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What kind of strategies do you have to reduce your expenses? Do you physically or digitally clip coupons? Wait for sales? Look for close-outs or clearances? Those are all good, but have you taken advantage of any cash back apps? If not, then you really need to give them a try and make every purchase a rewarding one — literally.
Why should you use cash backs apps? Because incorporating them into your daily routine will help you incrementally build up rewards. Sometimes this is cash sent to you via a payment service like PayPal or Venmo, and other times it is in the form of gift cards.
With cash back apps, enjoy racking up the dough with purchases you make anyway
Here at the Budgeting Couple, we want you to be frugal, and you know by now that does not mean being cheap. It means budgeting your money, spending it wisely, and letting it work for you. Below we have identified a number of rewards apps that we hope will benefit you, whether in the form of cash in an account or with a gift card in your pocket (or smartphone). We break the apps into three groups: Best cash back apps; Cash back apps for shopping; and Cash back apps for receipts. Here is a list of the apps we explore:
Best Cash Back Apps
Best Apps For Cash
1. Ibotta ($20 Bonus)
What would you do right now if somebody walked up to you and said, “Here is $150 to do whatever you want. You did a great job shopping this year, and I just wanted to say thanks.” Think you might finally go out for dinner at the place you always wanted to try but didn’t feel like forking out the cash?
Well, Ibotta — an app that will pay you cash for shopping and give you a $20 welcome bonus when you sign up through us — is not going to walk up to you, but it does reward the average person who uses the app with about $150 a year in cash back (according to the company).
Ibotta will either transfer your rewards to your PayPal or Venmo account or send you a gift card: It’s your choice. You will earn cash and rewards simply by shopping and purchasing items you normally would — or trying others you always wanted to, except now you have a reason with those cash back incentives.
Here are some quick tips on using Ibotta:
- Download the app
- Link your loyalty cards from Ibotta’s preferred partners
- Think of Ibotta as you would coupons: Select your items before you shop, just like you would clip a coupon before heading to the store
- When you use the “Pay with Ibotta” option, you don’t have to scan your receipts
- After purchasing eligible items, there are three ways to receive your rewards, and one is to scan the full receipt or a QR code on the receipt. If you have linked your loyalty card or paid with Ibotta, you are good to go; it’s done automatically.
We have written a lot about this app. If you are asking is Ibotta legit, the short answer is yes! We write about it because it is such a versatile and rewarding app. How much does it cost? It is free, and with Ibotta, you can earn a $20 welcome bonus (here’s our step-by-step guide to securing it). What are you waiting for?
p.s. You will want to check out the offers below to discover how you can maximize your rewards and cash back bonuses (one offers a $10 incentive). You will also learn how you can — and should — stack these deals like coupons to maximize your rewards and cash back.
Don’t you hate it when you spend time researching the best deal for a pair of shoes, a hat, a camera, a television, a computer, a gaming system, or whatever … only to find out the “lowest price ever” just went even lower right after you snagged it? If given the chance, would you want the difference between the price you paid and the new lower price be sent to you automatically — without having to trade endless emails with customer support online?
If you answered yes, and you know you did, then you will definitely want to sign up for Paribus.
Paribus is an app that monitors your email account for online purchases. When it finds items at a lower price, it lets you know and works to get you the money back. Paribus uses software with proprietary logic so it is only checking emails that appear to be purchase confirmations or transactions — the rest of your emails remain untouched and unopened.
Some quick thoughts about Paribus:
- Remember, it is for online shopping
- It monitors nearly 30 major retailers, including Amazon, Target, Walmart, Nordstrom, Macy’s and Gap
- If your Amazon Prime delivery is going to be late, it will alert you so you can work with Amazon to get a credit
- It will send you a message if your return window is closing (different retailers have different return policies)
- It looks for price drops
- Your cash back from this app will be in the form of how you paid for your merchandise: It will either be returned to your credit card or debit card
- The beauty of this is, Paribus does the work for you — get some rest
We like that Paribus is a Capital One entity, so you know it is well funded and very secure. Still on the fence? Maybe this will get you motivated: Paribus has discovered more than $29 million in potential savings for its users. This one will not set you back one red cent; it is free.
