When Mollie and Lejla look in their rearview mirror, they see tremendous debt. $130k of student loans, 5 figure consumer credit debt, and a mortgage that would make some cry.
The realization that life was passing them by without spending time doing what they wanted to do, rather than what they NEEDED to do was enough to spark a change.
Best Cash Back Sites for 2020
Saving money on big-ticket items is one way to reach financial independence faster. But what other small, but meaningful changes can you make to your life to get to FI before life passes you by? Read on for five ridiculously simple programs to join that offer cashback on spending you were going to do anyway!
Rakuten (Formally EBates)
If you’re buying anything online and I mean ANYTHING, you could be getting money back by simply going on Rakuten.
Rakuten gives you cash back for shopping at certain stores. It may not seem like a lot, but at some stores, it can be as much as 10%. This can add up quickly.
You can then use this money to fund whatever you’re passionate about. I recently used it to book a hotel in San Diego. They had a 10% cashback offer for Priceline. I then used Priceline’s “name your own price” feature and saved another 40% off of the hotel list price on the hotel website.
Ebates mailed me a check for the 10% within a couple of weeks, which I happily deposited back into our vacation fund. #winning
Have you ever watched the show “Extreme Couponing?” I’m always impressed by people’s ability to buy so much with so little.
But, I’m realistic.
I’m not going to become an extreme couponer.
I don’t have the time, desire, or energy, and don’t tell me it’s easy, and I should. I tried. I signed up for the paper and got the coupons and clipped them, but never did anything with them. I misplaced them, lost them, forgot to bring them with me, [insert any other excuse]. I hated it.
That’s where Ibotta comes in.
It’s couponing lite or maybe “Diet Couponing” – and so easy. There are no coupons to misplace, and you can’t forget it (unless you forget your phone, which no one ever does because it's 2019 and it’s glued to us).
Ibotta gives you cashback on certain items via an app you download to your phone. The best part is that the items are actual things you would buy.
It has always bothered me what extreme couponers would buy because I would never buy so much junk or 20 bottles of mustard (because I’m not preparing for the apocalypse and what would you do with 20 bottles of mustard if there was one anyway?).
I won't lie, Ibotta gives you cash rebates on junk too. But the key difference is that they offer rebates on milk, produce, frozen items, cheese, and so much more.
Knock out these steps to start saving cash on your next grocery store run:
- Download the app from your mobile app store.
- Browse their deals and select which ones you want (some have super short videos that play).
- Go shopping!
- Scan the barcode at the store.
- After check out, you take a picture of the receipt and hit send.
- Watch the money roll in.
Voila! The money is even super easy to get. You can transfer it straight to your PayPal and it’ll be available instantly.
One more cool feature – you can create teams with friends, and you will get even more money back if your team makes a certain goal.
Sure, this won’t save you hundreds of dollars every month, but it could easily save you $5/week, which you can use to buy yourself a guilt-free Starbucks coffee or do the responsible thing and use it to pay something off or towards a vacation (but no judgement if you buy that Starbucks drink).
Dosh is probably the easiest way to get cashback. It doesn’t require you to do anything except buy whatever you normally would spend money on.
Insanely easy steps:
- Download the app.
- Link your most frequently used credit cards to your account. [Some people have concerns about linking the card, but we’ve been using it for a while now with no issues (and so have many other people). I don’t personally think of it any different than having my card linked on Amazon.]
- If you make a purchase on your linked cards that Dosh offers rebates on, you get the rebate automatically deposited in your account.
Dosh even offers a signup bonus. I’ve seen the bonus at anything from $3 all the way up to $20. When we signed up, we received $5.
I tried transferring the money to PayPal and the transfer showed up instantly. If nothing else, it’s an easy way to make an extra $5.
You can also earn $5 for every friend who signs up as well. The best part is that there is no limit to the number of friends you can refer.
I had a friend send out a blast on social media (which is how I found out about it), and she got over $200 just from referring friends in a few hours.
The best way to get even more money back is to refer a business. This will get you 20% of their marketing fees for the next two years!
Dosh has a fantastic cashback program for hotels as well.
You simply click on their travel button and do a search for whatever time you’re thinking. I searched for an upcoming trip and saw cashback for anywhere from $13 up to $100.
We didn’t end up using it because we wanted to stay at the airport hotel because we flew in at 1 AM, but we will be utilizing this tool in the future.
We have noticed that one of our biggest splurges and where we waste way too much money is eating out.
We both get too tired by the end of the day and don’t feel like cooking. We have worked hard to try and only eat out once a week. We’re not perfect, but we keep trying to reduce our eating out expenses.
But, anytime we do go out to eat, we check Groupon.
Our favorite Indian food restaurant has promotions on Groupon all the time, and usually, the discount is 50%! This has allowed us to save money on one of our biggest pitfalls to saving as much as we can every month while maintaining our sanity.
It only takes a couple of minutes at most to check. There are several search features. You can search for whatever restaurant you’re going to, or you can filter by type of cuisine. You can even look on the map to see your deals.
Groupon also has Vacation Deals.
You can score some pretty decent hotel rooms that way. When we travel, we tend to stay in Airbnbs. However, when we do look for hotels, I always make sure to double-check what deals are offered on Groupon. Sometimes I find better deals on Priceline by using their “name your own price” feature, but sometimes I luck out on Groupon. It doesn’t hurt to check multiple places to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible.
How many of you use cashback sites – either those listed or others? What's your experience? Any amazing deals/suggestions you can provide to fellow frugal minds? Leave a comment below and let us know your experience.