stretching your grocery budget: money saving apps

photo credit: corrine kutz @unsplash.com

(this post contains affiliate links which carry no cost to you but help support this blog)

 

I’m serving up something a little different for you today and talking about money. Specifically, how you can save it.

While paper and printable coupons are still around, there are newer kids in town who are here to save you money: apps. They function similarly to paper coupons, but (I think) carry higher payouts and are much safer than printable coupons which can invite viruses into your computer.

While money saving apps involve a little extra step than simply clipping coupons and handing them to the cashier, they are completely worth it. If you aren’t doing this, you’re leaving money on the table. In fact, just today, I was able to put $20 back into my grocery budget and another $20 is on its way in the mail.

 

In case you were missing a recipe, here’s a budget-friendly meal: best basic burritos. Click the pic for the recipe.

 

Here’s why I love these money saving apps:

  • No paper coupons to organize, lose and forget – all the offers are easily found within the app
  • You can earn money back on fresh produce!
  • With one of the apps, I can earn money back just for submitting a picture of a receipt.
  • Sometimes there are offers for the same product in more than one app which = even bigger savings!
  • It’s easier to let others in on the savings – with coupons, I just keep them for myself; with the apps, I can alert others of savings plus get a bonus for referrals.

All you need is a tablet, ipad or smartphone to download the apps plus your receipts and you’re ready to go. Since I’ve started using these money saving apps, I’ve earned back more than $140!

 

photo credit: alexander mils @unsplash.com

 

Below is a list of my favorite money saving apps plus how to use them. If you don’t have an account with these apps already, you’ll want to use the codes I give you for extra savings! (For transparency’s sake, I get a bonus too).

 

Ibotta:  This is my favorite app and that one that’s netted me the most money. As an added bonus, you can use it for mobile shopping and for more than just groceries. And there are bonuses available to increase your earnings. Here’s how it works:

  • Download it to your phone.
  • Sign up for an account (use this link to create it online https://ibotta.com/r/nuqylud or enter this code into the app itself: nuqylud) You get a $10 bonus for signing up and when you join my team, we get extra earning opportunities.
  • If you don’t have Ibotta already, you’ll definitely want to get it this month because you could earn back more an additional $100!
  • To use it, look for rebates in the app to match with the stores where you shop. Unlock the rebate and then redeem the offer by submitting your receipt (with a photo) once your purchase the item.
  • Once you bank at least $20, you can request a payout to PayPal, Venmo or in the form of a gift card.

 

Fetch Reward: A newer app which is even easier to use – all you need to do is submit a photo of your receipts and the app does the rest. At minimum, you get 25 points per submitted receipts and can earn additional points for product-specific purchases. Plus when you enter this code into the app: X3MCY, you will get a bonus 1,500 points when you complete one receipt (equal to $1.50). You can redeem your points for gift cards when you reach a minimum of 5,000 points (equal to $5)

 

Checkout 51: Similiar to Ibotta where you identify offers to redeem and take a photo of your receipt and submit it. Also has fresh produce offers and an added benefit of submitting receipts from any store. You can request a payout when you accumulate $20 in savings.

 

 

 

Saving Star: Similar to Ibotta and Checkout 51, but you can request a payout after only $5 of accumulated savings. Like Ibotta, Savings Star is only good with certain stores, so be sure to double check these before you shop.

 

 

 

Makeena: A newer app which works similar to the other apps and is geared to the organic/natural foods market and offers rebates on organic produce. You’ll want to enter this code: OJVUQZ in the app when you create your account to earn a bonus 1000 points (equal to $1). Like Saving Star, you can get a payout after $5 in savings.

 

 

 

Berry Cart: Also caters to the organic/natural foods market and works similarly to the other apps. Use this link: https://www.berrycart.com/rf/vT2VwMeSwX to create an account online and then download the app. Also allows you to get a payout after $5 in savings.

 

 

 

BONUS MONEY SAVING APPS

These are a little different than the ones mentioned above, but worth mentioning for their money saving power.

Target: If you haven’t started using Cartwheel yet, you need to as it saves you a percentage of selected products! The easiest way to find deals under cartwheel is to scan the barcodes for the products you’re purchasing in the app (and it’s fun too!). When you check out, have the cashier scan your barcode (in the app) and saving will automatically be applied as you checkout. Additional way to save: get a Target debit or credit card and save 5% every time you shop.

 

 

 

Whole Foods: Includes coupons in the app. Scan the barcode at checkout to have the savings applied when you checkout.

