I LOVE cash back sites! In fact, I love them so much that I have become an affiliate for the three sites I use! (So heads up, affiliate links are in this post. It just means I get a monetary bonus if you click/sign up, but it doesn’t cost you anything.) I love these sites because it is the easiest way to save even more money while shopping online! There are no coupons, no codes, no hassles! All I have to do is remember to shop through the cash back sites’ link. Then in a few days to a few weeks, I will have cash in my account! It’s really that simple! And it’s all FREE!
But, how do cash back sites work?
Cash back sites work as affiliates themselves. They partner with various online retailers, drive sales to those retailer’s sites, and then their partners reward them with commissions. Part of their commissions are then passed back to you, the customer, in the hopes that you will come back and shop through their affiliate links again, so they can continue to make money. Smart, huh?
What are the best cash back sites?
I use three different cash back sites. The reason I use three is because each one will offer different cash back rates at different times during the year, and I always want to get the best –or highest– cash back. Also, ShopAtHome.com offers a 110% cash back guarantee (although you can’t use it to match against Upromise.com, but you can with ebates!). One site may offer cash back for one online retailer, while another one does not, so I am covering all of my basis. I will go over the three sites I use, what the pros and cons of each is, and how much I have saved using them.
Ebates offers cash back on Amazon.com! This is a major plus of ebates! While you cannot get cash back on any and all purchases on amazon, you can get cash back in select categories (which also rotate) like clothing, Amazon Local, baby, and sports & outdoors. I also love that with ebates, you don’t have to wait long to get a check. You only need to hit $5.01 in your account per quarter, and you can get paid by check or paypal with no fees. The downside is that they don’t always offer the highest cash back. Since I began using them two years ago, I have received $15.11 cash back through ebates.
Upromise is great in that most of the companies they work with offer a flat 5% (or higher) cash back! It’s hard to beat that 5% often with ebates or ShopAtHome.com. They also recently added Amazon as a partner. However, the major downside is how long it takes for Upromise to process your cash back. I’ve waited more than two months in order for my cash back to no longer be “pending.” Ebates and ShopAtHome.com both have a much quicker turn around for their cash back, usually only a few days, max.
My lifetime earnings with Upromise are $54.69 and I believe you can cash out with little as $5 via check. However, the money you accumulate in your Upromise account can also be used for a variety of things, from paying off your Sallie Mae financed student loan, to a 529 college plan for your kids, or a high-yield savings account. Join Upromise and Save for College.
The great thing about Upromise is that there are even more ways to build up the money in your account besides online shopping. One of my favorite things to do through Upromise is upload their ecoupons onto my Kroger card. When I purchase the item the coupon is for I then have $0.50 (or whatever it is) awarded to my account. They also have a dining rewards program. Plus, you can enlist grandpa or grandma to use Upromise, and their cash back and other account savings can be added to yours, helping you finance your child’s education quicker!
ShopAtHome.com is my favorite cash back site. They offer competitive cash back with their 110% cash back guarantee, work with the largest variety of retailers (see my web hosting post if you don’t believe me), and have a great customer service team. They also do awesome WILD Cash Back deals that are exclusive to ShopAtHome.com. I am still kicking myself for not buying an electric griddle from Kohls that was only $3.30!
My lifetime rewards from ShopAtHome.com is $90.02! While $50 of that came after purchasing my web hosting plan, the rest came from other online purchases!
One of the things I don’t like about ShopAtHome.com is they seem to have more fine print in relation to their cash back amounts. For example, I buy a lot of clothes from Old Navy. Currently, ShopAtHome.com is offering 5% cash back for Old Navy (a great percentage for ON). However, it’s actually “up to 5% cash back.” As you scroll down the pages on ShopAtHome.com you will see a box on the right hand column that says “Cash Back Guidelines” where you find the specifics of how you earn what amount of cash back. Regular priced items from Old Navy will garner me 5% cash back, while sale items only 1%! Because of this, I almost never use them for my purchases at Old Navy: I almost always use Upromise, where the cash back is always 5% on all items.
How do you use cash back sites?
Now that I’ve explained how they work, and the three best cash back sites I use, with my likes and dislikes about them, I need to tell you how to do it!
The next time you need something, whatever it is, and you are going to make a purchase online, STOP, and do the following before you hit “complete order.”
2. Sign up for an account if you don’t already have one.
3. Type in the online retailer you want to buy from in the search bar.
4. See what the cash back percentage is and any pertinent fine print.
5. Open a separate tab in your browser, and repeat steps 1-4 with a different cash back site.
6. Open a third browser and repeat steps 1-4 for the last cash back site.
7. Figure out which one is offering the best for what you are buying, and then click their “Shop Now” or “Get Cash Back” button.
8. A new browser window will pop up. You need to make your purchase through this new window. I suggest closing your other ones so you don’t get confused or accidentally purchase through your initial shopping cart.
9. Add items to your shopping cart. (Some cash back sites say your cart needs to be empty, and items added after you click through their link, but I have never had a problem with having a cart full of items ready for me to purchase and getting the cash back for it. However, you may, to be on the safe side, empty and restock your shopping cart.)
10. Checkout as you normally would. *Note: All of these cash back sites will also tell you of current promotions and discount codes that you can use during checkout. Make sure to check for some! It’s all about saving!
11. You’re done! Assuming you did everything right, you will soon have cash back in your accounts! If you don’t get it, then always email the company to find out what went wrong. They have been very helpful to me and often award me the cash back.
What can I get cash back on?
While not every online retailer is partnered with a cash back site, many are, and the list keeps growing. I have been surprised at times at the websites that offer cash back. For example, you can get cash back while filing your tax returns! You can currently get 12% cash back from H&R Block and 10% cash back with Turbo Tax. You can also save on your travel – Travelocity, Expedia, and Hotels.com – all offer cash back (just to name a few). Plus, you can even get cash back on already great deals from Groupon or LivingSocial and save even more. And, if you want to start a website, you can get cash back on domain names and web hosting!
So, what are you waiting for? I’m sure you buy something online during the year, so why not save even more on your purchases? Do you use cash back sites? Why or why not?