Disclosure: This post contains affiliate/referral links.
I have been using a variety of shopping apps to get cash back rebates after I have done my shopping. Here is what I have tried thus far.
GET A CASH BACK REBATE BY PURCHASING THROUGH A LINK
EBATES – I did a major percentage of my Christmas shopping online. With each and every purchase, I saved by using a coupon and/or getting FREE Shipping. Plus, I received cash back by purchasing through EBATES. I have received cash backs on printer ink, supplements, Crocs, Amazon purchases, and more.
For instance, I recently purchased probiotics and melatonin from Walgreens through EBATES while those supplements were on sale BOGO Free. I also received FREE SHIPPING. And I received Walgreens member points, too! In the end, I saved well over 50% on supplements that are normally quite expensive and I didn’t even spend any gas or time going to the local store.
Big Fat Checks are issued quarterly. In your account settings, you can choose to receive your payment by check, transfer it to PayPal, or send it to someone else (family member, friend, etc.).
If you are going to purchase something online,
ALWAYS check to see if the store is listed
at a cash back site like EBATES.
GET A CASH BACK REBATE BY SUBMITTING A DIGITAL COPY OF YOUR RECEIPT
ibotta – This is the first iPad shopping app I tried and I really like it as the best all-around tablet app. ibotta offers three ways to get cash back: Loyalty Account; In-Store Purchases; and Online Purchases.
Loyalty Account purchases are easy. Search the app for preferred partners. If you have a loyalty card for a preferred partner, enter the card number BEFORE you shop. Prior to your shopping trip, unlock rebates in the app. Once you shop with your loyalty card, the unlocked rebates will automatically apply to your account. Easy Peasy!
For regular in-store purchases, ibotta requires a digital scan of each product UPC (being redeemed), plus an image of the receipt itself. Unlike Loyalty Account Purchases, if you forget to unlock a rebate before you shop, you can still unlock it after. The UPC scanner is easy to use. Likewise, it is easy to take a picture of the receipt. For long receipts, you may need more than one image. But, it really is easy! (If I’d had such an easy-to-use app back in my mystery shopping days, I’d have saved a TON of time on report images. Seriously!)
For online purchases, you simply unlock rebates then shop for those products through the ibotta link. You can shop for individual products at participating stores (such as Amazon), or save by getting cash back on qualifying dollar amounts (such as $5 back on a $25 purchase) at participating online stores. The app does all the work and you don’t have to worry about UPC codes and receipts!
You have to perform easy tasks to unlock most of the rebates on ibotta. Tasks include things such as “reading” a recipe, answering a short survey, or watching a short video. Many of the rebates can be unlocked in mere seconds!
ibotta encourages and rewards team work, so you can (and should) invite others to join your team. When you and your team achieve a goal, you can all be rewarded with bonus cash!
You can redeem when your account contains $10. Redemption can be made via PayPal, venmo, or gift card (currently Amazon, Best Buy, or Starbucks). As of 4/6/15, I have redeemed once and already have enough to redeem again.
Saving Star – This app is easy to use, but I could not find it in the apps list in iTunes*. I had to download it from an email link. So, if you use an iPad, you will want to sign up with Saving Star online, wait for an email, and then download the app to your iTunes account. Once that was done, I logged into my iTunes account on my iPad and downloaded the app. Yeah, it seems like a lot; BUT, that is the hardest part! Once the app is on your device, you can select offers easily. You redeem offers by submitting a digital image of your receipt.
Saving Star releases a “Healthy Offer” each Tuesday. For example, the current offer is 20% off (cash back on) Green Peppers. Saving Star has offers that are similar to coupons (for example, .55 back on a specific product purchase) and offers that are more like rebates (for example, $5 back on $25 worth of a specific product line).
You can redeem when your account contains $5. Payments are made by bank transfer, PayPal, or charity donation.
Snap by Groupon – With Snap by Groupon, you log in and select offers. Then, you redeem those offers by submitting an image of your receipt. Offers include rebates on multiple purchases, such as purchase $20 worth of a specific line of products in order to receive a rebate. Such offers do not have to be submitted all at once. The app keeps track of how much you have purchased toward the offer per receipt and and how much you have to go to fulfill the overall requirements.
Snap by Groupon does have a referral program. Tell your friends!
You can redeem when your account contains $20. Payments are made by check.
Checkout 51 – I have only submitted two receipts and I already have $4.00 in my account. (At that rate, I will be able to cash out after 4 to 5 shopping trips.) It is easy to use and doesn’t require the user to scan product UPCs. One of my favorite things about Checkout 51 is that some of the offers can be redeemed multiple times. Unfortunately, they don’t appear to have a referral program. I won’t earn by referring friends, but the savings are easy and worthwhile.
How It Works (from the website Q&A):
Browse your offers and buy products at any store.
Upload your receipt using Checkout 51.
We’ll confirm your purchase and credit your account.
When your account balance reaches $20, you can cash out and we’ll mail you a check. Please see our Terms for more details.
You can redeem when your account contains $20. Payments are made by check only. You must maintain a proper address in your account and you must request a check when you want to redeem (subject to the $20 minimum). Checkout 51 accounts are subject to an inactivity fee. Please read the TOS carefully!
GENERAL COMMENTS AND TIPS
Each shopping app is an individual app that is not connected to other apps. If you find offers for the same product on more than one app, you can duplicate savings on that product. Likewise, it doesn’t matter if you need to redeem with multiple apps using one receipt. You will simply use the same receipt for each app. On a recent trip, I combined offers from three different apps for a total cash back savings of about $6.00. If I did that every week, I’d have $24.00 a month. If I did it twice a week, I’d have $48.00. For me, it really depends on how vigilant I am at accessing the offers and how organized I am when I go to the store.
Some apps offer bonuses for bundling offers, or for redeeming an offer multiple times, or for redeeming multiple similar offers. Always check the terms for each offer!
Be on the lookout for digital coupons that can be combined with cash back rebates, both for specific product coupons/rebates and for generic product coupons/rebates. I haven’t quite mastered this on an ongoing basis (because I’m not that dedicated yet), but I know it can be done.
Here’s an example: In my area, I shop at a store that sends me coupons. Some of those coupons are for FREE store brand products. Some of those products appear as “any brand” rebate offers. So, for instance, if I time it correctly, I can use my free coupon to get a dozen store brand eggs; then I use an app to get cash back on “any” brand of eggs. In that way, I can get cash back on a FREE item! (Two different companies are offering the incentives, so this isn’t problematic for either company.)
*All of the apps may be available on iPad, and/or Android, and/or PC. However, I only have experience with using apps on iPad and PC.