3. Dosh ($1 Bonus)
The Dosh App knows the way to our hearts. Jump on its website and you will see why. It says: “Cash back, automatically. It’s not points. It’s not coupons. Just cold, hard cash.” You in from some?
When you connect your credit or debit cards to Dosh’s app, you will start earning cash back rewards every time you make purchases at the thousands of affiliated stores, restaurants, and online companies. It is that simple. It is free money. It is automatic. As one person called it, “it is a no-brainer.”
You want to be vigilant when it comes to your credit cards and cyber security. Dosh has bank-level security that utilizes multi- and two-factor authentication and SSL encryption. We have written about how safe Dosh is, please check out the article.
So download the free app, join the Dosh movement, claim your $1 bonus, then do what you normally do and let the money start building and rolling in. You did read Dosh works automatically, right?
Here are some recent rewards offered via Dosh:
- Walmart – 3% Cash Back
- Target – 1.5% Cash Back
- Walgreens – 6% Cash Back
- Exxon Mobile – 2% Cash Back
- Guess – 5% Cash Back
- Patagonia – 6% Cash Back
- Bed Bath & Beyond – 7% Cash Back
- Jiffy Lube – 10% Cash Back
As you can see, there is a lot to love about Dosh.
Dosh is like Paribus, so make sure you download the Dosh app now before your make your next online purchase so you can automatically get money back for shopping.
4. Fetch Rewards
You might care where you shop, but Fetch Rewards does not. And, for that, you should care because Fetch Rewards will give you free money for shopping anywhere. All you have to do is take a photo of your receipt on your phone, and the app (iOS or Android) will “fetch” your reward points. You will get “cash rewards” when you redeem your points for gift cards.
Fetch works with thousands of brands, and you will earn points in a number of ways. The quickest way to earn points, which you will soon turn into cash, is to look for the special offers. Watch how fast your point total rises with these special reward opportunities. Another way is to buy the brands you love that have a relationship with Fetch, no sense leaving “money on the table.”
What is nice about Fetch is that if you shop at a store that doesn’t offer a lot of national brands, you will likely still earn some points. Snap that receipt, wait a few seconds and see what happens. You might be surprised. Have any family and friends? Refer them and earn some more points.
Fetch is like Ibotta, so double up and scan your receipts in both apps to earn twice the rewards. Once you get the groceries put away, scan those receipts so you can collect enough points to get a gift card. Reach 3,000 points, and you can claim your first $3 gift card or prepaid Visa card. This is free money, so get it while you can.
UPDATE: 12/03/19– When you download the Fetch App with our link, you’ll get 4,000 bonus points when you use the Promo Code: FETCH4K (deal ends 12/31/19)
5. Checkout 51
Do not confuse this cash back app with Area 51. Checkout 51’s savings might be out of this world, but it has nothing to do with alien or UFO research. Let’s do some research on our own:
Like Ibotta, Checkout 51 offers rewards for purchases at your local grocery store. It is a little bit different in that each Thursday it posts new offers, which are live for one week or until a certain number of items have been sold. The offers have limited quantities. Hmmm, so where do the offers go? Do they vanish in thin air? in the cloud? Let’s explore this further.
