribus can track price drops, missed coupons, and price-match opportunities on your purchases, everything from clothing and electronics to food and household goods. Most shoppers forget to check whether they qualify for a price-drop adjustment, but Paribus doesn’t.
There is one catch though: Paribus isn’t exactly free. After your first complimentary saving, Paribus takes a 25% commission off the price-drop adjustment. However, by referring friends, you can eventually drop the percentage down to 0%. It’s also worth noting that while Paribus isn’t reading your email, it can still detect and pull receipts from online stores based on sender and subject.
Described as “new-age couponing,” Checkout51 offers rebates on one thing and one thing only: groceries. The app simplifies the cash back process, too. When you accumulate $20 in savings, Checkout51 mails you a check, making the rebate app a good choice for shoppers who don’t want to be paid electronically or with a gift card.
The process is so simple that even a novice can figure it out. Offers are posted just once a week, and the products listed — milk, eggs, Triscuit crackers, etc. — can be purchased at any grocery store, including chains like Safeway, Costco, and Whole Foods. Select your offers and then, after you shop, take a photo of your receipt to redeem the rebates.
There’s something luxurious about making last-minute travel plans, and it’s usually not the price. Before you book your next room, check out Jetsetter’s exclusive last-minute deals at the world’s greatest hotels. Granted, the selection is often limited, but if there’s an offer available (and if you’re staying in one of the seven cities they feature), you could save up to 60% off.
Not in a hurry? Take advantage of the travel app’s daily sales to find 5-star hotels, once-in-a-lifetime adventures, and weekend getaways that can be booked in advance. You won’t exactly be making an impulse purchase, as deals usually last between 5 and 10 days. You could also book a trip to one of Jetsetter’s collection of properties and travel experiences available year-round. The app specializes in posh hotels, vacation homes, and tour packages, and provides first-hand reviews and insider tips from travel experts, so you can rest assured you’ll be traveling in style wherever you go.