When you stick to healthy food, lots of fresh produce and organic brands, it’s difficult to find easy ways to save on groceries.
Did you try grocery shopping apps like Ibotta and couldn’t find rebates for any of the items in your list? It happened to me as well. There are rarely any coupons on fresh vegetables and fruit that comprise a lion portion of my food expenses.
Luckily, I found one grocery app that respects my healthy choices and offers rebates on produce and organic brands of food, beverages and even clothes. It’s called Makeena.
In this Makeena app review, I’ll explain what is Makeena and how it can help you to save money on healthy food.
What Is Makeena?
Makeena is a free grocery shopping app that works with carefully curated healthy and eco-friendly brands of food, beverages, personal care and clothes. It’s the only app I’m aware of that constantly offers rebates on fresh produce, milk and eggs.
Makeena was founded in 2014 by Kate Frame, a lawyer and CPA from Illinois. She was one of the winners of Telluride Venture Accelerator in 2014.
Here is an example of the rebates I redeemed on May 3rd and 5th. All I had to do is buy fresh vegetables, as I usually do, and upload my receipts to Makeena app. Most of the items even were not marked as organic but still got approved for the rebate.
Makeena app is available for both iPhone and Android. You can download it here.
How Does Makeena Work?
Similar to more popular grocery shopping apps, Makeena requires you to scan your grocery receipts. However, before you can start scanning the receipts, you need to understand how Makeena works, as it’s a bit more complicated than with other grocery apps you might have used before.
Let me explain the process step-by-step. You’ll have to go through the following actions:
Sign Up With Makeena and Get $1 Bonus
First of all, you’ll have to sign up and create an account with Makeena.
Click here to download the Makeena app and signup using your email address.
You will get 1000 points that worth $1 just for signing up. Nice bonus!
Find The Brands You Like
Once you have Makeena app downloaded, open it and check the “Brands” tab from the bottom menu. Now, in the top menu, you’ll see two options: “Discover” and “My Brands”.
Under the “Discover” tab, the first option on the top is Makeena itself. Here you can get points for taking several simple actions like taking a survey or poll.
Here are my favorite brands: Tom’s of Maine (my son’s favorite strawberry toothpaste) and Cabot Creamery (my husband likes their hot jalapeno cheddar).
There are many available brands of organic products, like snacks, bread, beverages, prepared meals and more. In addition, you can find food supplements, homeopathic medicines, eco-friendly apparel, personal care products and much more.
Unlock The Brands You Like
Once you find the brand you like, you need to click on “Unlock button”. This will move the brand to “My Brands” tab and you’ll receive your initial points with this brand. Click on the Brand and you’ll be taken to the detailed page of your status with this particular brand.
Here is a sample page of Udi’s bread (both “Offers” and “Rewards” tab)
Earn Points And Rebates With Each Brand
Each brand can offer both coupons for purchasing a specific product and rewards for the points you accumulate. For example, you can activate the $1.3 rebate for any Udi’s bread purchase.
Just for unlocking the brand, I’ve got 200 points with Udi’s brand. I need to accumulate 1,000 points with this brand to unlock an additional $1.3 reward. Points will be added when you purchase Udi’s products, even after you use the initial coupon.
If you are interested in one of the products but don’t know where it is available, there is a Store Locator embedded in the app for each brand.
Makeena Status Explanation
The easiest way to get points and redeem them for real cash is with Makeena itself (the top brand on the list). Makeena wants you to be a loyal member that uses the app frequently. In the beginning, you will receive 50 points for every grocery receipt. These 50 points are equal to 5 cents.
As your balance grows, your status will be upgraded and you’ll get more points for each receipt:
Newbie – Up to 999 points balance – 50 points per receipt
Silver – 1000 to 1999 points balance – 75 points per receipt
Gold – 2000 to 4999 points balance – 100 points per receipt
VIP – more than 5000 points total – 150 points per receipts.
Getting 15 cents per receipt, up to 3 times a week, is great and comparable to Ibotta that usually has 10-25 cents “Any receipt” offer per week. You know, 45 cents weekly is $23 per year. You can buy you a Holiday present just from doing this simple scanning.
