Thursday, June 16, 2016

Cash Back with Shopping Rebate Apps - Ibotta and more

At the start of the month I was flipping through an old Rachael Ray magazine and saw a mention of a shopping rebate app called Ibotta. Apparently it's been around for years, but this was the first I'd heard about it! I did some research before downloading the app and was quickly convinced to get it. I've had it for about 1 1/2 weeks, already earned nearly $35 (plus more on my husband's account), and have become a little obsessed!


How does it work? ~
Choose a store, choose rebates, go shopping. Afterward, scan the item barcode and take a picture of your receipt, and you'll get a credit in your account. Once you reach $20 you can cash out to Paypal or Venmo, or they have gift cards for Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, etc.

Ibotta works at Walmart, Target, big chain grocery stores, pharmacies, and more. There are a *lot* of rebates (about 200-500 per store), so you definitely won't have trouble finding a deal! Some current examples include $3 off Luvs diapers, $1 off Bounty paper towels, $1 off Banana Boat sunscreen, $2 off Kotex tampons, and so on.

"Any Brand" rebates ~
One thing I was really excited about are the 'any brand' offers that rotate out each week. This week you can get $.50 off *any* gallon of milk, $.50 off a dozen eggs, $.25 off bananas, onions, tomatoes, etc. With 2 kids in the house we are constantly buying milk and bananas, so these can really add up over time! 

$10 bonus for signing up, $5-10 for referring a friend ~
Sign-up, use 1 rebate within the first week, and you get $10! You also get $5 every time a friend joins with your referral link/code, so when you sign-up make sure to find a friend that uses it and share the love (here's my link, or my code is nwhblwe). This month there was an extra $5 bonus for your first friend, so I had my husband sign up and we both made $10 from that.

Stack rebates with coupons & other rebate apps ~ 
You can still use a coupon at the store and then get the rebate after shopping. I'm not usually good with coupons, but this has got me motivated to keep my eye out for some great deals! (Check out for tons of printable coupons!) You can also redeem the same receipt with multiple rebate apps, which I'll talk about below.

Just this week I found some overlapping coupons/rebates and was able to get a Zest body wash and a 3 pack of bar soap for free, a different Zest shower gel for free (I actually made $1.75 off that one), and found Glade candle 2-packs for $.88. I'm definitely going to start stocking up for teacher/birthday/shower gifts!

Bonuses & Teamwork ~
Other than the sheer number of rebates, another thing that sets Ibotta apart is the bonuses. There are a ton of extras that you can earn for buying certain combinations, like a $3 bonus for buying 3 items from the health & beauty section, or $.75 bonus for buying a Glade oil warmer and refills in the same trip. These are automatically added to your account so you don't have to 'unlock' them or add them yourself. 

If you find yourself using a lot of rebates, you may be able to get big 'teamwork' bonuses too. Your team consists of your friends on Facebook and friends you referred. If you use enough rebates (between 10-25 this month) and your team earns enough money ($15-30) you can earn a $10+ bonus each month! (The team bonuses are tiered, so 10 rebates and $15 team earnings will earn you $1, then 12 rebates and $20 earnings adds another $2 and so on.) If you want to build up a team, just ask for friends on the Ibotta Team Builder page and you will soon have plenty. I didn't want to add a bunch of strangers on my real Facebook, so I created a new FB page just for Ibotta and linked that to my account. But in the end it's easy to get a team that can earn the needed amount, the real challenge is meeting your own requirements if you want the monthly bonuses.

Search & website ~ 
Another thing that really makes Ibotta shine is the search bar. When you search it will pull up results from rebates, bonuses, and even store names, making it super easy to access anything quickly. Surprisingly *none* of the other rebate apps I tried even had a search option!! Though they do have far fewer rebates to search through (less than 100), it's still very annoying to have to scroll through the list every time. Ibotta does also have a website where you can browse & search through the rebates, though you can only load them on your phone.

Other Rebate Apps?
There are actually a lot out there! I wasn't really planning on getting more rebate apps, but as I looked online to find some good Ibotta deals, I kept seeing girls say they got another $1 off with this app and another with that app. I did a little more research and picked 3 that seemed to be the most popular & most rewarding. Time will tell!

While this one has far fewer rebate offers than Ibotta (about 90 this week), it is the largest of the other apps I tried. And there does seem to be a good amount of overlap with coupons, Ibotta rebates, and a couple of 'any brand' offers, which is what makes it really valuable. Once you reach $20 you can request a check, though I have heard it is slow to arrive! They add new rebates every Thursday, and seem to re-load the old ones, so you may need to select them again. They do also have a website interface, but there is no search bar or categories on either. (At least online I can easily drop to the bottom of the page and Ctrl+F to search the page!) So far in the last few days I've earned $6.75 (with a $3 bonus on the way). 

This app does does not offer quite as many rebates (about 60 this week), and frankly a lot of them are duds. They do have a ton of 'any brand' offers on things like clementines, bacon, deodorant and more (about 10 this week), though they each only give you a $.10 rebate. I believe there is also one free item posted each week, which can even make you some money if you find overlapping deals. Any money you earn is deposited instantly into your Paypal account. There is no website option, and no search bar, but you can at least browse through the rebates by category. This week I got one free item ($3) and about $.40 from 'any brand' rebates.

This app offers the fewest amount of rebates (40 this week), and most of them seem to be cumulative, like a $5 rebate when you spend $25 on Frito-Lays products (not all on one trip). Those bonuses are really only helpful if it is a product your family buys a whole lot of, but offers a nice bonus if you do (we might actually reach the Lays amount, haha). They do also have a weekly 'healthy' offer for 20% off a produce item, like cucumbers or mangoes. And about once a month there is a free item - this month it's a frozen pizza. You can cash out to your Paypal or bank account once you've earned $5. They do also have a website where you can browse and add the rebates to your account, and you can sort the offers by category there (not on the app). With all of the cumulative offers, I haven't earned anything on this app yet, though I'll definitely snag that free pizza that just popped up!

In the end, I'd say Ibotta is definitely worth getting, and you can really rack up some extra money with it if you use it regularly. The other rebate apps are a little hit & miss, though when they overlap with other deals, you can get items for a fraction of the price (or even free!). Let me know if you have a favorite rebate app I didn't mention here, or know if any good deals!

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