Cashback Programs to Save on Groceries and More
Getting paid to make already-planned purchases may sound like a fantasy, but it can be done. You may have heard about extreme couponers who layer discounts and coupons to pay next to nothing for their groceries—and sometimes even be paid by the store. While this is one route to deep discounts, it requires as much time and work as a part-time job—not to mention a lot of storage space for bulk purchases.
But there’s another way to avoid paying full price for everyday and special occasion items and even be paid via cashback programs or gift cards. Say hello to the top cashback websites and apps you can start using today. And most of these have a sign-up bonus so you start off with money in your pocket (or digital wallet).
RetailMeNot is both an app and a website that offer traditional coupons as well as retail cashback offers. After creating an account on the website, you can follow their linked coupons to retailer websites and redeem coupons at check out. With the cashback rewards, after your purchase is approved, your reward can be redeemed from your RetailMeNot wallet (an app that works like Apple Wallet, Samsung Pay, etc.). Using the app, featured coupons are displayed based on your location through your phone’s geolocation capability.
ExtraBux is a website you can use for online purchases, searching for the lowest price online for your items. Click on a retailer’s website from the ExtraBux website, make a purchase, and ExtraBux will put the sales commission they earn (a percentage of your total purchase) into your ExtraBux account. You can redeem the cash in your account via check, credit card, or PayPal.
TopCashBack, one of U.S.’s fastest-growing cashback sites, operates similarly to ExtraBux, but it has an app for on-the-go savings. Unlike other cashback programs, you don’t need to hit a minimum balance (usually $10-$20 on other sites) to be paid. Some of the payout options even earn you an additional 3 percent cashback. Options include PayPal, direct deposit, Amazon gift cards (3 percent bonus added), and AmEx gift Cards (with 3–5 percent bonus). Top merchants with cashback percentages include, Amazon (up to 10 percent), Groupon (up to 10 percent), Walmart (up to 6 percent), Lowe’s (6 percent), Gap brands (8 percent), Macys.com (8 percent), American Eagle (6 percent), and Overstock.com (5 percent).
Ibotta is strictly an app for smartphones and one of the most popular. Payout methods include PayPal, Venmo, and gifts cards to Amazon, iTunes, Starbucks, Walmart, and more. Ibotta hits many of the biggest merchants: Walmart, Target, Safeway, Rite-Aid, Publix, Walgreens, CVS, and Kroger. Rebate offers include basics like bread, milk, vegetables, and snack foods. Snap a picture of your receipt with the app and see the rebate money appear in your Ibotta account. You can use referral codes to join “teams” of other shoppers to level up and gain access to greater discounts and cashback options. (Check out money-saving YouTube websites or blogs to join one of these teams). Sometimes you have to do something to receive a discount or coupon, like take a survey or watch a short product video.
Ebates has been around since 1998 and is one of the oldest online cashback websites. After installing an extension on your web browser toolbar, which lets you know when you’re on a website with cashback offers through Ebates, or by clicking through to a merchant site from the Ebates website, you earn cash back on purchases. Top merchants for this site include Amazon (up to 7 percent), Kohl’s (6 percent), JCPenney (12 percent), Nordstrom (6 percent), Target (2 percent), and Macys.com (6 percent). They also have an app with access to over 10,000+ coupon codes.
BeFrugal guarantees the highest cashback rate, in addition to matching 125 percent of competitor cashback rates. Like most sites, their payout methods include check, PayPal, or gift cards. Their top merchants include Walmart (4 percent), Sam’s Club (3 percent), Rite-Aid (4 percent), Dell (6 percent), Shutterfly (7 percent), Eddie Bauer (5.3 percent), Under Armour (8 percent), Macy’s (6 percent), and Hotels.com (6 percent). They, too, have an app with coupons.
SwagBucks only pays out cashback totals in gift cards, including to Walmart, Amazon, and PayPal. You earn these gift cards by earning “swag bucks” on your purchases. You earn this currency by using the SwagBucks website search function, watching sponsored videos, taking surveys, or playing online games. Each SwagBuck is equal to $0.01, but they can quickly add up if you incorporate the site into your already-planned activities and purchase. If you can earn 100 SwagBucks a day, that’s a $10 gift card per week! Top merchants include Amazon (up to 7 percent), Kohl’s (6 percent), Expedia (up to 11 percent), Jet.com (up to 5 percent), Target (2 percent), Macys.com (6 percent), Priceline (10 percent), JCPenney (5 percent), Sam’s Club (3 percent), and Old Navy (2 percent).
No matter which website or app works best for your shopping habits, you can use more than one cashback app per receipt (for those that pay out based on receipt photo). This is a great way to maximize saving on purchases, so you can stick to your budget.