Saturday, July 4, 2015

Marketplace: Canadian Prices vs. Ibotta App? How Much Savings Are There?

Saving money to me is in everyone's mind when residing in the United States or Canada. After a particular story on a CBC Marketplace show called "Price Wars," I decided to look at more pricing at the stores and look deeper into what Marketplace hosts Tom Harrington and Erica Johnson took a challenge to find out what the "cost of being Canadian" really meant to viewers. But in this blog, I decided to look for even more savings by opening up the Ibotta app and putting Walmart stores in Gilroy, Morgan Hill, San Jose, Fremont, Pleasanton, and Livermore to the test - once again replacing the Walmart store in Bellingham, Washington. All Walmart stores that I've been to include those of a sub-store known as Walmart Neighborhood Market, a store chain dedicated to grocery items. I made inquires with Ibotta to confirm that the neighborhood markets are treated as a Walmart, and the answer is true. This is one place where both Harrington and Johnson will likely be caught off guard that was not mentioned in Marketplace. While Home Depot is on the Ibotta list and mentioned on Marketplace, the focus is not on home improvement.

I tested out various Walmart stores to find out about the deals in the Ibotta app, and find out for myself if the item actually exist. Take a Gilroy Walmart store, for instance - the largest store I can find so far among the stores that I've tested. I shopped there in early June 2015 to find the deals that are available. The first item on the list is Red Baron Brick Oven Crust Pizza. The cost to buy that item is $3.74, with a $1 savings available in the app. A couple of tasks later and you get the maximum savings available. The next item on the list is the Totino's Party Pizza. The cost is only $1.36, but there is a 30 cent savings thanks to what is known as the "Any Brand" item of a certain size.

Tom Harrington and Erica Johnson might want some frozen soup that the two could make at their homes in Toronto and Vancouver, respectively. The item is called Campbell's Reserve Frozen Soups, which the price is $5.98, but Ibotta puts that item on the list for a savings of $2. Perhaps an item on their side dish is corn, which I found a Great Value Whole Kernel Golden Corn (8oz size) for 98 cents - that item is part of the "Any Brand" frozen vegetables that puts a savings of only 20 cents, making the purchase cheaper.

An item that might not be in their mind is a product named Smartcandy that comes in two varieties - coated and sour gummy. Both of them that I bought exclusively at the Gilroy location comes at $2.98 and the savings are $1 on Ibotta. It would certainly be a great snack for Harrington and Johnson if they decide to take a break - a healthy way to snack themselves! Finally, two more items that would make a great breakfast choice in their mind - a 64oz Juicy Juice and Challenge Cream Cheese Spread. The juice only cost $2.68, with a 50 cent savings on Ibotta, while the cream cheese only cost $2.44 with a 75 cent savings on Ibotta. (Note that all Challenge dairy products are made in the Tri-Valley, specifically in Dublin - not Ireland, but as in Dublin, California.)

When I tallied up the number of "big green" that I could save, I reported a $7.75 savings on Ibotta. However, there are certain steps that I must take to actually redeem the app. You must scan the barcode of each item you have purchased on the app. When you are done, and you have received the reciept, you must click "Redeem" under a store's category (in this case, Walmart). Check the items to make sure that the items are scanned, then you can upload a reciept. In some cases, there is a QR code that can be scanned so that a digital receipt can be visible. Up to 24 hours later, if your receipt is successful, you can redeem them at a local merchant or transfer them to PayPal or Venmo, which in either case can be transferred to your bank.

As for Canadians that wish to save money on apps, I personally never found any apps that could help them save a little bit of dough. So therefore, like car dealerships in the United States part of the story, I feel that Canadians are being left out of the competition. But so far, I have yet to see Tom Harrington or Erica Johnson shop at Walmart to see for themselves. However, if the Ibotta app does come to Canada, I do challenge both Harrington and Johnson to see if they can put even more savings than what I saw on Marketplace's "Price Wars."

Original Work: Kyle Chak
Twitter: @KyleSChak