Using Checkout 51 to save money on your groceries

Probably one of the biggest variable categories and one of the areas with the most potential to save is food. Food can range from those who eat out almost every night to those with large gardens who may spend very little, with pretty much every data point between the extremes.

While we don’t do the extreme couponing that you see on TV, we do cut coupons for items we commonly buy. We shop a handful of stores for various items depending on where we typically get the best deal, and we try to stock up on items when we see a really good sale.

Recently, I came across one more way that you can save a few more bucks on your weekly grocery bill.

Checkout 51

Checkout 51 is an app that is available for both Android and iPhone. Here is how it works.checkout 51

Each week Checkout 51 posts a list of special deals. Usually there are 30-35 items with specific cash back offers. Most items offer cash back between $0.25 to 3 or 4 dollars, depending on the price of the item.

Simply do your normal shopping at your local grocery store but if you purchase one of the items on the list, save your receipt.

The app then works in conjunction with the phone on your smart phone. You simply tell it you want to upload the receipt. It launches your camera and allows you to easily take a picture of the receipt and preview the result. If your receipt is long it is very easy to piece together multiple pictures. Once you have a good picture of the receipt, you check off which cash back offers you are claiming and then upload the information.

When Checkout 51 receives the receipt, they send an e-mail promising to process your upload within 48 hours. In practice, I have found it rarely takes more than 3 or 4 hours. Once they have reviewed your receipt to verify the date and that it contains the items you claimed, they send another e-mail letting you know your claim has been processed and how much your account was credited.

Each Wednesday night at midnight they refresh the list of items with cash back available.

Once you have $20 accumulated in your account, Checkout 51 sends you a check with your savings.

That’s really all there is to it.

What I like about Checkout 51

It is easy. It probably takes me less than a minute to upload a new receipt. And I have never yet had an issue with the receipt being processed.

They usually have at least a couple generic produce cash back offers. I have seen offers for bananas, apples, tomatoes, and carrots in the time I have been using the service. Usually, coupons for fresh produce are rare, so it’s nice to find a way to save a little on these purchases.

There are no limitations on where you can shop. According to their website you can even use online purchases, though I haven’t tried that personally yet.

It is combined with other offers. On our most recent shopping trip, we had a 50 cents off coupon for a popular household cleaning product. Our store doubles coupons under a $1.00. Plus Checkout 51 had a $1.00 cash back offer. So the all in all we saved $2.00 on the purchase.

What I don’t like about Checkout 51

Really about the only negative I would site is that I wish they had a bigger selection of items. I am not sure how long they have been in business, but hopefully maybe their list of products will grow over time.

The other caution is one I would add with any kind of coupon. Make sure you are not tempted to buy items you wouldn’t have normally bought. If you buy a $5.00 item to get a $1.00 cash back, remember you didn’t “save” $1.00, you spend $4.00! It is great to save on things you would be buying anyway, just don’t fall into the trap of buying to get the extra “savings”.

Also Checkout 51 currently is only available for stores in the US and Canada. If you are elsewhere, you are out of luck.

A handy app

You aren’t going to get rich with Checkout 51. It isn’t likely to move the needle on your budget. But it really takes very little effort to upload the receipt and if I can save a few bucks here and there on things I would be buying anyway, then count me as a fan!

What savings apps do you find useful?

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