Once you accumulate at least 1000 points with Makeena, you’ll need to go to the “Rewards” tab in Makeena brand page and request to redeem every 1000 points to $1. This amount will be added to your cash balance.
Activating The Rebates
Before shopping, check the available offers in the “Rebates” tab of the main bottom menu. You can also do it after shopping if you don’t want to be induced to purchase things you didn’t intend.
I usually go to the supermarket with a detailed shopping list and check the rebates post-factum.
Related post for grocery shopping planning:
Click on each product you plan to buy or already have in the receipt. Once the rebate opens, read the details and click on “Add to shopping list” button in the bottom.
Please be aware that the offers are limited to the specific number of customers (for example, first 2,000 shoppers). There is also an expiration date for each offer. The great thing is that there is no restriction to the retail location, so you can shop anywhere and be eligible for the rebate.
Scanning The Receipts
Once you are ready to scan the receipt, click on the “Redeem” tab in the bottom menu. You’ll see the list of the activated offers and an “Add” button next to each one of them.
First, click the orange “Start scanning” button. Then click on the “Add” button for each item you have on your receipt. Don’t forget to click “Add” on Makeena points offer that you should see available up to 3 times a week.
For special brand offers you can just scan the item’s barcode and Makeena will add the offer automatically. If you buy more than one item related to an offer, scan all the barcodes.
You don’t need to scan barcodes of fresh produce or other offers from Makeena brand.
Now snap the receipt. Take a picture of the entire receipt. For long receipts, you can add several sections. Make sure the receipt is readable and submitted within 7 days after purchase.
If you shop online, you can upload your packing slip with a detailed price and zero balance owed.
Receipts with multiple rebates should be submitted just once. Just add all the relevant items before uploading.
Normally, the receipt will be processed within 48 hours and you will receive an email notification. Sometimes, the processing can take longer, up to 10-14 days.
Redeem Points To Cash
Once you have enough points with one of the brands, you can go to the “Rewards” tab on the brand’s page and request to redeem your points to cash. The easiest and fastest to get cash is with Makeena brand. As a VIP member, I get 150 points for any receipt, 2-3 times a week, so I reach the 1000 points pretty quick and redeem for $1.
Request Payment From Makeena
In order to request payment, your balance should be at least $20 (click on “Cashout” button in the main bottom menu to check it).
The cashout options are PayPal and Venmo.
Be aware that it can take up to 30 days to get your money as Makeena’s team will validate all your referrals, receipts and points earned before releasing the payment. More on this in a min, below in the post.
Is Makeena A Scam?
Before writing this review, I have tried Makeena for several months. I uploaded my receipts consistently, as I do with my other favorite grocery shopping apps.
Once I had reached the minimum payment of $20, I requested to get the money via PayPal. Honestly, I can’t tell you it went fast and easy. Makeena support team sent me a message to acknowledge my request and promised to credit my PayPal account in 2-3 weeks. The explanation was that Makeena is a small company that gets invalid receipts from some out of country members. Therefore, they want to verify all my purchases and all the points I’d earned.
I don’t really understand this reasoning, as they send email confirmations for each receipt, a couple of days after the upload. It looks like they check the receipts before crediting the points.
More than a month passed, but I didn’t get any payment. I started to suspect Makeena is a scam or at least not a stable business. Losing patience, I submitted a new payment request and wrote an email to their customer support again. This time it went fast and, finally, I received my payment and here is the proof (including kind of an apology):
Let’s say that it might not work smoothly from the first attempt, but with some patience, you’ll get paid. Now I can say that Makeena is legit and stands behind its promises.
What Are The Pros and Cons of Makeena?
I use at least 6 grocery shopping and money-saving apps all the time. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages. No one is perfect, you know..
Let’s check the pros and cons of Makeena app, as I see it, compared to other similar apps.
Pros of Makeena
Rebates For Fresh Produce
As I already mentioned, Makeena is the only app that offers rebates on fresh vegetables, fruit, milk, eggs, etc. In my opinion, this is a huge advantage for people like me who try to eat healthily and make their own food at home.
Any Store Qualifies
You can upload receipts from ANY store (similar to Fetch Rewards that allows any grocery receipt and CoinOut that accepts ANY Receipt from anywhere in the US, not only grocery). It’s much easier than with the popular Ibotta app that has store-specific offers.
