Reduce your food shop with cashback

Two websites have this week launched apps and web services to help shoppers save.

Squeezing every possible saving out of your supermarket shopping used to be the preserve of dedicated coupon clippers.

These people have time on their hands, and rigorously scour every publication, website and forum for money-off vouchers to spend at the supermarket, and hand over a sheaf of paper at the tills that saves them pounds.

But modern technology and food price rises have turned us all into supermarket savers, and there are more ways than ever to wring the pennies out of the weekly shop.

This week it was the turn of two rival cashback websites Topcashback and Quidco to launch another tool to shave cash off the weekly shopping. Topcashback launched the snappily named Snap and Save (Milan: SAVE.MI - news) , while Quidco is launching the eerily similar Quidco ClickSnap both aimed at allowing you to make more money from your shopping after you have bought it.

If you normally shop online you will already be familiar with cashback sites, which allow you to gain a percentage of your spend back by clicking through them before you go to your preferred online store.

The new features from both Topcashback and Quidco allow you to benefit from targeted offers by taking a picture of your physical receipt and gaining cashback from the products you put in your trolley. With the Quidco service, you can use it online as well as with your smartphone, meaning that those who do not use apps to benefit.

At present, the products offered tend to be quite specific. Quidco has 36 different offers, each of which can be redeemed once a week, while Topcashback has 10 different products available with cashback. The amounts offered vary.

For example, if you buy two six packs of Petit Filous yogurts with Quidco you will get 50p cashback, while with Topcashback you would get 40p back on any purchase of Clover (KOSDAQ: 043590.KQ - news) butter substitute.

Both systems work with a variety of supermarkets. Topcashback's Snap and Save works with receipts from Tesco (Other OTC: TSCDY - news) , Asda, Morrison's, Sainsbury (LSE: SBRY.L - news) 's, Waitrose, the Cooperative (Taiwan OTC: 6401.TWO - news) , M & S Food and Iceland. Quidco's works with Ocado, Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Morrisons, Asda and Tesco.

Are they worth using? The really good thing about both of these services which can be downloaded as an app on your phone, making the whole thing easier is that they can be used in conjunction with supermarket offers.

So, for example, Pringles are two for one in Sainsbury's, so you could get two packs for £2.50 and also benefit from 40p cashback from Topcashback's Snap and Save.

Petit Filous are two for £2 in Sainsbury's and you would also get 50p cashback meaning that each set of six pots would cost you just 75p.

Are the cashback services worth it? Detractors would argue that they are fiddly you have to submit a separate photo of your receipt for each cashback claim. Also, given that the items are likely to change all of the time, you may get used to offers on one product only to find that it is no longer eligible. The offers are all on branded products, which tend to be more expensive than supermarket own brands.

On the other hand, the apps can be downloaded onto your phone so that you can check on the move, and the ability to combine them with other offers means that savings can be very attractive. If you have a receipt at the end of a shop there is nothing to lose in checking afterwards whether you earned anything worthy of cashback.

Anyone considering going through other people's trolleys for receipts to photograph should note that there are limits on the amount of cashback you can earn. Each Topcashback offer can only be redeemed once a week, while Quidco offers can be redeemed a maximum of three times per "cycle" or three-week period.

If you are a regular brand buyer, it might be worth having a look at your receipt this week and seeing if you've qualified for cashback. As Tesco would say, every little helps. *Lidl is offering two packs of assorted Italian cooked meats for £3, a saving of 98p *Lidl has reduced 500g of parsnips from 69p to 49p *Special Valentine's Day offers from supermarkets include a dozen red roses from Aldi, available for £5 while stocks last from February 11 or you can buy a dozen luxury roses for £15 *Lidl's special Valentines offers include Deluxe (NYSE: DLX - news) 2 Beef Wellington 660g for £7.99 *Sainsbury's has reduced the price of its whole-grain cherry wheats breakfast cereal by 49p to £1.50 for 500g