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This blog aims to get you the most cash back that you can without putting out a large amount of effort. Often we write articles that state how to maximize your savings at 10% – 20% off at specific retailers, such as Amazon or Walmart. But what about all of the other stores?
This article will give you an overall picture of how you can get the most cash back on every purchase. Let’s take a look at the 5 steps below and get started.
Note: The steps outlined in this guide are very specific and may take a while to get used to. It used to take me 15 minutes each time to make a purchase, but now it only takes 3. If you want to skip to a quick summary of these steps, I suggest skipping to step 5.
1. Get A Cash Back Credit Card (2% Savings)
You’re probably sick of hearing this if you’ve followed my posts in the past, but we’ve got to mention it here. Getting a cash back credit card is just easy money.
Most likely you’re already using a credit card for the majority of your purchases, so you might as well use one that’s going to pay you each time you swipe it.
Since this article is specifically about cash back on every purchase we make, we want to find a card that gives you the most cash back regardless of the product category.
The two cards that we recommend are the Citi Double Cash Card or the American Express Fidelity Card. Both of these cards will give you 2% cash back no matter what the purchase.
Let’s take a look at one of these cards, the Citi Double Cash. It comes with no annual fee and even waives your first late fee. Here are the details outlined below:
- 2% cash back every time – 1% when you swipe and 1% when you pay your bill
- No cap on the amount of cash back you can receive
- First late payment is waived
- Can redeem once $25 dollars is reached in rewards
- No annual fee
- Free concierge service
- Awesome Citi benefits
2. Check For Gift Cards (3% – 20% Savings)
You may be thinking, “Why do I need to get a gift card when I can just use a credit card with cash back?” Sometimes we can get a gift card purchased at a much bigger discount than 1% or 2% off.
Here we’re going to use a resource called Gift Card Granny. This website ranks in order the prices of gift cards sold from gift card reseller websites. The picture below will explain things more clearly.
If we wanted to shop at Walmart for example, we would type in “Walmart” in the search bar and view all of the retailers that sell a Walmart gift card. The number one gift card reseller that comes up is Raise.
Keeping this in mind, we can go to Raise and search for Walmart. We find that we can get a gift card for 3% off.
Select the card you want and make a purchase. Most retailers are fairly quick about sending you the card and get it to your inbox within 24 hours. These cards can be used both online and for in-store purchases (most of the time).
Just be sure that when you purchase the gift card, use a cash back credit card mentioned in step 1 and add an extra 2%.
Do not make the purchase just yet if you want to keep increasing your savings. There are still more steps that you can take below to maximize cash back.
3. Purchase A Gift Card Through A Portal (1% – 2% Savings)
As you saw above, we can purchase gift cards at a discount and earn ourselves up to 3% off at Walmart. Add this with a 2% cash back credit card and we’re already at 5% off. However, if you make the purchase this way you’re missing a key step in maximizing your savings.
When purchasing a gift card you should use a cash back portal. In short, cash back portals give you money by making purchases through their links. They earn affiliate commission when you buy something and gift off a large portion of that to you.
The best way to find out which portal gives the most cash back is by using a resource called Cash Back Monitor, another very resourceful website.
Once we’re logged-in on the portal website, we type in “Raise” and click on the “Cashback” button.
Then we’ll be redirected to the Raise website. Since you went through the TopCashBack web portal, you’re going to get 2% of the amount you purchase in your portal account. Just be sure to add on a cash back credit card to get even more in savings.
Here’s how much we’ve saved at Walmart thus far:
- 2% for going through TopCashBack
- 2% when we use our cash back credit card with the final purchase
- 3% for buying a gift card through Raise.
We’ve saved a total of 7% so far. And that’s just on the gift card. If you’re still confused about using a cash back portal, you can check out my cash back portal guide.
Unfortunately, the only gift card resellers that give any cash back through shopping portals are Raise and Cardpool. Why cardpool isn’t bad, you can read this article and see why Raise is one of the best places to buy gift cards from.
4. Use A Portal To Make A Purchase – (1% – 5% Savings)
In step 3 we introduced why you should always purchase a discounted gift card with a portal. We can use a portal again to “double-dip” and get extra cash back.
Note: This step requires you to make a purchase online. Often you can select “store pickup,” which means you can go pick it up along with no cost added for shipping. For restaurants, you’ll have to continue to step 5, as most of the time you’re not going to be able to purchase a meal online.