In a nutshell, here is how Checkout 51 works:
- When you sign up, it will ask your gender in order to better customize offers for you
- You will be asked how many adults and children you are shopping for (please count husbands as adults)
- It will ask for your birthday (both date and year)
- You will see your offers, and just tap the plus sign (+) to add it
- Because quantities are limited, you will want to double-check that the offer is still valid while you shop
- When you checkout, keep your receipt
- After purchasing the eligible items, hit redeem to take a photo of your receipt in the app (or upload a photo of the recent via the website)
- When you reach $20 in cash back rewards, you can ask for a check to be sent to you or have the money transferred to your PayPal account
When you use the app, check out the bonuses. For example, Checkout 51’s offering recently included:
- Graham crackers ($1 cash back)
- Marshmallows (25 cents cash back)
- Chocolate candy bars ($1 cash back when purchasing two multi-bar packs).
However, if you purchased all three of them, Checkout 51 gave you a S’mores bonus, which was an additional $1 cash back for a total of $3.25. So, you are well on your way to that $20 threshold.
And as an added bonus, unless expressly prohibited, you can multiply your rewards from a single shopping trip by getting rewards from Ibotta and Checkout 51.
Cash Back Apps For Shopping
6. Ebates / Rakuten + Ebates button (plugin)
What’s in a name? Are the Cash Back deals that were once so sweet as Ebates just as legit now that the company is Rakuten? Of course. We have written about Ebates in the past, but in early 2019 a decision was made to drop the Ebates name and go with Rakuten, a global internet services company. The name is Japanese for “optimistic,” and you will feel very optimistic when you bask in the Cash Back program of the company … no matter what name it’s using now.
Here’s the deal: Rakuten works with 2,500 companies who are willing to pay a fee to direct customers their way. This is good news for you and me, because Rakuten, in turn, is willing to send some of that Cash Back our way.
Play it smart. Use a Cash-Back Rewards Credit Card when shopping through Rakuten. You will multiply your rewards and the money coming back to you. Here are the Top-Earning Reward Cards of 2019 (#7 is the card we use every day)
If that were not enough, it gets better: Install the awesome Cash Back Button (aka Rakuten’s Chrome extension) to make this process as easy as possible. The Cash Back Button works automatically in the background. When it appears you are going to snag a deal at one of Rakuten’s partner stores, then it will ask you if you want to activate Cash Back (you better, unless you have done so already).
A lot of the companies will offer 2, 4, 5, 6, 8 or 10% off, which is good, but Rakuten boasts that some offers will give you up to 40% Cash Back. A recent visit to the Rakuten website showed women’s Nike shoes were up to 40 percent Cash Back. Hello!
Those cash-back opportunities are automatically applied to your Ebates/Rakuten account when you have the button. Coupons are also automatically applied to your order whenever possible. It’s one of the easiest ways to save money. If you have not installed the button yet, I will wait here until it is done. It is that easy.
There are a couple of ways to get your Cash Back rewards: Via PayPal or by way of a Big Fat Check. You will get a Big Fat Check or deposit whenever your balance hits $5.01 in a quarter. If you do not surpass the $5 mark, then your rewards roll over into the next quarter. The good news is that money comes automatically to your account or your mailbox every quarter for which you are eligible.
But, before this deal can be of any help, you need to download the app, sign up or join Rakuten. Then get the Cash Back button installed in your Chrome browser … and do it before you make your next online purchase or you can automatically get money back for shopping. If that were not enough, then do it for the $10 welcome bonus!
- Create a free Rakuten Account here to snag your $10 Bonus! then…
- Download the free ‘Cash Back’ Chrome/Safari Extention
7. WikiBuy (Coupons Galore)
A single company can’t have every coupon code. So if you want to save money on every online-purchase possible, then you need an arsenal of money-saving tools. Wikibuy is one of the most essential.
Wikibuy is an internet browser extension that downloads in seconds. Once installed, your work is done. Wikibuy does all of the deal searching and coupon-clipping for you. As you shop online, Wikibuy automatically finds coupon codes for items in your shopping cart. Simply apply the code, and collect your discount.
And because Wikibuy is a CapitalOne company, they have a massive network of partners. You can expect to get LOTS of coupons from LOTS of online retailers – we’re talking thousands of online retailers.