You Can Combine with Other Offers
You can combine Makeena with other coupons from retailer or manufacturer or other offers unless otherwise specified in the deal terms. I never had any issue uploading the same receipt to Ibotta or Fetch Rewards.
Makeena Customer Service
If you encounter any issue with the processing of your receipts or payment requests, you can send an email to email@example.com. Makeena’s support team replies in a few days and is courteous and helpful.
Cons Of Makeena
Complicated Points System
The points system used by Makeena is a bit complicated. You need to earn enough points with each brand separately in order to redeem for money, so it takes more time to get rewarded.
The easiest brand to work with is Makeena itself, as you accumulate points for uploading any receipts plus cash rewards for not branded purchases like fresh produce, milk, etc.
Long Receipt Processing Time
It can take more than 10 days to finish receipt processing. If you try to track your receipts, it might be difficult to remember to check after such a long time. As a comparison, Ibotta sends processing confirmation within an hour or so.
Long Payment Processing Time
This is more annoying than receipt processing. I really hope Makeena will improve the cashout process so the user doesn’t need to chase them to get the money.
How To Make The Most With Makeena?
To maximize your earnings, try these 5 tips:
#1 Upload Any Receipt Every Week. Consistency is the key to get maximum earnings.
#2 Check and activate available rebates for vegetables and fruit every week. The rebate requires “Organic” produce, but you’ll get your receipt approved if it has the specified vegetable or fruit item, organic or not.
#3 Go to the Brands tab, click on Makeena on the very top. Then scroll down under “Offers” to “Actions” section and complete all available actions: take a poll and a survey, watch a clip, sign up for the newsletter, give feedback, follow on Twitter. These are one time offers.
#4 Check out the list of available brands once in a while. Maybe one of your favorites just was added to it.
#5 Invite friends and earn $1 for each friend who gets at least one receipt uploaded and approved.
Final Verdict For Makeena
I really like Makeena for offering rebates on healthy food. If you have the patience and persistence to use it every week, the rewards will add app so you’ll be able to cash out and buy you something nice. Many people use rewards during the Holidays and buy gifts for their loved ones.
Want to try? Download Makeena App and sign up now!
More Grocery Apps You May Like
If you are already in the mood to scan your grocery receipts, why not use other grocery shopping apps as well?
Here are my favorites:
This app gives you money for ANY receipt, just download the app to your mobile and scan the receipts. Fast and easy. This is like finding nickels, pennies, and dimes every day. This app offers many additional ways to earn money – check it out. For US only. (>>CoingOut full review)
Ibotta offers $10 sign up bonus. It’s the most popular grocery coupons app where you need to scan the receipts to redeem the offers. There are additional options to make more money, like cashback for online shopping and special bonuses as well. (>>Ibotta full review)
FetchRewards offers $2-$3 sign up bonus with code A9KJM. You will get cashback for ANY receipt from ANY grocery store in the US, without the need to browse and activate rebates. Any purchased product from hundreds of participating brands is eligible for a bonus. (>>FetchRewards full review)
The unique feature of this digital coupons site is the option to link your loyalty cards and get rebates without scanning receipts. (>>SavingStar full review)
More Ways To Make Money Online
Are you interested to make more money in your spare time or maybe looking to work from home?
Here are some additional ideas that might be interesting for you.
One of the easiest ways to start is online surveys sites. They are not going to make you rich but can help with some bills. Here is a detailed post with the best sites and tips on how to make the most of them. Most of these sites aim at the US audience though.
The first two sites would never disqualify you, so you wouldn’t waste your time answering boring questions.
Get Free Stuff From Amazon
You can just get FREE stuff from Amazon – food supplements, skincare products, kitchen gadgets, toys and much more. It’s almost like making money, right?
Read this RebateKey Review to learn how.
Build Your Own Online Business
If you are ready to invest a lot of your time and build your own sustainable online business, I recommend you start with reading the following posts:
Want to get more financial tips from me? Sign up for my FREE email course called Financial BOO$T Camp. It will help you to get the most from your buck with many ways to save money and get control of your finances.