Do you spend money? Of course, you do! But are you earning cash back? Anyone who spends money should be. Here are our 7 top cashback apps we always use when shopping online or in store.
After the popularity of my post on how to make money with your smartphone, I thought I would share a few other simple ways you can make a little extra money.
While there are plenty of ways to make money at home (one of my favorites is taking surveys online), today I’m going to talk about one of the most passive ways to earn a little extra cash — earning cash back.
It makes the sting of buying groceries and other items a little bit less harsh.
I’ll admit that cashback is something I haven’t done much of until recently.
I’ve signed up for all sorts of different programs, but I always seemed to forget about them (especially the ones online), until after the fact.
However, I’ve recently started using them more, and it really is worth it. With the holidays quickly approaching, you can really make a decent chunk of change by remembering to use cashback options.
Here are a few easy ways to earn cash back while shopping (both in store and online!)
I believe if you are shopping online, there’s no reason not to earn cash back!
How Does Cashback Work?
First off – how does cashback even work?
Basically, these apps and websites have partnered with different retailers (both in store and online) to negotiate a certain amount that people can earn back when they shop through their app.
I’m not sure of all the interworkings of it, but in the end, YOU get rewarded for using them.
Most of these websites and apps have a minimum you have to earn back before you get the cashback, but it’s not usually very high.
This is just cash back on the purchase you would have ALREADY been making – the price would be the same regardless of how you shopped. It’s just awesome to get money back.
Ebates is my favorite cash back company that I use with online shopping.
I have found that they offer tons of different online retailers.
You do have to activate Ebates whenever you want to use it, which can be hard to remember.
Once I found out they had a browser extension that blinked whenever I was on a site they partnered with, it was a lot easier to remember to activate it!
I’ve found that some cash back websites only have partnered with weird sites that no one shops at, but Ebates is a partner with tons of popular places such as Kohls, Sears, some products on Amazon, and even Groupon! They also offer an awesome referral program.
I always use Ebates when I’m booking a hotel for a vacation – I will usually get anywhere from 4-10% back, which is amazing!
If you signup through our referral link, you’ll get a $10 gift card upon signup!
I talked about Ibotta in my smartphone money making post, but it definitely applies in this post as well!
It’s a great little app that you just download onto your smartphone, you can browse through to see if there are any products at local stores that you are going to buy, and afterward, you can get cash back for scanning your receipt and the bar code of the product.
My sister-in-law has made a ton of money using Ibotta, and if you coupon, it’s a great way to make some products free!
You usually have to answer a poll, or read a recipe or fact, to unlock the cash back, but it’s super simple. If you buy groceries, you should definitely be using Ibotta.
I have found Ibotta to get easier and easier to use over the years. They recently started letting you connect store loyalty cards to your account, so you don’t even have to scan your receipt. It’s awesome!
If you sign up through my link, you will get $10 after you redeem your first rebate!
Checkout 51 is pretty similar to Ibotta — all you have to do is browse through what products and stores they’ve partnered with, and when you purchase one of those items, just scan your receipt in, and earn money back right away. This is another mobile app that’s really easy to use.
When you go through our referral link, you will get cash back just for redeeming your first offer!
I started using Swagbucks back in high school.
Occasionally I would complete games or surveys to earn SwagBucks, and I would always enter codes I found online to earn more, but after a while, I kind of forgot about it.
I think Swagbucks is most commonly known for letting you earn rewards for doing web searches. However, you can also use it to earn Swagbucks for making purchases online.
This method is a little bit different than most cashback companies I’ve worked with — instead of earning a certain percentage or cash value back, you earn Swagbucks.
While it might seem a little weird to earn SwagBucks instead of actual cash right away, if you look at their Swagbucks Shopping page, it shows you what percentage better the deal is over getting just cash back.
Plus, you can get Swagbucks for using Amazon, which not a lot of companies allow. You can also redeem SwagBucks at any time for gift cards!
Did you know that many websites have a price protection policy – where if you find a lower listed price within 30 days, you can get money back? However – how many of us actually do that?
Earny tracks your online purchases and if the price drops, they will send an email out for you getting you your cash back.
I recently got over $200 back on a laptop purchase by using this. I love it!
I recently learned about this company. It’s similar to Ebates, but I like the way it’s set up a little bit more.
They even have 5% cashback from Amazon occasionally, which is awesome for me, because I practically keep Amazon in business. On Ebates, it’s only 3%. Plus when you sign up, you’ll get $5 back right away.
I learned about Top Cashback earlier this year when they were offering a sweet deal for the Frozen DVD — basically, you got paid to buy the DVD. I believe that Walmart had it on sale for $15, and when you purchased it through Top Cashback, you got $17 in cashback. It was an awesome deal! They work pretty similarly to Ebates, and they offer rebates, coupons, and cash back. I would definitely recommend signing up for both Top Cashback and Ebates and comparing the two before making a purchase online.
You know when you go to a store, and they always ask you if you have a loyalty card?
As long as there are no strings attached (like an annual fee), then you should definitely sign up for these. Not all of them give you rewards, but some do, and it pays off.
For instance, once I get a coupon on the mail from Smith’s (a Kroger affiliate) worth $25 because of all the groceries I had purchased during one quarter.
We also always get at least 20 cents off of gas because we shop at King Soopers a lot.
They will also target coupons directly toward you based on what you buy.
Every so often, I get coupons for free products I buy often at King Soopers, which is really nice.
I also really like Best Buy’s reward program — we recently got a $15 Best Buy gift card because of all our reward points.
Thankfully, most companies are making it so you can connect your rewards card with your phone number, so you don’t have to carry around tons of cards everywhere you go.
Definitely look into what your oft shopped at stores are to see what types of reward programs they offer!
Debit and Credit Cards
A lot of banks and credit unions will offer cash back options on their debit and credit cards. There are a lot of credit cards that will do this, but require a hefty, yearly fee, so I would steer clear of these ones.
However, if you use your cards often, it’s definitely worth looking into. We currently have a Southwest Credit Card that we love using for big purchases (obviously paying it off right away), because we can earn points toward flights.
Credit Sesame is a great site to find the best reward and cash back cards, based on your current credit score.
A few last tips
Hopefully, some of this information has been useful, and you’ll more effectively be able to get cash back. In closing, here are a few tips for getting the most cash back.
I mentioned this earlier, but I downloaded a Chrome extension for Ebates, and it has helped me remember to use it so much more. Swagbucks has a great toolbar as well. It just makes it easier to remember!
Allow for push notifications
For mobile apps like Ibotta, it’s a good idea to allow them to use push notifications.
There have been a few times where I’ve been at a store, and Ibotta pops up to remind me that there are a bunch of products I could be getting cash back for.
When we go to the store, I just do my best to get out of there without Jack knocking over too many products, so sometimes I forget to check the cashback apps!
Don’t forget to check your account!
As I was writing this post, I went to Top Cashback and realized that I had $70 that I had never withdrawn! I also saw that I have $80 pending from Ebates.
While these were both pleasant surprises, I kind of wish I had remembered earlier that I had free money just sitting there waiting for me.
Make it a habit to regularly check your cash back companies to make sure you don’t have any money waiting to be claimed!