SPRINGFIELD, Mo.–Who doesn’t like to save a little money on groceries?  All February we’re trying to help you save in a segment we’re calling David’s Deals.  Last week we got some insider tips from store managers at Price Cutter and Hy-Vee.

This week, money-saving apps on your smartphone, and in particular one app that’s saved people in the Ozarks more than $1-million in just 5 years.

“If I can find a coupon for something, or a rebate, or a sale, clearance items.  I try to find better deals,” says Kayla Benedict, shopper.

Kayla Benedict of Springfield is a savvy shopper, always looking for a good deal.  Kayla found several money-saving apps in the last few years that help her spend less at the store.  And she’s not alone.   According to prominent mobile analytics firm Flurry, shopping app usage grew faster in 2015 than any other category of smartphone apps.  In fact, shopping app usage shot up 77%.
“You know we use apps on our smartphones for everything.  Why not use them to save money,” says Benedict. 

One app in particular where Kayla has found success in savings is called Ibotta.

“Ibotta is a free app that you download on your smartphone or on your tablet, and it allows you to earn rewards, specifically cash back, for items that you buy every day at the grocery store,” says Brian Leach, founder/CEO Ibotta.

Bryan leach founded Ibotta in 2012.   Since then, the app has had 19 million downloads.  And it’s helped users save $175-million at the store.

“So using Ibotta is very easy. You download it and you create an account. And you can go and you can find items like fresh produce, meat, diapers.  Basic staples that you might want like cheese, bread, eggs. You simply unlock those by pushing the ‘plus’ button inside of the app, and then you go buy them in a store like Hy-Vee or Price Cutter, it works everywhere. And you upload a picture of your receipt. So, it’s a rebate system. You don’t actually earn a discount at the checkout. It’s a cash-back, instant reward through the app” says Leach.

In about a year, Kayla has personally saved a little under $900 at the store using the Ibotta app.
“I also like it because they feature a lot of any brand rebates.  For instance. right now I know there’s an any brand cheese, any brand bread on mine.  Well shredded cheese and bread are pretty common grocery items that everybody buys,” says Benedict.

“We’re excited about the usage in Springfield. So there’s over 2,000 shoppers in Springfield who have banked at least $100 in earnings. And my favorite statistic I looked up is 30 people have already earned $1000 in Springfield alone” says Leach.

On occasion, the rebates you can unlock on Ibotta are actually more than the price of an item.  So it’s paying you to make the purchase.  A little trick Kayla discovered on a sweet treat she loves.

“My personal favorite is there’s a Lyndoor chocolate rebate that’s for $1.  There’s a little three pack that’s $1.  The rebate is for $1.  I mean free chocolate.  I’m all about that,” laughs Benedict.
Here are some more numbers from Ibotta on users here in Southwest Missouri.  More than 30,000 people in the Springfield area use Ibotta.  Those users saved more than $55,000 in January alone.  $1,000,000 has been saved by those people since 2012.  The most popular rebates claimed locally through Ibotta are produce, meat, diapers, Ruby Tuesday, and cheese. 

The biggest saver locally through Ibotta is a woman in Conway, with almost $1400 in lifetime savings.