Best supermarket cashback apps
Believe it or not, there's a way to get money back every time you shop at the supermarket. We're here to show you how with supermarket cashback apps.
According to our National Student Money Survey, the average student spends £101 a month on groceries. And, unlike other costs, it's not something you can afford to scrimp on too much – everyone's got to eat!
Luckily, there are loads of ways to save on your supermarket shopping and using cashback apps is one of our favourites. These apps give you the buzz of being paid to shop!
If you follow our tips it’s possible to claim back hundreds of pounds every year and bag a whole load of freebies in the process.
What’s in this guide?
How do supermarket cashback apps work?
If you’re familiar with online cashback you'll know roughly how the process works. You head to a cashback website, use their link to buy a product and they'll track the purchase, later reimbursing you a percentage of the sale to your account. Simple, right?
Supermarket cashback apps work in a similar way, but with one major perk – in some cases, you can be reimbursed 100% of the cost of your purchase, so you essentially get something for free.
How to use supermarket cashback apps
This is how to use supermarket cashback apps to get cheap and free food:
- Download and open up one of the apps to see what items are eligible for cashback (and which shops are taking part)
- Head to the nearest participating store and purchase the items (making sure to keep the receipt)
- Scan the receipt and, if necessary, the barcodes using the cashback app
- Wait for your cashback to track (this can take up to a week)
- Withdraw the money to your bank account or PayPal account.
How to get free food on cashback apps
We’ve found deals on a huge array of different foods, but the offers are mainly on products from brands which are new to the market, or new products from well-established brands.
Here's a list of just some of the totally free items we've claimed in the past:
- Peanut butter
- Yorkshire Tea
- Walker's crisps
- Coca Cola
- Ready meals
- Easter eggs
- So much more...
We’ve also seen cashback available for non-food items, too, like shampoo and even pet food. While there's no point in buying something you don't want for a partial refund, if it's a full refund you might as well make the most of it – never turn down a few freebies, we say!
Plus, if it's something you don't like or won't use, you can donate your freebies to a food bank.
Where can you use cashback apps?
Usually, these apps only work with receipts from big supermarkets (Tesco, ASDA, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and the Co-op) but most of the time the app will let you know where you can shop in order to be eligible for the cashback.
In some cases, they even have a map pinpointing the nearest eligible stores, meaning you know exactly where to go.
It's also worth noting that in some instances you have to buy the product from a specific supermarket chain in order to get the cashback. If it's not your local store, think about whether it's worth trekking further afield just to nab the freebies – you might end up spending more on transport!
And don't worry if you do your food shopping online – most supermarket cashback apps accept online shopping receipts as well as the in-store equivalent (although there are occasionally some exceptions).
To be on the safe side, we'd recommend always checking the T&Cs to see which shops are excluded for every offer you try out, as well as if you're allowed to buy the products online.
Are supermarket cashback apps reliable?
Most supermarket cashback apps allow you to check the eligibility of an item in-store by scanning the barcode there and then. We'd always recommend that you do this to avoid buying an ineligible product.
For example, in a lot of cases the size of the item is important. You don't want to accidentally buy a 500g box of biscuits when only the 200g pack is eligible.
Once you've bought the item and applied for your cashback, the apps themselves recommend keeping hold of your receipts until you receive your payout. This is just in case there are any problems, like if the picture you've taken doesn't include all of the info needed.
The best way to avoid having to rescan your receipt and items is to make sure the photographs you submit are clear and legible. Try placing the receipt on a dark surface to make it stand out, and ensure there's plenty of light.
Best supermarket cashback apps
If you want to get the most cashback from your shopping, we'd recommend downloading all of the apps available. This is because each app will have different offers at any one time.
Before you go to do your weekly shop, have a quick flick through them all to see what's available and make a note of any deals you want to take advantage of.
Best for: Freebies and referral bonuses
Minimum cashout: None
Things you need to know: Shopmium is the only app where you also need to scan in your barcodes, so don’t eat your freebie before you have a chance to claim on it.
What's more, you can get 100% cashback on a bag of Malteasers when you sign up to the app using the link below.
But our favourite thing about Shopmium is that you can refer friends to build up credit. Each time a friend joins and uses the app, you'll receive £3 as a bonus.
You can't withdraw this credit, but it can be used to boost your cashback on items that aren't 100% free. For example, if Shopmium is offering £3 cashback on a £6 item, it will use your credit (if you have it) to boost this up to £6 – meaning you get a full refund!
Essentially, more referrals equals more free stuff!
Best for: Frequent updates and alcohol
Minimum cashout: £20 (5% charge if £19.99 or less)
Things you need to know: CheckoutSmart is always being updated with new offers, and at any given time there'll usually be at least 40 on the app.
But if a really strong offer pops up it's usually only valid for no more than two days – so you'll need to get down to the supermarket ASAP.
CheckoutSmart is also the best app for getting cashback on alcohol. There's almost always an offer running on some kind of beer or spirit, so if you're planning on pre-drinking with your friends anytime soon, this could be a great way to stock up.
Best for: Surprise offers
Minimum cashout: None
Things you need to know: A couple of times a year, Quidco offers a really big freebie like a box of ice creams or a pumpkin – so it’s definitely worth checking the site for these.
As they're owned by the same company, Quidco ClickSnap and CheckoutSmart often have the same offers as each other. Sadly, this also means that you also can't use the same receipt on each app.
However, if you get a separate receipt you should be able to use the offer twice – once on Quidco ClickSnap, and once on CheckoutSmart.
Best for: Fresh fruit and veg
Minimum cashout: £1.50
Things you need to know: Until relatively recently, GreenJinn only worked at Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose. It's now available at most major supermarkets (plus some other retailers, including Amazon), but not all offers work at all shops, and the original three still have the most deals on the app.
That said, there’s often a lot of fresh produce offers on GreenJinn (as well as plenty of unhealthy treats too) – ideal if you’re trying to get more vitamins into your diet.
And, while you won't be able to use the same receipt to claim cashback on CheckoutSmart and Quidco ClickSnap, you may occasionally be able to claim on one of the two, plus GreenJinn. Every now and again the same product will be listed on both (or all three), and as GreenJinn isn't owned by the same parent company, you can claim cashback on multiple services.
TopCashback Snap & Save
Best for: Everyday staples
Minimum cashout: None
Things you need to know: TopCashback tends to update the Snap & Save offers every Thursday, and although the list is usually on the shorter side, the quality of the deals can often make up for it.
Most of the time you can redeem the offers at any supermarket, and they’ll often be on more general products like own-brand foods, which is helpful. What's more, there will occasionally be an offer to get more than 100% cashback on a purchase, meaning you essentially get paid to shop. The dream!
How to maximise cashback earnings
It's great to save a little bit of money, but here at Save the Student we love to supercharge the savings. Here are a few hacks and tips that will help you get even more out of using these apps:
- Use these apps alongside supermarket loyalty schemes to earn points
- Check prices on each supermarket's website before you go
- Keep hold of your receipt until the money is in your account
- See if you can use any in-store coupons with your purchase
- Scan any receipts you collect once more to earn Amazon vouchers.
Get EVEN more out of your phone with our list of the best apps for students.