The Best Apps and Websites to Score Free Stuff
The following post is a guest post by Alanna Abramsky from The Budget Babes.
Over at The Budget Babes, I’m constantly on the lookout for apps and websites that will allow me to save even more money while living in Toronto. Thanks to Mark’s site today, I’ve come up with a list of my top 5 apps and websites that are free, and give me rewards just for using them. I hope you benefit from the list below as much as I have. I’ve saved a lot of money with very little effort.
- Biko – This is for all the cyclists out there! The Biko app is available for Android or iPhone and rewards you for improving your health, the environment, and your city. Once you’ve turned on the app and start your activity, the GPS will track every kilometer you ride, and you’ll receive one Biko per kilometer. And once you’ve hit 5 kilometers (or 5 Bikos) you can start to redeem them! Rewards include free coffee, brewery tours, beer flights, food deliveries, and discounts at Toronto restaurants, workout classes, bike shops, online stores, and so much more.
- Ebates.ca (Note: referral link for Alanna) – Big into online shopping? This is the website for you. With over 750 stores to choose from why wouldn’t you use this website to get some cash back on everything you buy? You were going to make those purchases anyways, right? Might as well save some money if you can. From stores such as Apple, GAP, Sephora, eBay, Amazon, along with so many others, you’ll see your cash back add up quickly. And if you sign up using my referral code, you get $5 cash back as a starter sign up bonus.
(Editors’ Note – My wife and I are also users of Ebates.ca although we don’t do a ton of online shopping.)
- Minicard Toronto – This is my newest go-to site for finding information and discounts for fun things to do around the GTA (Greater Toronto Area). Minicards are small, credit-card sized informational guides that provide tourists and locals with discounts for museums, attractions, restaurants, retail stores, transportation (10% off of Via), and so much more. Heading to Second City or the Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto? Hitting up Salad King for some yummy Thai food? Head over to Minicard Toronto to download your discount card and start saving. You can also find the physical Minicards in tons of downtown hotel lobbies, condos, apartments, tourism centers, universities, ESL centers, and airport terminals.
- Checkout 51 – Hello? Any coupon collectors out there? Since we’re already buying toiletries, household items, and groceries, we might as well start saving some money on it. Checkout 51 is a mobile coupon app that provides users with a new list of offers every week. When you buy a product on offer, take a picture of your receipt, tick off the coupon that you are claiming, and your account will be credited with the offer amount. It’s that easy. And you’ll see your savings add up fast. Once you’ve collected $20 worth of savings, you can request a cheque in the mail!
- Drop – Launched in 2015, this new Toronto startup will supercharge your credit and debit cards just by linking them to the Drop app. You’ll collect drop points when you buy your morning coffee, head to your favourite restaurant, or hit up the coolest events in the city. And it does it for you automatically so you don’t have to do a thing besides register. You can build your own Drop program with personalized offers that will get you more points when you spend at those stores. And when you’ve collected enough Drop points, you can redeem them towards all rewards across the Drop program. High fives all around for Drop.
So there you have it! Those apps and websites have been helping me save more money while living in the big city.
Thanks for this Alanna. Mark here – I’ll add a couple of our own for extra measure although they may not necessarily give you free stuff all the time but they will help you save money.
- Flipp – A buddy of mine in Toronto told me about this app a few years ago and we’ve been using it ever since. The free Flipp app is a great shopping comparison tool for Android or iPhone. As the app promotes, it makes weekly shopping easy by providing the most current digital circulars right to your phone, including coupons.
- Great Canadian Rebates (Note: referral link for Mark) – Didn’t get enough online shopping yet? Well, if you have to shop online try Great Canadian Rebates. GCR for short, works in partnership with over 500 well known merchants. Some of these outlets already offer great deals and savings but you save even more money when you shop online as a member. Once you register, you can save an average of 5% more through cash back rebates and even more money using GCR coupons, deals, discounts and sales links.
Do you have a favourite app or website that you use for discounts and coupons? Leave a comment below.
Alanna is a fan of My Own Advisor. She is also a travel junkie who loves being surrounded by great food, friends and family, and amazing adventures big or small. When she’s not working on The Budget Babes, she can be found freelancing in the live events industry, or working on various side hustles. Keep up with The Budget Babes on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Checkout 51 is great if you have kids in diapers. Get $3 or $4 back on a box of diapers.
I use Flipp to price match and Checkout51 to get even more off.
Geez, $3 or $4 back on diapers for kids is a good thing given how much parents have to pay for those puppies. Thanks for sharing Chris.
I have yet to get my $20 payout from Checkout 51 and I’ve been using it for a few months. I’m at $13.10 and the most recent inclusion was $0.10 for buying milk. It takes shorter time if you buy a lot of processed goods (which I don’t). I have a review on my blog about Checkout 51 🙂 I am a huge fan of the Flipp app though since I don’t always get all the flyers where I live and if I’m looking for a particular something to buy I just check Flipp.
Flipp is great. We use it every week. I haven’t used Checkout 51 yet myself. We don’t buy many processed foods in our house.
Signed up for both Drop and Checkout51.
Quick review: both have big limitations by design.
With Drop, you earn points from spending money at certain retailers only and can redeem said points at certain retailers only. If you infrequently spend at any of the partnered retailers, point accumulation will be very slow (and mostly a useless app). However, after the sloggy set-up, it’s a no-brainer app.
Checkout51 offers cold hard cash rewards. However, because of the retailer/corporate partnerships, choice is heavily skewed and, for my liking, not that agreeable; e.g. I can get $3 for buying a tub of ice cream or $0.10 for buying apples. Again, if you don’t buy a lot of packaged goods, accumulation of cash-back will be slow. But at least it’s cash. There is also the additional step of having to take a pic of and uploading the purchase receipt…so you always have to remember to 1) take a hardcopy receipt and 2) take a pic of it…good luck trying to formulate those new habits.
Summary: neither app has great choices; Drop is super simple but Checkout51 offers cash.
I would take the apples over ice cream myself…although there is a time in indulge now and again. Drop is very simple. I recall seeing a demo of that before – they did a great job with that app.
Thanks for the Biko app info — I had no idea! It’s not partnered with my city (yet!) but I will pass along the info to those cycling enthusiasts/bike racers I know in Vancouver and annual South-bound travellers (Cartagena). Easy pickin’s for them!
My contribution in the same vein is the walking/step app Carrot Rewards (https://www.carrotrewards.ca/home/). Funded by provincial governments, it’s available in BC, Ont., and NFL. It’s accessible to almost everyone — no equipment required. The odd thing is it’s main partners are companies such as SCENE (Swiss Chalet, Harvey’s) and Petro-Canada…it’s forcing you to be healthy to get unhealthy rewards (they recently cancelled their partnership with Sport Check).
Interesting…thanks for the contribution! Didn’t hear of that one before!