Pro tip: Do you know what you want to buy? Go to Wikibuy’s website, search for the item, and see which retailers are offering a coupon code. Wikibuy recommends the best store to buy from to save you the most money.
Try Wikibuy (but only if you want to spend as little money possible on nearly every product you can imagine.)
8. Swagbucks ($10 Bonus)
Ready to get your swag on? Ready to “Get free gift cards and cash for everyday things you do online”? Swagbucks gives you many options to earn points, like when you shop online, watching videos, search the web and answer surveys. They call their rewards points SBs. If you want to snag some SBs online while you shop, then you need to do so through the links on Swagbucks’ website. You can score some points when you print out coupons, which will save you some cash when you make purchases. Swagbucks will kick in some extra SBs when you add its Chrome extension to your browser.
We reviewed Swagbucks in another post, and there were some things we liked and recommend:
- Use Swagbucks’ search engine to build up those SBs (I earned 20 of them for searching “Budgeting Couple”)
- Do you play GSN games? Then check out the play option
- Shop with Swagbucks at online retailers like Walmart, Target, Amazon, and others and earn a free $10 bonus after your first use
This online shopping portal boasts it is the top cash back website around and with a pool of 4,000 retailers, well TopCashback just might be tops. It works with a lot of the big players, like Amazon, Travelocity, Gap, Macy’s, Walgreens and more. Start your shopping soiree on the TopCashback site or mobile app, where you will see a treasure trove of cash back offers and coupon codes. You never know what kind of deal you will find because retailers might surprise you and offer more than the usual 5 to 10% back. Be sure to do some treasure hunting on TopCashback site or app.
A nice thing about TopCashback is you do not have to reach a certain threshold to claim your rewards. As long as you have earned some reward, then you can request your free money at any time. You can have the money sent ACH (electronically transmitted to your bank account), deposited into your PayPal account, or loaded onto an Amazon gift card.
You can sign up for TopCashback here and start getting top cash back into your purse or wallet.
10. Mr. Rebates
Mr. Rebates is a lot like Ebates/Rakuten, but it has this neat little feature: The store of the week. When you make a purchase from the highlighted store, Mr. Rebates will give offer you a sweeter reward. Make sure to check back to see what the new featured store has to offer.
Some of the 2,500 stores include:
- Saks Fifth Avenue
- Macy’s, Dell Outlet Store
- The Disney Store
Once you earn $10 — and you will reach it sooner when you capitalize on the store of the week perks, you can request your money. Mr. Rebates will send a check to you or transfer it to your PayPal account. I hope you are beginning to see the magic of using cash back apps.
What are you waiting for?
Along comes an upstart company in the cash back app space in the form of Fluz. The company is definitely trying to be different and, though a newcomer to this field of apps, it boasts that it pays back the most. Here’s how:
Link a credit card. You will earn cash back when you make purchases from Fluz’s partner merchants.
Now, here is where the twist comes in: If you invite your friend to join Fluz, then your rewards become even greater. You will passively earn money every time your friend makes a purchase. It has a multi-level marketing feel to it, not to mention a multiplying effect. Sounds intriguing, right?
Here’s another twist in the Fluz universe: Earn more cash back when you use Fluzpay. Let’s say you go to Chipotle, and your order is $10.25. Load enough cash from your linked card to pay for meal, make the payment, and earn cash back for the transaction. It is just like using a gift card.
Fluz is new a new player, so be an early adopter and start building your network to multiply your cash back. Sign up today.
Cash Back Apps for Receipts
12. Receipt Hog
Not sure if Receipt Hog is trying to piggyback on the popularity of Snapchat, but it does want you to “get the app, snap receipts.”
You will earn some cash for taking photos of your receipts … from any store, it does not have to be a preferred partner.
With Receipt Hog, when you snap your receipts, and depending on the kind of store it is, you will receive either “coins” or “spins.”
Coins come from grocery stores, convenience stores, liquor stores, beauty supply stores, and other similar establishments.