 

 

 

 

 

Ebates*: So this isn’t exactly for grocery shopping but it’s definitely worth mentioning. Ebates is mostly for online purchases, but there are some in-store options too! You get a certain percentage back for your purchases and they send you a check every quarter when you’ve accumulated savings over $5. Use this referral link https://go.ebat.es/imsk/yyy9XGYsVC for that so you can save $10 off your first purchase of $25 or more.

 

 

 

 

 

the best basic burrito recipe (vegan, dairy free, oil free option, gluten free option)

I could easily eat Mexican food most days of the week. That and my favorite Indian curry. I love how effortless it feels, how easily it adapts to a plant-based diet and that leftovers go a long way.

This basic burrito recipe is one of my go-to’s and is inspired by a recipe I found on Whole Foods years ago. One of the things I hope you will love about it is that once you have the basic flavor profile down, you can easily tweak it to your preferences…a little more garlic here, less tomato there, more spice, more lime).

 

Once the basic burrito mix is assembled, here’s how I put it together…

1) Grab your favorite tortillas (gluten free if needed) and spread on a generous layer of hummus – red pepper is best. The hummus is what makes vegan burritos “survive” without the cheese. If you need to keep things oil-free, use oil-free tortillas and oil-free hummus.

 

2) Add a few slices of avocado and mash well. This also helps round out the creaminess and moisture usually provided by dairy cheese. If you can’t stand avocado, you can use just a little and mix it in well with the hummus and your taste buds won’t be any wiser. Trust me. I’ve tested this on my avocado-averse family members.

 

3) Scoop on the rice.

 

4) Then add the bean mixture.

 

5) Accessorize with jalapeno peppers and chili flakes if you like a lot of heat. #bringiton, I say!

 

6) Now you’re ready to roll it up and put it in the oven. Usually, I just secure it with a toothpick, but you can wrap it in parchment paper if you are planning this for a take-it-with-you meal.

 

Print
best basic burritos

Easy to prepare, customizable and leftovers that go a long way are why this is my basic burrito recipe. Fresh flavors, oven toasted tortillas and creamy plant-based sub-ins for dairy cheese come together to make this weeknight favorite.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
Basic Burrito Filling
  • 3 cups black beans, canned or cooked according to package directions
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 limes, freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • dashes pepper
  • 1/4 cup veggie stock
Other ingredients
  • 1.5 cups brown rice
  • tortillas
  • red pepper hummus
  • avocado
  • jalapeno peppers (optional)
  • red chili flakes (optional)
Instructions
  1. If you don't have a rice cooker and need the rice ready in a hurry because you forgot to make it earlier (like I often do!), bring a pot of water to a boil, add the rice and cook it as you would pasta - over high heat and with the lid off. Set the timer for 23 minutes. In the meantime, you can prep your burrito filling...

  2. Add all the basic burrito filling ingredients to a mixing bowl, stir until thoroughly combined and adjust seasonings to your taste.

  3. To assemble the burritos, spread a generous helping of hummus on the tortilla and add a few pieces of avocado - give the avocado a mash. Spoon on the rice, then the bean mixture and "accessorize" with the jalapeno peppers and chili flakes if desired.

  4. Secure burritos with a toothpick or wrap in parchment paper and place on a baking sheet. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for about 15 minutes or until the tortillas are lightly browned on the edges.

Recipe Notes

These burritos keep well as leftovers and can be reheated by wrapping in tin foil and placing in a 350 degree F for about 20 minutes or until heated through. Oven re-heating may not top the microwave in speed, but it keeps your tortilla crisp like it was meant to be.

 

 

If you have family members who promise you they can’t survive without meat and will launch a revolt if you serve them only veggies, I give you permission to cook up some meat and add it to the burritos for the sake of keeping the peace.

 

 

 

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  • Though I prefer homemade tortillas, life is just too busy. So I save my sanity and buy my tortillas from Trader Joes – the chile ones are my favorite. If you need gluten-free tortillas, you can try these. For oil-free tortillas, try the Food for Life brand which can be found in most health food stores.
  • My favorite brand of store-bought hummus is Sabra. Roasted red pepper is my preferred flavor, especially for Mexican recipes (and even looks a little like cheese).
  • I prefer the unsalted veggie stock by Kitchen Basics if I don’t have my own on hand. If you can’t find it in your local grocery store, you can get it here.
  • My daughter and I have a mild obsession with Jeff’s Natural’s jalapeno peppers which you can find here. Jeff uses purer ingredients than the canned kind.