Tuesday, April 19, 2016

{3} Ways to Get Paid to Shop and {1} Way to Give Back

Who doesn't like free money?  A little extra money for a tiny (in some cases) bit of work?  I've been using a few different apps to save/make money and these are the ones that have stuck around.  (Besides Target's Cartwheel app which I use pretty much every time I'm there.  I'm going to do a different post on ways to save money at Target.)  In the order of how long I've been using them.

1) Shopkick
This is an app on my phone that I use to accumulate "kicks" from just walking into stores and also from scanning products within stores.  I don't have to make a single purchase, just walk into the available store, open the app and it gives me kicks.  Kicks can be redeemed for gift cards or, for a lot of kicks, certain products.

I have only redeemed these for Target gift cards (a real shocker) and with mostly just going to Target and scanning the available products I have been getting about $10 in gift cards every quarter.  Not a great return but considering I only spend, maybe, an extra minute or two on this when I'm at the store, not bad for hardly any work.  I mean, I'm wandering around Target on a pretty much weekly basis anyways, might as well get paid for it!

And it's not just Target although that's certainly where I get most of my kicks.  Other stores where you can get walk-in kicks:
Best Buy
Carter's Baby Stores
Sam's Club

I have, on more than one occasion, walked extra around the mall, when we were already there, just to get more walk-in points, I mean, get more exercise with Luke...  The Old Navy we usually visit is in the same strip as a Carter's and Best Buy so we almost always walk to those two stores when stopping at Old Navy (also, exercise/burning energy in a little boy).  And you don't even always NEED to go in the store, sometimes just standing outside will get it.

The scan kicks available vary, there were more around Christmas and much fewer now.  I only got 50 kicks on my Target stop this morning (30 from walk-in and 20 from scanning two things) and it takes 500 to get a $2 gift card.  So probably not something for you if you need to be in and out of the store quick but since I almost always have a few extra minutes, I'm willing to spend it doing this and getting some "free" stuff in the end.  (And I get to add this to my allowance money so I'm extra motivated when I know I'm going to get a free pair of shoes or shirt out of it!)

You can also link your credit card and get kicks for purchases but I haven't done that.  I don't think I want anyone tracking my credit card activity/knowing how often I'm at Target?  I'm fine with just the free stuff from scans and walk-ins!

If you'd like to start with $2 in rewards you can use my referral link: MY REFERRAL LINK.  Full disclosure: I also get $2 in rewards if you sign up so also feel free to sign up on your own!  No pressure!

2) Ebates


I've only been using this one since last fall and have already gotten a $33 dollar check and have another $78 coming for this current quarter.  As far as bang for your buck, this one is definitely more lucrative than Shopkicks.  Here's what you do: shop online.  Find what you want.  Go to Ebates.com.  Search for the store you are shopping.  If they offer Ebates, just click through to the original store through the Ebates site and you get some percentage back on your purchase subtotal (before shipping and taxes).  That's it.  There are GOBS of stores (although, unfortunately, not much Amazon) and almost every where we shop online (besides Amazon) offers some percent back.  The one I use the most is Target (2%) which doesn't sound like a lot but I order so much online that it adds up over the year.  Other places we've gotten Ebates from:

Snapfish (offered 20% back when I ordered my Christmas cards, that was a nice one!)
Old Navy
Gap (gotten up to 8% there!)
Groupon (booked our NYC hotel through there, that was a really nice one!)

Those are the ones we've used the most but really just having Target and Old Navy can add up.  To make it easier to remember to use, I've installed their button on my browser so it pops up whenever I visit a store that offers Ebates.  That was more helpful in the beginning because I've gotten into a pretty good routine of checking it before I make any purchase. I use it most often on my desktop computer but have also plenty of times from my phone.  Just need to make sure you click through to the shopping site from Ebates in order to get the cash.  Which comes as checks in the mail every quarter.  This one is definitely paying off for us.

To start with $10 in rewards, you can click through my referral link: MY EBATES REFERRAL LINK or just join on your own (disclosure: I will get some $$$ too if you click through my link).  Either way, get some free money.

3) iBotta

This one I've only been using about 6 weeks and I'm still a little rough on it.  It's a phone app and you have to actually make purchases of specific items to get anything out of it.  Offers are sorted by store and to redeem to have to select the rebates, then buy the item, scan the product barcode, AND submit a picture of your receipt.  It's definitely the most time intensive of these and the rebates are almost all name brand items.  We buy pretty much generic/store brand EVERYTHING so there isn't a lot here that I would be buying anyways and I'm (generally) not going to buy something just to save some money.  BUT, with just a few Target trips and one to Jo-Ann, I have accumulated $37 in rewards/rebates so not a horrible time waste?  Honestly, most of what I've bought with it is stuff I've gotten super cheap but we don't eat so it'll be going for our church food collection (which means I actually remember to do the church food collection and/or aren't buying a ton of stuff on one grocery stop just for it).

Part of the beauty of this one is that, hypothetically, I could use a manufacturer's coupon, a Target coupon, Cartwheel, have a sale, and get money back from iBotta.  Of those 5, I have gotten 4 at the same time on the same item (Betty Crocker boxed potatoes on sale for $1, plus 5% Cartwheel, buy 2/50 cent off coupon, and 50 cent iBotta rebate).  I've often been able to find printable manufacturer coupons for items with Ibotta rebates.  That can make for some cheap stuff, if it's stuff you are looking to buy anyways.

I've also been able to get $5 back for a $35 purchase at Jo-Ann...which is pretty easy for me to do if I plan my purchases right.  That's $5 back on top of all the sales and coupons I was already taking advantage of.

There are also bonuses for redeeming to many offers in a time period or a certain dollar amount in a time period.  Some of them I don't even know I'm participating in, like when I redeemed the Jo-Ann offer and then got an extra $5 back for completing a bonus I didn't know I was even working on!  An extra $10 just for slightly consolidating my Jo-Ann trips.  Worth it!

I'm not a huge fan of sending in my whole receipt I've started ringing up my iBotta purchases separately so I'm just sending in those purchases, not the whole receipt (which I realize all of these things are tracking me to some extent and I'm mostly ok with most of it).

So, if you buy mostly name brand items, you might be able to save a lot of money with this one.  (My referral code is: nmrfhoe, if you click through me I get $5 and you get $10 once you redeem your first rebate.)

4) Smile.Amazon.com

Here's a way to give back when you are shopping!  Amazon is kinda a popular site.  Just a tiny bit.  If you shop through smile.amazon.com instead of just amazon.com, you can choose a charity to have 0.5% of you purchase donated to.  It's a tiny thing but can really add up with enough people contributing.  We especially do a lot of Amazon shopping in November and December and besides our extra credit card rewards we're earning, it's nice knowing a tiny bit is going back as well.

I don't know if it works in the App because I don't use it.  BUT it will work if you order from smile.amazon.com on your phone web browser (how I do all my phone shopping anyways).  If you don't know who to support, may I suggest Sung-Taaba which is an organization I work with that helps send blind and deaf kids to school in Ghana, Africa.  I mean, can you really say no to that??  =)  Our Smile.Amazon page is under our parent organization (Hope Ministries) but as treasurer of Sung-Taaba's board, I can assure you that all funds still come to us (us being Sung-Taaba, not me personally, click the above links if you want to send me money, hahaha).


Bottom line: I've been using Shopkick the longest so I'm the most comfortable with it but Ebates has paid off the most and, if I could only use one of these, it's the one I'd pick.  And ALWAYS shop through smile.amazon.com.  Amazon makes enough money, might as well direct where a tiny bit of their profit goes!

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