My sister introduced me to some shopping rebate apps. Of the four she showed me, two seem worth the time invested: the first gives cash back for certain purchases (I got $2.50 back for grocery shopping yesterday without buying anything I wasn't already planning to, plus a $10 bonus for my first shopping excursion with the app) and will deposit the money into my Paypal account once I earn $20. I figure if I get $1 rebate/week (which looks likely), it'll add up to two free grocery trips/year. The second gives points for entering stores and scanning items (and more points for buying items, of course). I get my glasses made at the mall, so as I waited for my eye exam, I got a bunch of points by scanning items in nearby stores. This one doesn't give cash; instead it gives gift certificates to useful places like Target for a few hundred points (I earned enough for two Target cards in less than an hour but didn't cash in). The big unlikely prize is a Vespa for almost two million points. I totally want a Vespa.
I understand that both are tracking my shopping habits and that both are trying to get me to be aware of/purchase items I wouldn't have thought about before. Nothing so far has looked tempting, so I'm safe for now. The fact that I'm tracking all my spending for the next few months should keep me from being overly influenced, but if I find myself making impulse buys, the apps will go. If it isn't pure profit/savings, it isn't worth it.