3 Easy Ways you can Save Money for Travel via @TravelLatte.net

3 Easy Ways you can Save Money for Travel

No matter what your budget is, you would probably appreciate more money in your vacation budget. Every little bit helps, and if it’s easy to do, that’s even better. With that in mind, here are three ways we save money for travel a little bit at a time using our smartphones.

Save money for travel while you shop, via @TravelLatte.com

Turn your grocery shopping into a vacation fund!
(Photo: © Syda Productions | Dreamstime.com )

Cash Back Grocery Apps

Couponing is nothing new, and it’s an easy way to divert money from something frivolous, like food or toilet tissue, to something more worthwhile. Money for travel, for example. The idea seems simple: You hand the cashier a coupon and your grocery bill goes down by a few cents. Problem is, most people never turn that into actual vacation savings by putting that saved change away.

A bevy of smartphone apps can do that for you, and we use them all the time. Here’s how most of them work:

  • Before you go shopping, check in the app to find rebate offers on items you need or want.
  • Don’t forget to select or activate the rebates before shopping!
  • Shop as normal.
  • When you get home, open the app and submit your receipt (by taking a picture with your smartphone’s camera). You may also have to select which items are on your receipt. For some apps, you may need to enter the product codes shown on your receipt for any produce you’ve purchased.
  • Sit back and watch the money for travel add up!

Much like coupons, the savings are small, individually. Once you get in the habit, though, you can save a few dollars on most trips. They sit in your app until you are ready to cash out. Method of payment varies by app.

These savings are in addition to any physical coupons or other apps you might use (and, of course, the miles you earn using a travel credit card). As an example, we recently got 25¢ for buying yogurt in one app, 50¢ for buying a specific yogurt in another app, and used a paper coupon for 50¢ off said yogurt. That’s $1.25 in savings for a yogurt that was on sale for a dollar. Cha-ching!

Here are the cash back grocery apps we use the most to help save money for travel:

Note: These apps are available for use in the United States only, and may have additional requirements or restrictions. Participating stores and brands vary.


Save Money for Travel with the Ibotta app, via @TravelLatte.net

Ibotta partners with brands to offer rebates on groceries, some consumer goods, alcohol (in some locations), restaurants, and some online retailers. Rebates generally range from 25¢ to $5, sometimes much more. While most rebates are for packaged foods, they often include generic “any brand” items, and loose produce. Some in-app purchases are available, also. There are frequently bonus opportunities for redeeming a specific number of rebates, buying multiple items in a brand family, or reaching specific goals.

The company has an entire bonus category for teams. Naturally, they want more people using the app, and word of mouth is a great recruiting tool. So is extra cash. To get it, recruit friends, family…blog readers…whoever you can to sign up and save with Ibotta. You’ll have a referral code in the app and, when your recruits use it, you get $5 and they get a $10 Welcome Bonus! Then, your team can start earning team bonuses for a few extra dollars. If you’re not using Ibotta yet, we’d be honored if you’d join our team by going here and signing up.

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When you’re ready to cash out, Ibotta will send the cash to your PayPal or Venmo account. Easy peasy. Just like that, your travel kitty got fatter!

Shopping Apps to save money for travel, via @TravelLatte.net

Checkout 51

Checkout 51 is very similar to Ibotta with two important exceptions: It is available in the United States AND Canada, and you can’t cash out until you have $20 in savings. Once you do, they’ll send you a check for your Travel Kitty! Third difference: You’re on your own with Checkout 51; there is no team structure. (Yes, you read that right. Somebody still writes checks. Kids, go ask Grandpa.)

App Store Badge Google Play Badge

Saving Star

Once nice thing about Saving Star, which is otherwise much like the last two apps, is the ability to link some stores’ loyalty cards. Nice, because it saves you the time and hassle of submitting pictures of your receipts. Another nice thing: There is a Healthy Offer every week, usually on fresh produce.

Saving Star also has One-or-Many rebates. With some, you can buy more to save more, while others require multiples to earn (larger) rebates. Usually, you can make purchases over time to earn the rebates. Sometimes, there are also “boosters” that help you reach goals faster by completing tasks or purchasing other products.

You can cash out once your account reaches $5. Saving Star will send money to your bank, PayPal or Upromise account, or you can choose a gift code for Starbucks, iTunes, or AMC Theatres.

