Black Friday has come and gone and yet, with Cyber Monday and last minute gifts, we’ve only begun to spend money. Whether it’s spent on trips to see family and friends, gifts, holiday food or getaways it’s either a lot of fun or kind of stressful. Or perhaps a bit of both.
Digital rebates are the easiest and quickest way to help make it a little more fun. Because if you’re going to spend some money, why not also save a little.
Ebates will give you cash back for a lot of things you buy at all sorts of stores. It’s free (and very simple) to set up an account (click here to sign up and get an extra $10) and then you have two choices.
Either you can get into the habit of going to Ebates before you buy anything online. Their site makes it easy to find the store or item you want and then purchase it directly from the store online.
Or install the Cash Back button (Ebates walks you through installation). Then go directly to whichever site you want to buy from and the Cash Back button will let you know if you can get rebates on that site.
Pros: Wide variety of stores available. Easy payments through PayPal or via check.
Cons: You have to remember to go through their portal or activate cash back offers with the Cash Back button. There’s no retroactive rebates.
Time: 30 seconds to use the Cash Back button or 5 minutes to find a store on Ebates and jump over to start shopping.
Ibotta specializes in grocery rebates though, a little like a smaller version of Ebates, they also offer rebates at clothing and other stores. Browse through available offers before, during or after you shop. Unlock the offers for items you have purchased, or plan to purchase, and then take a picture of your receipt to verify.
Pros: Lots of stores and items to choose from. Easy to redeem offers after you’ve purchased them. They offer cash bonuses from time to time when you complete redemption challenges.
Click here to sign up and get $10 after redeeming your first rebate.
Cons: $20 threshold to receive payment means you may be waiting a while if you don’t purchase the available brands often.
Time: 5 minutes to browse through offers before or after shopping. 30 seconds to take a picture of your receipt.
SavingStar is a grocery app, like Ibotta, where you select available offers. My favorite part of SavingStar is the ability to link certain grocery programs. Then rebates are redeemed automatically instead of having to submit your receipt. For those stores that don’t link, you can still take a picture of the receipt to verify purchase.
Pros: Payment threshold is only $5 via PayPal. Linking rewards programs where available makes redeeming offers ultra easy.
Cons: Not as many offers as Ibott. It can take several days for redeemed offers to be applied to your account.
Time: 2 minutes to browse available offers. If your rewards program is linked – that’s it. 30 seconds to take a picture of your receipt, if not.
mobiSave is another grocery app, similar to Ibotta and SavingStar. Select available offers before, during or after shopping and then take a picture of your receipt.
Pros: Payment is (almost) immediate. Once they process the redeemed offer (usually within an hour of submitting your receipt) they pay via PayPal.
Cons: They (currently) don’t offer as wide a variety of offers to select from.
Time: 3 minutes to browse through available offers. 1 minute to submit your receipt.
Another grocery app, BerryCart specializes in healthy offers. While Ibotta has a lot of variety, if you focus on clean eating it narrows the options considerably. BerryCart steps in with gluten free, non-GMO, organic products to select.
Pros: Healthy options. Easy payment via PayPal.
Cons: Limited options. Requires your zip code to provide offers specific to your area.
Time: 2 minutes to browse offers. 2 minutes to submit receipt.
See how much you can save this holiday season
You can browse and select offers in all four grocery apps in about 10 minutes. Then in about 5 minutes redeem the same receipt in each app to maximize your rebates.
Since they all make payments to your PayPal account, it’s easy to keep track of how much you save over the holidays. Or earn some interest on your savings. CapitalOne makes it easy to set up a free savings account. Their website and apps are well designed making it easy to manage online. There are no minimums and no direct deposit requirement so it’s really easy to start small with no pressure.
What are your favorite holiday savings tips?