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Make Money While Shopping

cash back for shoppingHow many of you like to shop online? Not only does online shopping make life easier, it can save money. After using Amazon Prime for over a year, I can honestly say that I’ve spent less on household products. One, because prices are often cheaper than at Walmart, and two, because I can get what I need without the temptation of having to walk past all the other items in the store. Unfortunately, I can’t buy everything I need at Amazon, so I do  have to use other stores, brick and mortar or online. Fortunately, there are actually ways to make money while shopping.


Ebates Coupons and Cash Back
If you are shopping online without using a cash back portal, you’re throwing money away. I don’t ever advocate buying things because of a coupon or cash back, but if you need to buy it anyway, why not take advantage?

There are several online shopping portals that offer cash back for online purchases, but I really don’t have the desire to sort through all of them to save an extra half percent. I pretty much use Ebates as my home base when I need to buy something online.

It’s really simple. Set up an account with Ebates and log in when you need to shop online. Choose the store you want and once your purchase is complete, cash back shows up in your account. Ebates sends a payment every six months either through Paypal or with a Big Fat Check. Who doesn’t want one of those?

Another way to take advantage of Ebates is with travel. Jim often has to book his own hotels for business trips and submit for reimbursement. Expedia, Travelocity, Hyatt, Holiday Inn, and Marriot are just a few of the options that offer cash back through Ebates. We use Holiday Inn quite often and Ebates often gives 10 percent or more in cash back. That’s a pretty good return on a room we’ll get reimbursed to use.

Ebates gives new users a $10 gift card after a first purchase of $25 or more. Even if you won’t use online portals regularly, it’s worth signing up for the bonus.


save money on grocery shopping









I’m not a huge fan of using smartphone apps for shopping. I’ll probably never jump on the Google Wallet or Apple Pay bandwagon, but there are a few apps that I do use often.

Ibotta is an app that pays cash back on certain products for registering your store loyalty card or taking a photo of your grocery receipt.

I installed Ibotta when it first came out and didn’t use it a ton because most of the rebates were for processed products I don’t usually buy. Since then, the program has vastly improved with any brand rebates for produce, general grocery, and dairy items. If you buy things like milk, cheese, orange juice, bread, bananas, tomatoes, or lettuce, you can get money back. Ibotta also offers cash back on certain restaurants or for shopping online, but I mainly use it for grocery stores.

Isn’t It a Waste To Spend Time on Saving Pennies?

If I spent hours at at time to get 50 cents in cash back, then that would be a waste of time. Time is always much better spent trying to earn money instead of worrying about a dollar here or there, but using Ebates and Ibotta take so little time that I don’t consider it a waste. You won’t get rich using either, but having an extra $100 or so a year for necessary shopping is pretty sweet.

If you want to make some easy money by shopping, sign up for Ebates and Ibotta.

Do you use cash back portals? Would you rather use coupons or smartphone apps?


About Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.


  1. I love using coupons, I’m planning to buy a new laptop and I discovered that the website offers a variety of less products. My friend usually uses a smartphone apps when she would purchase something.

    • I think some websites offer pretty good amounts of cash back. Why not save on something you are going to buy anyway?

  2. I’ll use something like these from time to time if we’re not buying something off of Amazon. I like using Retailmenot a lot, but have had some luck with Ebates. Like you, I won’t spend all day looking to save $.50 but if I can find something quickly those amounts are nice to add up over time.

    • I know some people who use a website to compare portals to see which has the best cash back before buying anything. I just don’t have the patience for that, but Ebates is pretty quick and painless.

  3. I’ve never really used a cash back portal to shop. I do coupons, but the old-fashioned kind you clip from the sunday paper. I suppose if it’s quick and easy then it’s cool to save just a little bit of money. 🙂

    • I use the coupons the store sends me, but we don’t even have a Sunday paper anymore. I feel like I buy milk and bread every week, so it’s nice to get a little back.

  4. I always try to use Ebates when shopping online. Sadly, I tend to forget!

  5. I hate to admit, I am terrible at using online rebate sites. I sit on the internet all day, yet don’t even have Swagbucks turned on. Maybe one day =)

  6. I am an Amazon Prime member and I really love it. Time is one of my most valuable luxuries and Prime makes it fast and quick. I haven’t used any portals, like ebates, but it makes a lot of sense to use if you’re already planning on buying something. You might as well earn a few bucks for making a planned purchase.

    • Sometimes Ebates does rebates on certain Amazon categories. It’s never a lot of cash back, but it’s become habit for me to go through the portal for just about everything. Amazon has saved me so much time. I almost forgot my niece’s birthday this week but Amazon Prime saved the day with 2 day shipping!

  7. I have downloaded lots of different apps like CouponSherpa, Target’s Cartwheel, RedLaser for price comparison, etc. all of which have helped me save. While a few of these I use on a regular basis (I got in the habit of checking CouponSherpa for instance before I even walk into a store!), most of the others I often forget about. For me, the key to a useful shopping and money-saving app is one that doesn’t take much effort. The easier it is to use, the more likely I’ll use it! I have Ibotta but haven’t really given it enough effort to realize the savings potential. Again, I just have TOO many apps.

  8. I’ve heard about Ibotta for a couple years now but for some reason I haven’t taken the time to actually check it out. I’m sure I’ll get around to it sooner or later! My favorite way to make a little bit extra on the side is Qmee. It really is small payouts per click but it takes almost zero effort.

    • I really need to use that one. I’ve meant to sign up forever and just haven’t done it.

    • MomofTwoPreciousGirls

      I’m shocked at you DC Ibotta is just more coupons and you can stack the savings on top of your coupon use!

      I use a few…ibotta (have earned $170 in 18 mos), receipt hog (just have to scan receipts), checkout 51 and jingit are where I have made the most. For example Kroger sent me a coupon for a dozen free eggs. Ibotta also gave .20 and jingit gave me .25. So I made money buying eggs this week!

  9. Never really knew about any of these. But sounds pretty good. Will definitely try these out. And like you said 100 dollars at the end of the year really does sound sweet. 🙂

  10. Hey thanks for sharing, I signed up for ebates a while back and never got my check. Do you get a paper cash back or electronic credit to be used someplace else? Never heard of ibotta sounds cool to get cash back for groceries. I like the message at the end to save time first before saving pennies.

    • I have always gotten a paper check, but you can choose Paypal as well. It does take about 6 months to get the first check and there might be a minimum you have to hit to get paid. If you login, it will give you the status of your cash back.

  11. I am not a fan of smartphone apps. I’d rather use coupons instead. But, Ibotta seems to be a good app.

  12. I love the Ibotta app. I use it all the time and have really been able to see some savings. This week milk, eggs, bread, pasta and even some vegetables were items I unlocked. These are things I use all the time. It only take a few minutes to scan the items and upload my receipt. I have heard of Ebates, but never used it. I am going to check it out!

  13. I am a coupon clipper , shop at Walgreen’s and CVS for deals that give me points or a future coupon.
    Besides this I will shop at Walmart if I am buying more than bread or milk and up load my receipt their Walmart app. If they find an item I have purchased advertised that week I receive the difference in my Savings Catcher account. I have been doing this a short time and have $5.31 that I could have turned into to a gift card. I will hold off a little longer.
    Another app I have is Check out 51 that offers rebates when you buy certain products. I have $10.25, they will mail out a check out once I receive $20.00.
    I need to check out ibotta app.

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