There are so many free cash back apps available on smartphones right now that clipping coupons is no longer necessary to significantly reduce your grocery bill.
Back in May 2014, I downloaded Ibotta and I’ve been earning hundreds of dollars in cash back rewards every year.
Cash back app: Everything to know about Ibotta
As I was redeeming rewards from Ibotta recently, I realized that I’ve made more than $2,000 with the app since I first joined. That works out to about $500 a year!
Before I reveal how to maximize your Ibotta earnings, here’s how the app works…
How to use Ibotta in 4 easy steps
- Select a retailer and browse rebates by category. When you find something you like, unlock the rebate by answering a poll question or watching a short video.
- Once you’re at the store, find the items that you’ve unlocked. Use the app’s barcode scanner to confirm the product’s eligibility before you put it in your shopping cart.
- After making your purchase, you’ll need to scan the barcode and upload your receipt to get paid. I usually do this as I’m unpacking my groceries at home.
- Withdraw your earnings using PayPal or Venmo once your Ibotta balance reaches $20 or more.
8 ways to maximize your Ibotta earnings
You really need to plan ahead if you want to be successful with Ibotta. Check Ibotta for offers before you go shopping and put those items at the top of your grocery list.
Here are the ways that I make the most money with the Ibotta app:
1. Combine with coupons/sales: If you have manufacturer coupons (paper or digital) for items that are also listed on Ibotta, go ahead and use them. It’s like double the savings! You’ll also find that many products featured in your grocery store’s weekly circular are on the app.
2. Complete bonuses: In addition to individual rebates, there are bonus opportunities that will help you get to that $20 threshold even faster. For example, you may be able to collect a $2 bonus by redeeming five rebates. Bonus offers often have exclusions, including “any brand” rebates.
3. Any brand rebates: Speaking of “any brand” rebates, they’re my favorite way to earn cash back with Ibotta. These rebates are usually lower in value, but they don’t require you to buy a specific brand. That means they’re perfect for generic items, including many fresh foods. By typing “any brand” into the search bar, you can easily separate these offers from the rest.
4. Use the scanner in-store: I mentioned this earlier, but it’s worth repeating so that you don’t get burned. When you’re in the grocery store, use Ibotta’s barcode scanner to be 100% sure that the item you’re buying will earn cash back. Sometimes there are details in the fine print (item size or quantity) that you may not see if you’re in a hurry. Verifying a product’s eligibility with the scanner will guarantee that you don’t lose out on any earnings.
5. Upload your receipts promptly: Another point that I want to re-emphasize is the need to get those receipts uploaded right away. After you unlock a rebate, you’ll see an expiration date. But don’t cut it too close. When you get home from the store, go ahead and upload your receipt before it’s too late!
6. Use for non-grocery purchases: I’ve spent this entire post talking about groceries, but Ibotta has really expanded over the years into other areas. You can also earn cash back on things you buy at pharmacies, restaurants, liquor stores, gas stations and other major retailers — including some online merchants like Amazon.
7. Build a team: On top of a welcome bonus for new members, people love Ibotta because of its referral program. Every time a friend joins Ibotta and earns their welcome bonus, you get a reward. Many people share their referral code on Facebook and Twitter to build a larger team. The more people who you get to join Ibotta, the easier it is to earn teamwork bonuses.
8. Redeem only for cash: Once you earn at least $20, it’s time to cash out! There are plenty of options to choose from, like gift cards from major restaurants and retailers. However, given the turmoil in the retail industry, Clark isn’t so hot about gift cards right now. That’s why I always choose the cash option, which requires either a PayPal or Venmo account.
To learn more about Ibotta and sign up directly for a welcome bonus, go to Ibotta.com.
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