Couponing is coming out of the Dark Ages, and going Paperless with iPhone Apps like CheckOut51
by Anna Coleshaw-Echols of LunchFor1.com food blog
Having just broken down and bought into a 3-year contract with Rogers last November on the older model iPhone4S ($79 vs. $149/$279/$379), I was happy to finally be able to join the App-age of grocery shopping in 2013.
The first App I downloaded to help me save money at the grocery store was Canada’s Checkout51. It’s free and you can get it here. They also have a Facebook Page that answers a lot of FAQs – it can be found here.
This App works only on the iPhone platform. However, I was telling my neighbour yesterday about the App and discovered that you can find Checkout51 via the App Store (under iPhone), and it will work on your iPad as well. Checkout51 is still working on their Android version, and report that they have not yet begun to create an App for the BlackBerry. Sorry BB users!!
I have to admit upfront that I am not much of a coupon-collector. I’ve collected a few of them each year in my travels, however I’ve been more likely to forget them at home or misplace them.
But now with the Checkout51 App, which I just used for the first time last Thursday at Superstore, I can SO do this AND save money on my groceries, which is my #1 goal for 2013. I simply segregated my Checkout51 grocery list items, and had the cashier at Superstore ring them through separately so that I had an easy to manage receipt to submit.
When I got home, I opened the App and took a photograph of the receipt with my iPhone and sent it off via the App to Checkout 51 for processing. What could be easier than that? No postage stamps, no self-addressed / stamped envelopes, no filling out paperwork. Just 1 – 2 – 3, Buy Products – Upload Your Receipt – Get Cash. I had a confirmation email within a couple hours of submitting my receipt – though they say that it can take up to 48 hours to process your rebate.
Once your Checkout51 rebate total hits $20, you can request that a cheque be mailed to your home. However, I think that I will ‘let it ride’ for a few months, and then I’ll be excited to request and receive a rebate cheque big enough to buy a whole week’s worth of groceries!
On my first usage of the App, I scored $4.50 in rebates on just 6 items of the 10 eligible choices for this week. I could have bought all ten items, and saved $11.50 in total, but my husband and I do not subscribe to the ‘buy-now and stock up just because it’s on sale’ philosophy – it’s just the two of us in our household. So I bought what we needed, and that was all. It’s important to note that you only get the savings rebate one-time per iPhone on any given product.
Checkout51’s list of eligible items is posted each Thursday, and I received a “New Offers Available” email directing me to Checkout51’s website at 5am CST. Please realize that there are only so many rebates available for each item, so if your usual grocery shopping day is Wednesday, and you wait 6 days after receiving Checkout 51’s email to purchase your eligible items… well… you may not get the rebate if others beat you to it and use up all the ‘coupons’ available. My Thursday shopping day was perfect timing to ensure I received all the rebates.
I expect that the company is ramping up its selection of rebate providers so that the eligible weekly offers will eventually amount to more than 10 choices. And slipping my marketing hat on, I’m betting that winning over the big brands, and getting them to test paperless rebates VS. in-hand paper coupons is going to take more than a few months to conquer. I personally look forward to using this App on a regular basis. I believe that it will motivate me to grocery shop for eligible items even on weeks when I wouldn’t normally need to make a trek to the grocery store, and in my books, and from my retail background… that’s smart marketing by Checkout 51 and the brands it is promoting.
Next time I’d love to tell you about my experiences using my iPhone to create grocery lists. On this trip I tested out ShopListFree for my Superstore visit. But I plan to review a new App each time I visit the grocery store for my monthly shop, so stay tuned. And please visit my Food Blog to see all the great things that I made with my Checkout51 purchases, including my low-carb/low-fat Smoothie and my Weight Watchers’ inspired Healthy Chai Tea Coconut Loaf that uses no dairy including no eggs, and no butter.