If you love shopping, now the good news is that shopping does not only mean spending; you can earn cash back from your purchases! There are many apps that help you save or earn money from shopping. Here are my top five free cash-back apps:
Rakuten is a cash back website/app that pays you a rebate after you open an account and use the link on their website/app to shop. Once it is directed to the shopping site, you shop as usual and it won’t add any additional costs.
For any qualified purchases, Rakuten will give you a certain percentage of the purchase. The percentage varies by store and by time. For example, right now it is 6% cashback for JCPenny purchase and 10% cashback for GNC purchase.
If you have not used Rakuten before, sign up for Rakuten (it’s FREE) using this link now to receive $10 bonus when you spend $25 online.
[Related Reading: How to Use Rakuten to Earn Money: 6 Hacks you Need to Know]
You can also earn in-store cashback by linking your credit cards with your Rakuten account. Then select the cash back offers (e.g., Macys, Petco) that you are interested in by clicking “Link Offer” and the offer will be connected to your cards. When you make the in-store payment with your linked card, you get cash back.
Every 3 months, you will receive your cash back payment for the purchases made during the previous quarter if the cash earned is $5.01 or more. If what you’ve earned is less than $5.01, the money will be carried over to the next quarter.
Available: iOS, Android, Web
Each week Checkout51 provides a list of items that offer cash back. You first browse the list on the app and select the products that you plan to purchase. Buy those products at any store. Then you take a photo of the receipt to redeem the offer. You must upload your receipts while the offers you are claiming are live. Once the rebate is processed, you will be credited with cash back.
Items purchased from online stores such as Amazon are eligible for cash back. You must upload or email a photo of an itemized packing slip to verify the completion of the purchase and the receipt of the items.
The best part is that you can make the purchase at any grocery stores including Walmart, Costco, and all others. Once your account balance reaches $20, you request your check.
Available: iOS, Android
It is super easy to use ibotta for cash back. You can get rebates by either linking your store loyalty card to your Ibotta account or submitting receipts after the purchase.
Before you go shopping, look through the list of products by category (e.g., grocery, pharmacy) and unlock cash rewards. Buy those products at any participating stores or restaurants at over 500,000 locations. From their listed store names, you can find Target, Walmart, Giant, CVS, and many stores that we are very familiar with.
If the purchase is made with your loyalty card, there is nothing more you need to do. If you do not have a loyalty card, you need to scan product barcodes and submit a clear photo of your receipt. Your purchases will be verified, and your rebate will be deposited into your Ibotta account within 48 hours.
Just like Rakuten, you can also link to unlock cashback in “Mobile Shopping” to do online shopping. Featured online retailers include Jet, Groupon, Ebay, Hotels.com, etc.
Once you reach a balance of $20 in your Ibotta account, you can withdraw your earnings with Paypal or Venmo or gift cards from Amazon, Bestbuy or Starbucks.
Sign up for Ibotta now (it’s completely FREE) and you will start saving real cash from your favorite retailers.
Available: iOS, Android
Shopkick is an app with which you accumulate points (what they called “kicks”) for visiting stores, scanning products and making purchases. You use those kicks to redeem gift cards to your favorite stores.
First of all, you get kicks by just walking into participating stores such as Target, Walmart, BestBuy, etc. For example, right now, walking into Bestbuy will earn you 100 kicks. You need to make sure your Bluetooth is on, and the location services are enabled on your phone.
After you enter the store, check the store’s tab in the app to scan barcode icons of qualified products to get kicks. Sometimes it will take some time to find those items on the shelves. It is a fun game that my kids like to play—they call it “hunting for kicks.”
You get most kicks from making purchases. There are two ways to earn kicks in this category. The first way is to get kicks for credit card purchases. You link your Visa or MasterCard credit card to your account and pay with the linked card at participating stores. The other way is to purchase the kickbate items at participating stores. Usually, those items are also the products for which you get kicks for scanning barcode icons. Fro example, you get 25 kicks for scanning barcode of Quilted Northern Ultra Soft & Strong toilet paper pack and 150 kicks for buying it. You submit the receipt image to get kicks.
After you reach a certain number of kicks, visit the kicks center section to redeem kicks for gift cards. Most rewards are instantly ready to use in your Shopkick profile. Some rewards will be emailed to you or mailed to you.
Join millions of Shopkick users now to start to earn your free gift cards.
Available: iOS, Android
SavingStar provides a convenient way to save with offers at grocery stores that you usually go to. You select participating stores close to you. There are a large number of stores in their network, including CVS, Giant, Safeway, Food Loin, Costco, and many more. You can easily link your store loyalty cards or submit receipts after your make purchases to earn cash. For those stores that you do not have loyalty cards, you can scan receipts with qualified items for redemption.
You are presented with a variety of offers in the app. There are many eCoupons each week for you to choose from, ranging from fresh fruits, salad dressing, cereals, snacks, yogurt, and a variety of other products. You select an offer by clicking “Activate This Offer” which will be automatically linked to the store loyalty cards stored in your SavingStar account.
For automatic-saving stores, you use your loyalty card at checkout and the amount of savings will be automatically added to your SavingStar account within 2 weeks. For receipt-scan stores, you need to submit the receipt via SavingStar app or website. The savings in your account will accumulate and you can choose how you want to be paid once the account reaches $5.
A special feature that I like most is their “One or Many” offer. You activate the offer, but you don’t have to buy the total amount of qualified products in one trip. It can be done in multiple trips as long as you complete all these purchases before the expiration date. Be sure to scan your card or save your receipt for every trip.
It’s FREE. Join SavingStar Now to start saving on Grocery shopping.
Available: iOS and Android
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These apps are free, reliable and simple to use. I earned hundreds of dollars last year from them. Get started, and you will also earn money from shopping!