With that gift card in hand from steps 1-3, go back to the CashBackMonitor website and type in the retailer you want to make the purchase at. In this case, we type in “Walmart.”
We see that TopCashBack and BeFrugal both offer 5% to go through their portals. For variety, let’s go with BeFrugal. You can sign-up for an account here. Once you sign-up type in “Walmart” in the search bar.
5. Make The Purchase
We’re going to do a recap and quickly combine all of these steps together and put them into 10 mini-steps. There will be very specific so you shouldn’t get lost along the way. This time let’s use Best Buy as an example.
1. Get A Cash Back Credit Card
I want to get 2% back on all of my purchases, so I’m going to use the Citi Double Cash Card. It comes with no annual fee.
2. Select A Gift Card Reseller
We go to Gift Card Granny to check which place has the most discounted gift cards for Best Buy.
Cardpool has the best deal at 4% off of all of their Best Buy gift cards.
3. Go To A Portal
We notice that it’s either TopCashBack or BeFrugal. Take note that TopCashBack says “Up to 4%.” I checked the page and that applies to only specific purchases. For Best Buy it’s only 2%. I’m going to randomly select BeFrugal.
4. Go To BeFrugal
We go to BeFrugal.com and type in “Cardpool.”
Click on the link and you’ll be redirected to the Cardpool website.
5. Buy The Gift Card at Cardpool
We search for Best Buy and see that we can get 4% off of our purchase. We want an electronic one so that it can quickly be delivered to our email.
When you make the Cardpool purchase, just be sure to use your 2% cash back gift card or another credit card that gives you a good amount of savings.
We go back to CashBackMonitor to check where we can get the biggest discount at Best Buy.
We notice that the best rate is at ShopAtHome at 2%. (It says 5% under “Best Rate,” but that applies only to the Discover Cash Back Portal. To get this rate, you can’t use a gift card, so we have to go with the next highest).
8. Go Through A Portal Again To Make Our Final Purchase
Go to the ShopAtHome portal and search for “Best Buy.” Click the link that says “Visit Site” to be redirected to the Best Buy website.
Once you’re on the Best Buy website, search for your product. On the purchase page type in your gift card information. You can select “Store Pickup” to get free shipping.
- 2% from using our Cash Back Credit Card
- 4% off of the Best Buy gift card at Cardpool
- 2% off of the Cardpool purchase through BeFrugal
- 2% from going to Best Buy through ShopAtHome
We’ve Saved A Total Of 10% Off Of All Products At Best Buy!
How To Get Even More Cash Back
This guide serves as a general method for getting the most cash back at any retailer. For specific retailers there may be a few extra things you can do.
A great website to find coupons is RetailMeNot, one of the web’s largest coupon database.
The Walmart Savings Catcher is a great app for adding even more to your Walmart savings. If you purchase a product and find it cheaper at another store, Walmart will make up the difference!
Getting newsletters from retailers often comes with coupons inside. I subscribed to Best Buy as a student and get special discounts. For example, I have a coupon that gives me $50 dollars off any MacBook.
Slickdeals won’t necessarily get you cash back, but will help you find the best deals on the web. I check it daily to see what kind of discounts I can get.
If you want specific methods on how to get cash back, there are a few retailers that we have written about thus far. These guides contain more steps than what was covered in this article.
- 20% Cash Back At Lowe’s
- 20% Or More Off A MacBook At Best Buy
- 8% Off At Amazon
- Up To 12.5% Off At Walmart
Take note that sometimes you can’t make purchases online to get what you want, but try to do so as much as you can so you can use that cash back portal a second time. Restaurants are out of the question most of the time since you need to purchase the meal inside.
When I first started using this method, it probably took me around 15 minutes each time. However, now that it’s become a habit, it usually only takes me 3-5 minutes. What takes me the longest is waiting for a gift card to my inbox.
You can support us by using any of these links in the article to sign-up for a new account or making a purchase. We’d greatly appreciate it!
If you have any questions or need some clarification on any of the steps, I’d be more than happy to answer them. You can email me at email@example.com or simply leave any questions in the comments below.
Thanks for reading and good luck on your frugal journey!
My name is Jason Wuerch and I'm currently located in Madrid, Spain running a personal finance blog called Frugal For Less. My goal is to help everyone and anyone willing to make and save money through easy and simple ways that don't require much effort. Just because you're frugal doesn't mean you have to give up life's luxuries.