Free Money? 4 Apps to Make Earning Cash Back Simple
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There are two kinds of people in this world: those who pick up pennies and those who do not. But, who doesn’t like a little extra cash in your pocket? Whether you’re saving for a big expense, or simply wanting to save on your everyday purchases, we’re rounding up 4 apps (and web extensions!) that make saving money a breeze!
Regardless, I could give you a bunch of tips on how to be responsible with your money, but that would be a repeat of all of the things that you’ve already heard. Instead, let’s focus on some ways to get cash back on purchases you were going to make anyway. Might as well make your money work for you, yes?
Rakuten has long since been my favorite way to get cash back online. They frequently have cash back on big name stores (think: Backcountry, Macy’s or Madewell) with some seriously generous cash back! I love using Rakuten because it’s incredibly simple to use - you just go to their site before you order anything online. It can’t be that much simpler when you’re shopping online. Plus, they sometimes provide coupons that you wouldn’t have otherwise seen!
Your funds are paid out quarterly directly to your Paypal account. No gift cards; no catch. Of all of the methods that I’ve posted in this blog post, I think that this is definitely one of the best ways to earn money quickly!
For people who do less online shopping, some stores also offer and in-store cash back amount as well (such as Sephora) , so you can take advantage of that as well! You just have to make sure to activate your offer BEFORE you go shopping!
I’ve been using Ibotta for a bit now and I have to say, the more that I use it, the more that I like it. There’s a little bit more work involved with Ibotta, but it’s been really good so far! Here’s what you do - before you go shopping, look through the app to see if anything that you might by has a rebate. After you’re done shopping, you save your grocery store receipt and take a picture of it to upload into the app. The app will identify the items that you purchased from the receipt and give you cashback for it!
Most times, I find that I usually redeem the generic items, such as: Any item or Any brand. These are super simple ways to get cash back on every day items without having to purchase a specific item or brand. The app accepts receipts from a lot of common grocery and convenience stores, so it makes it pretty simple!
Ibotta also has an online shopping component, much like Ebates. You simply search the online store that you’re going to shop through, such as Amazon, and you make your purchase. I find that I frequently compare the online shopping percentages between Ebates and Ibotta and shop through the portal that gives me the most cash back! Sometimes they are the same and sometimes there are special promotions or offers that multiple your cashback on Ibotta. It really just depends, so it’s worth it to check!
Ibotta pays out directly to your Paypal or Venmo account any time that our balance is over $20. For me, I try to keep money in there a bit longer as a little “rainy day fund” and take it out whenever I need it or want it for something special. Makes “saving” pretty easy.
Dosh was one of the first “passive” apps that I downloaded for cash back. It’s pretty simple. You link your credit or debit cards and when you spend at any participating business, you immediately get cash back.
Dosh frequently has gas stations and restaurants listed on their app, so it’s a fun surprise when you pay your bill or swipe your credit card at the pump and hear your app go “cha-ching!” Quite a few Austin restaurants and businesses are on Dosh, so it can be quick to build up cash back. The only thing that I dislike about this app is that the offers are continually changing. For example, the gas station cash back may vary between Chevron and Exxon-Mobil, which can factor in to where you might go for gas.
But, for a completely passive, set-it-and-forget-it app, I was able to get almost $50 back last year in rewards. As the two apps above, you can receive cash directly to your account once you reach $25 - NO giftcards!
After you download the app, it will ask you to link any of the credit or debit cards that you frequently use. Then, you can select five “Power offers,” which are simply in-store cash back that you can get any time. I picked HEB & Trader Joe’s because I shop there SO often! (And yes, you can stack the cash back with Ibotta!)
From here on out, you don’t have to do anything. Any time you use your credit card at one of those retailers, you earn cash back. Super simple!
Drop also has a variety of bonus offers as well, both online and in-store that can earn you bonus points as well.
Drop doesn’t give you money directly into your Paypal account like Ibotta or Ebates, but you can redeem them for gift cards to a variety of popular retailers, such as Starbucks, Nordstrom, or Amazon. If you’re like me, that’s likely where you would spend your money anyway, so I just keep replenishing my Starbucks mobile account and fueling my caffeine habit!