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I love shopping online, mostly because I can earn a lot more cash back than if I were to shop in-store. We’ve put together a list 7 easy ways to earn cash back when purchasing products over the internet.
Once you get a hang of the methods outlined here, you should be able to save roughly 10% on average when shopping online. See one that’s not on the list and should be? Let us know in the comments below.
1. Use Cash Back Portals
Online shopping portals have been around for years, granting anyone who uses them an average of 7% in savings on all purchases made over the internet. These portals are websites that partner with thousands of retailers across the web and place their affiliate links onto one page.
When you click on one of these links, you’re redirected to the retailer’s webpage. Make a purchase as you normally would and the portal earns a commission. Instead of keeping all of this money to themselves, they give a portion of it back to you in the form of cash back.
The amount of cash back you earn completely depends on the portal you’re using and the store you’re shopping at. Here’s a quick example of the steps you’d take with the TopCashback portal when shopping online at Macy’s:
- Register for a free TopCashback account by clicking this link here. You get a $10 bonus as a new user.
- Search for the retailer of your choice. In this case, we’re going to search for Macy’s.
- The TopCashback portal currently gives 8.8% in cash back at Macy’s. Click on the “Get Cash Back Now” button to be redirected to the Macy’s website.
- Make your purchase like you normally would. TopCashback automatically tracks your purchase.
- Wait up to 10 days to receive cash back in your account. Once you get a minimum of $10 in earned cash back, you can withdraw directly to PayPal or for Amazon gift cards.
How Can I Tell Which Portal Gives The Best Rates?
There are many different shopping portals out there. While all of them are free and most of them give you a registration bonus, the cash back rates on each page are completely different. Not only that, but these rates are always changing. So how can we find out which portal gives the highest amount of cash back at any given time?
Fortunately, there’s a tool called CashBackMonitor. This website serves as a shopping portal search engine. Simply type in the name of the retailer you’re interested in shopping at. In return, they return to you a list of the cash back rates that each portal gives for that particular retailer. As we can see in the image below, TopCashback has the highest rate for Macy’s at 8.8%.
If you’re uncertain as to which portals to use or don’t want to sign-up for too many, we suggest just making an account with BeFrugal and TopCashBack. Based on personal experience, these two portals tend to have the highest cash back rates. They both also give you a $10 sign-up bonus as a new user.
Can I Use Coupons In Addition to Using Shopping Portals?
The only coupons you can use are the ones listed on the portal page. For example, when we searched for Macy’s on the TopCashback portal, we found a list of coupons like in the image below.
If you use a coupon outside of the ones listed, you risk the change of not earning cash back through the portal. For those that have an additional coupon code, calculate it out and see which deal gives you the better value.
2. Buy Discounted Gift Cards
If you’re shopping at a popular retailer, more than likely there’s going to be a discounted gift card available. There are plenty of online services that sell these gift cards. The discount percentage of the gift card completely depends on the retailer as well as the site you’re buying the card from. Soon you’ll notice that more popular retailers tend to have less of a discount.
Just as with online shopping portals, most gift card reseller websites give you some sort of registration bonus, usually around $5. Here’s how to find the gift card that you’re looking for at one of the more popular gift card resellers – Cardpool:
- Register for a free account at Cardpool by clicking this link here. Get a $5 registration bonus as a new user.
- Search for the retailer you’re interested in shopping at.
- If we use Walmart as an example, we see that we can save 2.1% off of a $50 gift card.
- Buy the gift card. Within 24 hours, it will be sent to your inbox.
- Use the gift card at checkout when shopping online or in-store.
- Combine your discounted gift card with the online shopping portal mentioned above to stack your savings.
Keep in mind that some of these gift card reseller websites have a bad reputation of not delivering their gift cards. That’s why I suggest using only the ones listed below. I’ve used all of the while never having a problem and experiencing great customer service. Furthermore, they all have a money-back guarantee have you happen to get a faulty gift card.
How Do I Quickly Find Which Gift Card Reseller Has The Best Rate?
These gift card resellers frequently change the discounted rates of their gift cards depending on their inventory and the price they buy them at. Without manually going to each page, how can we quickly check which reseller has the best deal?
There’s a tool called Gift Card Granny that allows you to do this. Go to their page and type in the retailer you’re interested in shopping at. The results will display for you a list of resellers that currently have that gift card in stock along with the discounted rate.
You Can Buy A Discounted Gift Card Through A Portal For An Additional 2%
The reason we like using Raise so much is because you can save an additional 2% by using the TopCashback portal. Before you buy that gift card, first search for “Raise” on the portal page. Click on the “Get Cash Back” button to be redirected to the Raise webpage and buy the gift card like you normally would.
Within 10 days, you should receive 2% of your total purchase price in your TopCashback account. Cardpool also has a discount with many different shopping portals.
3. Use A Cash Back Credit Card
We always stress that you should be using a credit card for all purposes. This is because they usually have much better rewards programs that debit cards do, and you’re definitely not earning anything extra when using cash. Yet there are so many credit cards out there, and each of their rewards programs are different.