App Store Badge Google Play Badge

There are sure to be similar apps out there. Feel free to share your favorites in the Comments.

Job Hunting

A caveat: This tip will feed your travel kitty indirectly, as it does not reward cold hard cash. However, it is a “cash equivalent.”

Having a job is a sure way to save money for travel, but that’s not what we’re talking about. If you are job hunting, though, you may have heard of the site Indeed, which lists job openings across the country. Ever wonder where those jobs come from?

Job Hunting for Money to Travel via @TravelLatte.net

Help Wanted signs can help you save for vacation! (Photo: Suchat Pederson / The News Journal)

The other end of Indeed is an app called Job Spotter, which we think is pure genius. While you’re out running errands, traveling, or even job hunting, you can use the app to submit Help Wanted signs you see. Once validated, those jobs will be posted to Indeed to help job seekers and employers find each other.

You, the Job Spotter, are rewarded with points. Each validated Help Wanted sign will earn you up to 150 points. Each point is currently worth a penny, so you’re earning up to $1.50 for each submission. You can then redeem your points for Amazon gift cards to go shopping for just about anything your travel heart desires. Meanwhile, your money for travel is left to grow.

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Job Spotter is currently active in the US, Australia, Canada, and the UK.

Editor’s Note: The Job Spotter app is currently unavailable. While Indeed indicates this is temporary, no date has been given for it’s return. From the Job Spotter web site:

In light of the global health crisis, Indeed is ceasing operation of Job Spotter for now. We are no longer accepting new submissions.

Survey Says…

Taking surveys for travel money, via @TravelLatte.net

You could win travel money on Family Feud, or you could just take a few surveys…

Another caveat: This one grows your travel kitty indirectly as well, with a variety of gift card redemptions instead of cash.

Pop quiz: What do you do while you’re waiting in line to renew your passport so you can get back on the road? Don’t tell me. You start playing with your smartphone, of course! But, once you’ve caught all your Pokemon, then what?

How about opening an app and answering a few survey questions, or responding to marketing emails? That’s the idea behind e-Miles and e-Rewards. Both programs are free to join, and you can join both programs. While the two are related, they are a little different in how they work and contribute to your stash of money for travel.

With e-Miles, anyone can join and earn miles/points by responding to marketing messages, completing actions, or shopping. You select a specific airline or hotel chain, then all of your earnings will go to that option in the form of miles or points. However, once you’ve selected your earning partner, you cannot change it without forfeiting any miles or points in your account. Choose wisely.

e-Rewards is more exclusive. They call it “invitation-only.” Essentially, they provide a program for companies like American Airlines or Hilton Hotels, allowing their customers to earn miles, points, or gift cards as rewards for taking surveys. You may see an invitation to join from your airline or hotel loyalty program, for example, but you cannot simply join from the e-Rewards site. Surveys can take anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour to complete. Even if you try but don’t qualify for a survey, you’ll at least get credit for trying. Each survey has a different reward level; once completed, that reward is added to your balance. While your rewards are shown as dollar figures, it’s a cash equivalent which can be spent on gift cards for the sponsor company (in our case, American Airlines), and usually a few other retailers, hotels, and services.

As with rebate apps, there are many other survey reward sites and apps. We’d love to hear about your favorites in the Comments.

Earn travel money with eMiles & eRewards, via @TravelLatte.net

There’s a difference in redemption options between e-Miles and e-Rewards, but you can join both.

Feeding the Vacation Kitty

Whether it’s buying things from Amazon for your travels, paying towards flights or rooms, or padding the bankroll, we think of these all as “feeding the vacation kitty.” Ours certainly has an endless appetite! We would love to hear about the creative ways you have found to save money for travel. If you use, or plan to start using any of these apps, we’d love to hear about your experience, too. Tell us all about it in a Comment!

28 comments on “3 Easy Ways you can Save Money for Travel

  1. Pingback: Three Ways to Save for Travel while Shopping at Target - TravelLatte

  2. Ah yes, I have been doing e-rewards surveys to stock up my Alaska Airlines miles for a couple of years. I currently have enough for a round-trip to New Zealand! Working hard to turn that into two RTs 🙂 Great post, thanks for sharing!

