Are you a bargain shopper? I've been clipping coupons and scouring store ads for years, but I've found an even better way to stay frugal. Not only do I find the best coupons and deals, but I also earn money while shopping! There's got to be a catch, right? I must have to sell my firstborn child and give up all of my personal information, right? Nope. No catch (and definitely no baby selling).
The Easy Way to Earn Money While Shopping
If you do an online search, you'll find tons of sites offering coupons and rebate programs. I've tried several of them, weighed the plusses and minuses, and come up with a list of my favorites. I think these are the easiest to use and offer you the most bang for your buck.
My Favorite Apps and Websites for Cashback
- Ibotta - This app is full of grocery and household deals. Before you shop, check out the app to see if anything you plan to buy has a rebate listed. When you find the products you want to buy, click to add the deals. When you get back from shopping, scan your receipt and watch your cash add up. Ibotta now works in many of your favorite online stores as well. You'll need a referral code to sign up. I'd love it if you used mine! Code: chripdr
- Walmart Grocery Pickup - You probably already know that you spend less money when you shop with a list. That works pretty well for me, but I still buy extra stuff when I'm in the store. (Everything is just so tempting!) When you choose to shop from your favorite grocery store online using the pickup option, it's so much easier to stick with your budget! Please feel free to use my referral link to get $10 off of your first order from Walmart Grocery.
- Fetch Rewards - It takes a little longer for your money to stack up with this app, but it's my favorite because it is so easy. All you have to do is take a picture of your receipt with the app, and you instantly earn points that convert to rewards. (I always use my points to get Amazon gift cards.) You'll earn more with this app if you buy name brands, but you'll still get points for every receipt. Your points add up faster when you share the app with your friends. You'll each earn 2000 bonus points (and sometimes more) when your friend scans her first receipt. When you sign up, please use my referral code (EF4ET) to get your bonus points. (Don't forget to scan a receipt after you sign up.)
- Ebates/Rakuten - If you're already shopping online, you might as well earn a rebate. Here's how it works. Go to the Rakuten website (previously Ebates) and search for your favorite store. You'll see the rebate offer and any coupons for your store listed. Click through to your store and shop as usual. Rakuten will calculate your percent back and add it to your account. Easy!
You don't spend any extra money with any of these programs. You buy things you were already going to buy anyway and let your rebates add up.
As an extra bonus, most of these programs offer extra incentives like sign-on bonuses and referral rewards.
The links I've shared with you are my affiliate links, so you'll be my friend forever if you use them to sign up for these money-earning programs.
Will you earn enough money to buy a new car with these programs? Probably not. Will it earn you enough money for an extra date night or a little frivolous shopping once in a while? Definitely.
How do Cashback Websites Earn Money?
If it seems to good to be true that you can actually earn money while shopping, don't worry, it's not. It really works. You might wonder, though, how the cashback programs make money while paying out all of those rebates.
You still pay the same price for your purchases regardless of whether you visited the site on your own or through a referral site. The only difference when you go through a referral site first is that you earn cashback while you shop. It's kind of a no-brainer. Why wouldn't you want to earn extra money?
Apps like Ibotta earn money by generating new customers for their merchants. The more you buy, the more these companies earn. (But you get more cashback, too, so it's a win-win situation.)
Do I Have to Give Up My Personal Information?
You might be afraid that you have to give up too much personal information to join these referral sites. You don't. For most of the sites, you only need to give them your name, an email address, and an address for them to send the checks. Some sites have the option to hook your payments to PayPal and Venmo, and some sites pay via gift cards. Just choose which type you like the best.
Stretch Your Holiday Budget to the Max with Cashback Websites
The holidays are right around the corner, so now is the perfect time to try one or two of these programs out. I love to shop online for Christmas gifts. It saves me time and money because I can shop in my pajamas, and great deals are only a mouse click away.
During these next few months leading up to Christmas, shoppers spend more money online than they do all year. It's the perfect time to quickly rack up the rebates. When you chose which website is best for you, be sure to pay attention to how much you have to earn before you can cash out your earnings. (See my handy chart.) It doesn't do you any good to earn cashback if you never earn enough to get a check.
The Bottom Line - Get the Most Bang for Your Buck
As you can see, there are a lot of choices out there to help you save money while shopping. Here's my advice to use these programs to your biggest benefit:
When shopping online, log in to Rakuten first, and use their link to your preferred store. That way, if a rebate is available, you're sure to get it. (If you prefer to stick with just one app, Ibotta now offers rebates with many online stores as well.)
When grocery shopping, first plan your meals and make a list. Then, check Ibotta to see if rebates are listed for any items on your list or items you know you'll need soon. Then, log onto the Walmart Shopping app (or your favorite grocery store app) and stick with your budget! Once you pick up your groceries, scan your receipt into the Ibotta app. Finally, take a picture of your grocery receipt in the Fetch Rewards app. (You'll earn rebates from Ibotta and points that convert to gift cards from Fetch.)
You're going to shop no matter what, so you might as well make some extra cash while you're doing it! I hope these programs help you stretch your budget and earn some mad money.
Thanks for stopping by today. Be sure to check out more great ideas while you're here. The images below are linked to posts, so click on them to learn more.