Spins come from apparel shops, office stores, home improvement stores, and the like.
You can snap 20 receipts a week. Here is what you will earn:
- <$10 = 5 coins
- $10-$50 = 10 coins
- $50-$100 = 15 coins
- $100+ = 20 coins.
You will be able to redeem your coins for cash once you receive 1,000 coins. You can get paid with an Amazon gift card, Visa e-gift card or a PayPal transfer. If you wait until you collect more coins, the payout is greater. Here is a breakdown:
- 1,000 coins = $5
- 2,900 coins = $15
- 4,300 coins = $25
- 6,500 coins = $40
When you earn spins, you get to play Hog Slots, a slot machine-style game where you can earn bonus coins.
Check it out; see if you like it. You will never know unless you try Receipt Hog for yourself.
With SavingStar, there are “automatic stores” and “receipt stores.” Here is the quick breakdown between the two:
Automatic stores allow you to link your loyalty card to the app, so your savings will be automatic.
With receipt stores, just grab a quick photo of your receipt through the app and save.
At the Budgeting Couple blog, we want you to make better decisions with your money and your time. That is why we like “automatic” so much. But, you will save and earn cash back either way. It’s a win-win.
There are about 75 chains that are part of the automatic stores program. These chains have more than 22,000 locations around the country, so chances are there is one near you. If your favorite grocer, dollar store, or pharmacy is not on the SavingStar program, just ask them to consider joining. SavingStar will work with them.
- Lightning deals: On the first of the month, SavingStar adds new deals. Some of these might be limited. So, use the mobile app to stay up-to-date on these lightning deals.
- Healthy Options: On Tuesdays, SavingStar offers a deal on fresh fruits or vegetables. For this selection, the brand does not matter. Eat healthier and be rewarded financially, too.
- One or Many deals: You really need to scope these out. If you purchase a certain dollar amount from a group of products, you will earn extra cash back.
- Find locations quickly: SavingStar will give you an option of searching for stores using your phones location or by Zip Code. When I entered my Zip Code, most of the major retailers appeared. What I liked is it also included brands that were a little distance away. Sometimes we will go out of town for dinner, and SavingStar makes it easy to see if deals are close to me.
Shop using SavingStar and get the most bang for your buck with the hacks. When you collect $20 in cash rewards, have it transferred to your bank or PayPal account. Or, SavingStar will send you a gift card from one of the participating retailers.
Sign up for SavingStar today to start saving. Whether you go automatic or receipt, just be sure to go and sign up.
How do cash back apps work?
You might be wondering why services like Ibotta, Rakuten, Paribus and the like will give you money and offer you deals. It’s quite simple: companies and brands pay these services to send customers to them. From these fees, a percentage is given back to people like you and me.
Let’s face it, money can be a motivating factor. If you are going to buy a $100 digital camera, would you rather pay $100 and be done with it, or find a way to earn a 4% cash back and get a discount simply by having a Cash Back Button installed in your browser?
How do I get started?
I might be a little odd, but when I look at these cash back and rewards opportunities, I always think about it over the course of a year. If you earn $25 a month in cash back rewards, then that equates to $300 a year.
- Remember, the average shopper using Ibotta earns $150 a year ($20 welcome bonus),
- Now, consider what happens when you add Ebates/Rakuten to save money when shopping online. ($10 welcome bonus)
- Then you activate Paribus to get those refunds coming in.
Good luck on this cash back adventure. Let us know how you make out.
I was surprised to learn the cash back market is $80 billion. That’s a lot of purchases, and a percentage of that amount is being returned to shoppers like us. So, do yourself a favor and sign up for these deals and start getting your slice of the $80 billion pie. You have a lot of power at your fingertips! When you have all of these deals apps and sites working in your favor, then you will never pay full price again. Not only that, but in minutes you can do some powerful research to see who has the best deal.
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