Several of the apps on my phone help me save money at the grocery store. When I find a new app that serves that purpose, I usually check it out. As I discovered when I tested stacking coupons with grocery app offers to see if it was worth it, sometimes the apps are keepers, and sometimes they aren’t worth the hassle.

Last week I downloaded the Checkout 51 app to my phone, and so far, it seems like a keeper. It works regardless of what grocery store you choose. You don’t need to register any type of card with Checkout 51. What I like most about it is that you don’t have to do anything before you go shopping or before you make your purchases to earn the cash back. As long as you upload your grocery receipt before the offer expires, you’re good.

Here’s how Checkout 51 works:

  • Download the free app for iOS or Android phones.
  • Create an account.
  • Check the app each Thursday morning for the week’s offers on specific groceries and household products. Offers are good from Thursday morning until Wednesday night.
  • If you bought any of the Checkout 51 offers when you shopped, check them off on the app.
  • Upload your receipt any time before the offer expires by taking a photo of it using the app. (You can take several photos if your receipt is long.)
  • The amount for each valid offer will be added to your account once your receipt is processed.
  • When your account reaches $20, you can request a check to be sent to your home. You don’t have to request the money once it reaches $20. You can allow it to accumulate and request a bigger check whenever you want.
It really is that simple. The only other similar app I’ve found is Saving Star. I use Saving Star regularly, but with that app, you have to remember to check off offers that you want before you get to the register to pay, it only works with certain stores, and you have to register your store loyalty cards with the app.

What kind of products does Checkout 51 offer? There are many packaged and processed food offers that aren’t of interest to me, but last week, I earned money in my account for a gallon of milk, apples and bananas. This week, there are offers for fresh tomatoes, any kind of yogurt, oranges and bananas. There is also an offer specifically to use at Whole Foods for $3 cash back on chicken.

It’s going to take me a while to work my way up to $20. It looks like I’ll earn about $1 week from buying fresh produce and a few other items I would normally buy. I’ll never buy something I usually wouldn’t buy just to take advantage of a coupon or cash back savings.

You can use Checkout 51 along with manufacturer’s coupons and other savings apps, too. Let’s say you have a manufacturer’s coupon for an item, and there are offers on Checkout 51 and Savings Star. In that scenario, you can get the savings from all three places.

Sticking to a grocery budget is tough, especially when I’m feeding my family as naturally and organically as possible. Every little bit helps. When I find ways to save or earn cash back that are as simple as Checkout 51, I don’t mind taking the time to do what’s required to earn the rewards.

Have you used the Checkout 51 app? Do you find it as simple as I do?

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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Earn cash back on groceries with Checkout 51 app
Using this simple app after you shop will help you earn a little money back from the things you're going to buy anyway.