So, you’ve got some shopping to do. You already know to use coupons and check for sales whenever possible, but do you take advantage of Cash Back sites? If you aren’t using cash back sites every time you shop, it is like leaving free money on the table.
Cash back is exactly what it sounds like, it is cash that is refunded to you by a third party when you shop at your favorite stores. It does NOT in any way affect your purchase price. In fact, you can use coupons and sales just like you are used to. Cash back simply allows you to receive a percentage of what you spent back.
Yes, the website giving you cash back is also earning commission. But who cares, you make money, they make money – it is a win-win.
How much free money?
How much you earn all depends on how much you shop and where you shop. Different retailers offer different percentages back. I have also learned that retailers also offer different deals with cash back sites. While one site might be best when shopping at Gap another is best when shopping Magazines.com. Furthermore, those percentages can change daily. The best thing to do is to check all of your favorite cash back sites before shopping and go with the highest return.
Top 10 Cash Back Sites for Shopping Online and Off
The ability to earn cash back while shopping online has been around for years. New to the scene are apps that offer cash back when shopping in store. These are my favorite 10 favorite cash back sites and apps for online and offline shopping. (Yes, I regularly use all 10.)
Ebates - The leader of the pack in my book, Ebates is easy to use and pays regularly by check (I just got a check this week!). I have been a member since 2008 and have earned $411.03. That’s an average of $100 a year in cash refunded to me for purchases I would have made anyway. Some refunds where as small as pennies, while others were quite a bit larger. **Bonus** When you sign up for a new account you can choose from a $10 gift card bonus or a $5 cash bonus that will be paid to you the first time you make a purchase of $25 or more.
FatWallet – Like Ebates, FatWallet also offers cash back when shopping online and pays regularly. In the time I have had an account, I have earned a $233.23. Another bonus for cash back sites is that they also post deals, so you might find a coupon as well as cash back. Sign up for a FatWallet account to compare rates when you shop.
Shop At Home
Shop At Home – While I have not used this site very often, it is a very popular cash back site. What makes it unique is its 110% cash back guarantee – find a higher cash back reward on another site and Shop At Home will match it 110%. I haven’t used this feature, but if you don’t want to open multiple accounts, open a Shop At Home account.
Upromise - If you have kids (or ever plan to have kids), you should use Upromise. I joined Upromise in 2004, long before we had kids and been saving ever since. What makes Upromise different is that instead of a regular check, the money is saved for tuition. You set up savings plans through Upromise or cash out your earnings to deposit into your own accounts. Another great thing is that you can invite friends and family to contribute to your kiddos’ account. Also, Upromise tends to have a higher payout percentage then the other rewards sites.
MyPoints – MyPoints is another one that I have been with forever. MyPoints is more than just rewards for shopping, you can also earn points for reading emails and taking surveys. Yes, just for looking at an email and clicking a link to confirm you read it — you don’t even have to sign up. Although if you do sign up for offers, you get more points. Another thing that is different about MyPoints is that you earn gift cards instead of cash. I have redeemed my points for Pottery Barn, Gap, Amazon, etc. (Check out my previous post about MyPoints.)
Swagbucks - This is another site that offers a combination of ways for you to earn cash back. You can shop or you can surf, take surveys, complete offers etc. Like MyPoints, you will earn points for every dollar spent at a partner retailer. My favorite way to earn with Swagbucks is by surfing. How many times a day do you look something up on Google, try using Swagbucks for your searches instead and earn points. The best thing to redeem those points for – Amazon gift cards!
InBox Dollars – This site is very similar to MyPoints except that it pays cash instead of gift cards. Earn cash back for shopping or earn money for reading emails – or both! BTW if you are an online gamer InBox Dollars, MyPoints and Swagbucks are all great ways to get paid for that hobby. BONUS – get $5 for signing up.
Up to here all of the cash back sites were for online shopping, but I mentioned there are now some great options for offline shopping as well. Here they are.
Shopkick - I love this app! The best thing about Shopkick is that you can earn cash back just for window shopping – you don’t even have to make a purchase! (You can more earn by linking your credit card and making purchases too.) Earn points at some stores just for walking in, and at other by seeking out items and scanning their barcode — it is like a mini scavenger hunt. My favorite place to Shopkick is Target, no wonder I redeem my points for Target gift cards.
Ibotta – Even though this app is super new, it has already earned regular usage in my house. Using the Ibotta app, you do various tasks like taking a poll or watching a video. Then when you buy any of those products, you submit a photo of your receipt and scan your barcode to get cash back for your purchase. Payments are made by PayPal and you can cashout anytime you reach at least $5. (Check out my previous post about Ibotta.)
SavingStar – This site is one part cash back, one part digital coupon. To earn cash back, you must shop at stores with loyalty cards (i.e. CVS). (That’s how they track your purchases.) Before shopping, you activate deals on items you plan to purchase, then when you make a purchase (using your loyalty card), your cash back is automatically deposited into your SavingStar account. You can cash out every time you reach $5 or more.
As I mentioned, I actively use all 10 of these cash back sites and apps. I find that each has its advantages and limitations. Whether you start small, only signing up for one or two, or go big, signing up for them all, I highly recommend each of these programs. Never leave money on the table again, start earning cash back!
Bonus Cash Back Site - I recently discovered and signed up for Plink, which rewards you with cash back for eating out. It seems like a cool new site, and I am excited to test it out. Bonus – sign up now and get a $5 gift card just for joining.