In order to avoid any confusion, we suggest going with the Discover It Card. You get 2% cash back on all purchases your first year. After that it drops to one. There’s no annual fee and you even get 5% cash back on purchases of certain categories that rotate quarterly.
Here’s a quick summary of all that the card has to offer:
- No annual fee
- 2% cash back on all purchases your first year
- 5% cash back on certain categories that rotate category
- Free overnight shipping for lost or stolen cards
- Free FICO credit score on each statement
- Access to the Discover Deals Online Shopping Portal
What If I Have A Low Credit Score?
We also recommend the Citi Double Cash Card as another excellent way to go. You get 2% in cash back on all purchases, and there’s no annual fee. Unfortunately, you’re most likely going to get rejected from these cards if you have a credit score below 700. In fact, this is usually the situation with a lot of credit cards that give out rewards.
If this is the case, we suggest getting a credit card to build up your credit. Make sure to pay off everything on time. Once your credit score increases, try applying for a card like Discover It.
4. Use The Honey Google Chrome Extension
Searching for coupon codes for a particular retailer can often be a pain. Most of the time, the codes won’t even work. I’ve been in the situation where I’ve tried 5 different coupons only to have them fail and cause me to give up trying to find a discount.
Fortunately, there’s a Google Chrome extension called Honey that does the searching for you. When you have the extension activated, Honey automatically searched for coupon codes that can be applied during checkout.
Just wait anywhere from 10 – 60 seconds while Honey checks all of the coupon codes they have available. They’ll automatically select the code that gives you the highest discount for your particular purchase. We’ve even put together a list of 3 different browser extensions that help you save money when shopping online.
5. Leave Items In Your Cart
A lot of retailers will give you a discount just by leaving items in your cart. This is great if there’s something you’re looking to buy and not in a hurry to get it. Add the item to your cart and wait a few days. If you’re lucky enough, the company will send you an email reminding you of the items in your cart and offer you a discount on it.
Usually this only applies to major retailers such as JCPenny, Bed Bath & Beyond and Amazon. Keep in mind that this only works when you have an account registered with the site and leave items in your cart after logging-in.
6. Earn Cash Back By Scanning Your Receipt With Mobile Apps
Take a picture of your receipt and get paid for it with receipt scanning apps. Most of the offers available on these apps were meant for groceries and other food items, but on some of them you can find some good deals for online retailers.
One good example is Ibotta. They have a $5 cash back offer at H&M when you spend $25 or more in a single purchase. All you have to do is take a clear picture of the receipt through the app. In less than 24 hours, you’ll receive the cash back in your account.
When taking pictures of receipts, make sure to include the store name, itemized list of purchases along with the total purchase price. Also make sure that the receipt is clear and easy to read. If you have a print out of the receipt, a good way to do this is by laying it it on a flat surface. Otherwise you could take it directly from the computer screen if shopping online.
Take note that these receipt scanning apps can also be used for in-store purchases as well and are especially great for those who like to save on grocery shopping. Want to look more into receipt scanning apps? We’ve put together a list of 11 other apps just like Ibotta.
Earn Cash Back With Ibotta’s Mobile Shopping Program
Unlike other receipt scanning apps, Ibotta is unique in the sense that you can earn cash back by shopping through other mobile apps via their mobile shopping program. They’ve formed a partnership with companies such as Groupon, Jet, and Hotels.com among others.
You earn a certain amount of cash back depending on the retailer that you’re shopping at. Here’s a quick summary of how it works:
- Register for a new account with Ibotta by clicking this link here. You get a $10 bonus after scanning your first receipt. Open the app and scroll down to their “Mobile Shopping” section.
- Select the retailer that you wish to shop at and click on it. We see from the image above that we can get 8% cash back at Groupon.
- Click on the “Unlock” button and then click on “Launch App.” The Groupon app will open.
- Make a purchase like you normally would through Groupon.
- Wait up to 24 hours and cash back will appear in your account. When you reach a minimum of $10 in earned cash back, you can exchange it for a gift card or withdraw it to PayPal once your balance reaches $20.
7. Find Great Deals With SlickDeals
SlickDeals is an online website that has a list of current promotions across the internet. The great thing about this site is that most of the deals on here are put together by other shoppers. This means that anyone can submit a deal and have it reviewed to be published on their site.
Other users then rate the validity of the deal from 1 to 5 stars. This site is especially great during Black Friday and around other holidays. Instead of searching across multiple online retailers for discounts, SlickDeals condenses them all into one place.
Enter In Their Free Sweepstakes Drawings
SlickDeals also gives away prizes for anyone who registers for a free account. All you have to do is log-in and say that you want to participate. If you’re a winner, you’ll receive an email with instructions on how to receive your prize. However, since the drawing is free, there are going to be thousands of other people entering the drawing. Yet it doesn’t hurt to try.
By using the methods outlined in this article, it’s not uncommon for me to save 10% or more when shopping online. These steps may seem complicated at first, and that’s because they are. However, I promise that once you get in the habit, it will only take you a few minutes each time.
If you have any questions about these methods or would like to add on, feel free to do so down below. Thanks for reading and happy frugaling!