    • The Rob half of Ann+Rob stands accused of obsessing with them, too. The Ann half laughs…but secretly enjoys the extra budget. 😉 Thanks for stopping by, Sarah – we both hope you fare well with the apps!

  3. Great list Rob and Ann, I’d never heard of Job Spotter before but it sounds like such a great community-minded idea. Another website that’s great is UsabilityHub where you get paid to respond to 30 second questions around website/app designs

    • Thanks David! We’re going to find UsabilityHub – sounds like a great idea and helpful too. I can think of a few sites/apps that could really use that sort of research. I wonder if they take referrals? 😉

  4. Such a great post – we are using just the miles for now but we will definitely give a try to the others. When it comes to travel, every penny matters. Thanks for sharing, saving it for future reference.

    • Thanks Oana – we use points and miles a lot as well. We like these tools because the money generated just sits there – sort of out of mind – until we’re ready to use it for a trip. Kind of a nice bonus! Thanks for reading!

    • Hi guys – We are big fans of points and miles, too. With the airlines tightening up their programs, alternative funds become more important. It would take a while for these to add up to air fare, but every penny helps! Thanks for reading!

  5. I have read many posts on how to save money to travel (I have even written one myself) but this has to be the most inventive and original! You really have come up with easy and fantastic ways to save, I love it, the apps are a fantastic idea! Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention, I will have to look into this for sure 🙂 #feetdotravel

    • Actually, Angie, I sort of owe the idea of the post to you! You used the phrase “pennies to pounds” recently, and it’s been in my head that I wanted to follow up on that idea. (Another one is coming, by the way!) Not long after, I noticed that I haven’t seen/heard anybody talking about these apps – maybe because they only add pennies at a time. So bam! New post. Hopefully it helps everyone turn those pennies into pounds! (Or dollars, since most of this batch aren’t available in the UK. Booo! 😉

  6. I need to be better about using the apps!! Job Spotter is a new one for me – will check it out! I’m always looking for ways to save money towards travels!!

    • Every little bit helps, right Jenn? Thanks for reading but, more importantly, welcome back! How was Italy? (As if it could be anything other than fabulous!)

    • Good to know, Lexx! I figured you would – and if anybody wants to list some of them here, all the better! I love that we can actually do something productive on our smartphones. I mean, besides saving the world from pigs and Pokemon. 😉

  7. Great Tips on ways to save money for travel. I have heard about those apps for shopping. Walmart is also one. All I know is you scan your receipt which price matches and gives you credit. (think thats how it works). e-Miles is a big one, and one I used often which took me too many travel locations & wonderful hotels and resorts plus upgraded to business class every so often 🙂 Thanks for sharing! 🙂 #feetdotravel

    • Hi Stephanie – glad you liked the tips! I’m always game to try something that will add to the kitty, even if it’s just a few cents here and there. It all adds up, right? I heard Angie (@FeetDoTravel) say “Pennies to Pounds” recently…that’s what it’s all about! And when it leads to Biz Class? #Bonus!! Thanks for your comment!

  8. Rob, these ideas are pure genius! I knew about food cash backs but didn’t know about the apps in here. Didn’t know about the points you can wind with Indeed (and I would in a recruiting department!). I need to start using some of those. I have the keep the change Bank of America’s programs and money accumulates fast. #TheTravelPostcard

    • Hi Ruth! I love Job Spotter / Indeed – I get a little change to put away, and I might be helping someone find a job. That’s a real win-win! It’s definitely my favorite of the bunch for that reason. I really do need to get with the program on the apps that round up your purchase and save the change! In that area, I’m definitely Mr. Slacker. 🙁

  9. I definitely learned about a few apps I didn’t know about. There are so many great ones out there. I think my favorite money making on is ebates. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

  10. When I began reading about the job spotter the first thing that came to my mind was that you go to apply for a job and then claim the expenses on your income tax. I’ve never heard of this app, but it’s really cool. How ingenious to earn money by submitting ‘Help Wanted ‘signs when you see them.

    • Hmmm…I never thought about claiming the expenses! 😉 What I like most about Job Spotter is that you might actually be helping someone find a job. That rocks, and makes me feel much better than the few dollars that I pick up every month. Thanks for reading, Anda!

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