Angry Birds they aren't, but these two apps are equally addictive. In fact, we learned about the first one, Shopkick, when an enthusiastic shopper told us about it as she used it to pay for her groceries at Target. After you download the Shopkick app and create a login, you'll start receiving "kicks," or points, every time you walk into select partner stores, such as Best Buy, Macy's and Crate & Barrel. The "kicks" can be redeemed for gift cards to these stores. Using Target as an example, each store gives out anywhere from 60-130 kicks per visit, with about 2,000 kicks equaling $8.
While Shopkick focuses on major chains, LevelUp tends to partner with Mom-and-Pop shops and individual franchises. Once you download the app, you can load money onto it using your debit card and use it to pay at various partner restaurants and stores—such as Auntie Anne's or Quiznos Subs. Most shops offer anywhere from $1-$10 when you use LevelUp in their store for the first time, or for spending a certain amount. The average user saves $25 per month with the app, said LevelUp spokesperson Jenelle Tortorella.
The challenge with these apps is making sure you only buy items you need, instead of rationalizing impulse buys with, "But this gift card will give me $5 off!"