How To Get Retailers To Start Paying YOU Back For Every Purchase
In 1997, shopping on the weird world of the “internet” seemed like an alien idea. Amazon still mostly referred to the river, and Walmart was just the big box store that required a drive down the highway. E-commerce, as it is technically known, was something that was more of a novelty or a distant fantasy than a necessity. Fast forward to today, however, and you’d be weird to have never shopped online for something at some point.
With the internet comes smarter ways to do things. Obviously, coupon clipping and waiting for sale prices are common strategies to save every last hard earned dollar. While this money-saving duo is helpful, it is still a money “saving” scheme, rather than a money “recovery” system. Luckily, however, there is a strategy that has allowed me to use coupons and sale prices to “save” money while also managing to recover a percentage of each purchase I made at retailers online.
While this technique won’t make anyone rich, it has allowed me to recover over $900 from my spending at Amazon and many other retailers while still paying the same prices and using the same coupons as anyone else. It’s money that would have just gone straight in to Amazon’s pocket, but instead was rerouted back to my own pocket at no charge. Here’s how it’s done:
1. Create an Account at Ebates
When retailers want to attract new customers or motivate repeat customers, they often pay a small commission to companies that refer customers to the retailer. This is how many travel planning sites work, such as Priceline.com, as they receive a portion of your purchase price when you buy plane tickets or hotel stays. Usually, these referring companies pocket this commission in its entirety. However, Ebates is a company that passes some of that commission on to shoppers in the form of cash back and bonuses. This is similar to how many credit cards offer cash back on your statement, but unlike credit cards, opening an account at Ebates is free and available to anyone in the United States and Canada. (Tip: if you use my link by clicking here, you get an extra $10 cash bonus after reaching $25 spent at any combination of retailers).
2. Visit Retailers Using Your Ebates Account
Once you have created a free account at Ebates, you are ready for the fun part: shopping. While you still shop and use coupons like normal, the only difference is that you have to click the retailer’s link in your Ebates account to receive credit. You can do this by logging in to your Ebates account and then searching for the retailer you want to visit, or using the Ebates Google Chrome extension to make the links readily available. On the retailer’s Ebates page, you will see the amount of cash back you will receive, as well as coupon codes and any restrictions. If you just visit the retailer in the old-fashioned method by going directly to their webpage or using your browser’s bookmarks, you won’t receive your cash back.
Knowing the amount of cash back you will receive should give you a clear picture of how much you stand to earn. For example, Priceline usually offers a flat dollar amount for each flight booked, such as $9 per flight regardless of total price. So if you regularly travel and book through Priceline, you will get paid for each and every booking at no extra cost to you. Other retailers, such as Walmart and JCPenney, offer a percentage of the total purchase price, such as 10%. So, if you spend $100 at JCPenney and Ebates promises 10% cash back, you just made $10 for doing the shopping you were going to do anyway — in addition to all the coupons and sales you were planning to take advantage of, too.
3. Get Paid
It usually takes up to 48 hours after a purchase to see cash back reflected in your Ebates account. Thankfully, Ebates offers payment through Paypal so you don’t have to give up your information, and you can cash out to any bank account you want through Paypal. Alternately, you can request a paper check to be mailed to you if you don’t have a Paypal account.
Hack Your Earnings Potential
While that is the basic formula to start recovering your hard earned money, in addition to using coupons and sales there are ways you can maximize your earnings potential.
1. Take Advantage of Discount Gift Cards
Let’s say you will receive 5% in cash back at a retailer through Ebates. You also have a coupon for 10% off, making your purchase even less expensive. This is a great strategy, but did you know you can also get a discount on your payment method when you use discounted gift cards? You don’t need to wait for your Grandma to send you a gift card. Instead, you can head over to a popular discount gift card website, such as Raise.com, and buy perfectly good gift cards at discounts of up to 10–20% off. Even better is that every gift card is guaranteed for a certain amount of days (Raise offers a full year guarantee), so in case there is any problem with the gift card you purchase, you will get a full refund. Oh, and best of all, Raise.com is one of the merchants you can receive cash back on through Ebates!
2. Utilize Credit Card Cash Back
If you have a credit card that offers cash back on your monthly purchases, you can use that card to buy the above-mentioned discounted gift cards, earning you an even larger combined discount. Using coupons, waiting for sales, earning cash back on Ebates, buying discounted gift cards, and earning credit card cash back all cooperatively work together to create a combined savings amount for you.
3. Offer to Be Someone’s Personal Shopper
Since you can now earn cash back on Ebates, why not offer your shopping services to someone you trust and earn cash back on their purchases? For example, if your sister was going to make a large purchase at Amazon, you can buy her item for her using your link through Ebates, have it shipped directly to her, and she can pay you back. This way, you earn the cash back through Ebates, but for someone else’s purchase that you are fully reimbursed for. Think of all the shopping opportunities this opens: family, friends, office expenses, business travel, etc… There is no need to limit yourself to just your own personal shopping.
Using all of the above techniques combined, I was able to earn a cumulative $900 on Ebates alone, in addition to credit card cash back.
Even if you aren’t a very heavy shopper online, you can still earn whenever you do happen to shop. Your earnings don’t expire so even if you only earn a penny, it is still a penny you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. This is definitely not your Grandpa’s strategy to cut costs and save money!
I sincerely hope this was helpful and taught you how to maximize your earnings using an unconventional method. If this was indeed helpful, then I kindly ask that you sign up for Ebates using my referral link here because you will earn a special $10 bonus and it is still 100% free, and I will receive a small token of appreciation as well. Your bonus is paid to you when you reach $25 cumulatively spent through links on Ebates.