I’m sure by now we’ve all heard about how amazing couponing can be if you put in a little time and effort, scouring the internet and your newspaper ads, clipping coupons and buying only during major sales and whatnot. I know some people who have bought hundreds of dollars worth of groceries, and only paid $10-20. I have the utmost respect for those people; price matching, coupon clipping, sales, and whatnot, take a lot of time and patience.
But — I just don’t have that kind of time OR patience. Maybe in a few years, but at that point I think I’d rather use my free time reading. That’s where rebating comes in. I don’t even know if this is an actual term or not, but I’ll go ahead and use it anyways. To me, it’s the junior version of couponing. It won’t cut my grocery bill as much as couponing could, but it helps. And yes, this post does contain a couple referral links that I would love for you to use, but I promise I’m only referring them because I actually like to use them!
1. ibotta – (earned $87.95 as of 10/02/17)
ibotta has been great for me so far. You choose the type of shopping you’re doing, and which store, and it shows the possible rebates you can redeem. They all require some sort of advertising to unlock the rebate, but they’re pretty simple. Sometimes it just shows a video ad, sometimes you take a simple quiz or poll, once in a while they give you a recipe that uses the product you’re trying to unlock the rebate for. Not difficult, and other than the unlocking, there are no other ads that I’ve seen. Nothing randomly pops up right as you’re about to click on something else, so no worries there. And once in a while, they have rebates that involve teamwork — so if you have a friend who is active, you can potentially earn even more money when you redeem.
2. ebates.com – (earned $78.20 as of 10/02/17)
I’m still pretty new at this one, but I love being able to earn money by shopping online as normal. This one uses sessions and/or cookies to track when you order something through a certain site. You need to use the specific links and windows (so be careful with opening new tabs). I installed the ebates extension for Chrome so I can click the button anytime before checkout, then there’s no confusion with it. Plus, it shows you if there are any coupons available, which is helpful for saving even more money. I haven’t earned enough to cash out yet, and haven’t gotten my $10 gift card in the mail yet, but I’ve read that that can take a while. Regardless, I’ve been happy with the process so far, haven’t had any issues yet.
Update: The gift card took a while, but it did come as promised. And I’ve cashed out numerous times now, though I’ve also forgotten to activate the ebates cookie many times as well!
3. Wal-Mart Savings Catcher – (earned $60.06 as of 10/02/17)
This one is a hit-or-miss, and only applicable if you shop at Wal-Mart. It’s basically just a rewards program, but it still counts in my mind. So the premise for this one is: you shop at Wal-Mart, then scan your receipts (within 7 days) and the app will compare purchase prices to competitors advertised prices, and rebate you the difference. Except in this case, your rebate is in the form of store credit (or ‘bluebird’, which I’ve never looked into, so I can’t say anything about it). It’s slow-going, but I think it’s still worth checking out. It’s integrated into the Wal-Mart app, though you can enter your receipt number on the web site if you don’t want to use the app on your phone.
4. Target Cartwheel – (saved $383.04 as of 10/02/17)
This one is the second easiest way to save money that I’ve found, though it’s the one that most people already use. With this app, you simply look through the available offers, and select the ones you think you might use. You have a limited number of spots available at a time, but you can unlock more spots as you go. You can also deselect any of them to make room for new ones anytime you want to. There will usually be a couple 50% off offers available, but most of them will be 20% off or less, so just be sure to check back once in a while. You can search for specific brands or types of offers, or just scroll through the whole list of all offers (I sort them by discount, with 50% offers at the top).
The best thing about Cartwheel? It’s instantaneous, and discounts directly at checkout, not through rebates. So it doesn’t technically belong on my list here, but it’s still great for saving money without getting too crazy.