Throughout my married life, I’ve done a lot of little things to save money. After all, if you save a dollar here and there, that can results in hundreds of dollars of savings every year. In fact, one year, my dad, who is also a frugal shopper/coupon clipper, tracked his savings and found he’d saved thousands of dollars by using coupons and getting rebates.
That all got me to thinking about what I do each Christmas. Buying those gifts is almost inevitable. If you’re like me, you have a budget you spend each year. However, you can make that money stretch further into your everyday budget by using shopping rebates. And, you can avoid Black Friday while you do it. If you love Black Friday, enjoy and still do the rebates. As for me, I’ll be in my fuzzy pajamas on my couch, avoiding all the hectic craziness.
Ways to Save with Rebates
Below are all the different things I use to save money when doing my Christmas shopping, most of which I do online between October and November. I don’t like to wait too long into December, because then you have to worry if it is arriving on time for gift giving. Click on any of the sub titles blow to go to the site/program mentioned. I do want to insert a disclaimer here that many of the links are my referral links. I’d love if you sign up to have the referral, but I want to be honest that it is there in case you do not want to use it. That said, I have only listed the ones I personally use on a regular basis and find valuable for my family.
This is my site of choice when online shopping. They have a huge list of merchants who participate in their program, they seem to be one of the most accurate in their reporting, and they will issue a payment via Paypal every few months (or you can get a check.
Right now, they are also running a special where if you refer 3 people and they order something, you get a $50 bonus on each. Just as a disclaimer, the link above is my referral link. You don’t have to use it, but if you want to, I’d appreciate it. I still need 2 more referrals to get my bonus and it costs you nothing to sign up. You are not required to use them when you order.
Let me explain how I use Ebates for my own purposes. I tend to get $30-$60 back toward the end of winter from my Christmas shopping. This is a nice little bonus check I can use for groceries or even something fun for my family. If you spend more than I do, you may earn even more than that. I’m pretty frugal and most people in my family prefer cash.
So, I go to wherever I’m ordering from. Let’s use Sears as an example. Suppose I have something I want to order my husband from Sears. I’ll go on the Sears website and will add it to my cart. Then, I will add any promo codes or other deals I might have. Finally, I will close that window (don’t worry, items will stay in your cart for a few minutes) and go to Ebates.com. I will then search for “Sears”, click on the 6% cash back. This will take me to the Sears website, where I can click on my shopping cart and pay for my item, completing the order. If the order is $100, then I’ve just put $6 back in my pocket. Some merchants pay more of a percentage than others. 6% is pretty conservative. Many give 10% or more.
Have you tried out the amazing Ibotta app? If you have a smart phone, you have to sign up for this. I love my Ibotta app. I don’t get crazy with it, because I’m extremely busy. Here is how I use it:
I go shopping and get what I normally would. When I get home, I glance at the Ibotta app and see if there is anything I bought that Ibotta has a rebate for. I then claim it.
However, they also have some $5 and up rebates on merchants like Best Buy and Bed Bath and Beyond. You have to go THROUGH the Ibotta app when online ordering (there is usually an option for when you buy in a brick and mortar store, too). As soon as you have $10 in your account (usually takes me less than a month to accumulate that much with groceries and everything), then you can either request it be paid via Paypal or you can take a gift card for that amount, such as for Starbucks, Walmart, or the movie theater.
If you are asked for a referral code and want to sign up to be part of my team (we work together toward bonuses), then the code is: qwmgxq
I just discovered this rebate site this year and I LOVE it. They often pay a higher percentage than Ebates. However, you do have to wait a little longer for the money to show up. It is paid via Paypal.
Start by checking out the red “Offers” button, which lists the best deals. However, you can also use this site in a similar way to Ebates. In fact, I usually will check both sites and go with the one that has the higher percentage rebate. There have been times when it is as much as 4% more at Ebates. That would mean $4 more in my pocket on a $100 order. It all adds up, folks.
I don’t use Mr. Rebates as much as some of the other rebate sites. It tends to have less merchants than some of the others. However, the rebates on there are usually pretty good. If you have the time to check another one, I’d definitely check them out, especially if ordering from a mass merchant.
One thing I do really like about Mr. Rebates is their “Coupon” section of the site. Let’s say you need to buy a gift for Aunt Mary, but you’re not sure what you want to buy her. You can go here and see what is being offered. For example, as of today, Blue Nile is offering 40% off on some jewelry.
If You’re Short on Time
I will look at all the sites above and see which has the most cash back or best deal. If you don’t want to invest that much time, I recommend just using Ebates as most merchants are on there and it is a one-stop shop.
Whatever you do, choose at least one to sign up for before you begin (or finish) your holiday shopping. It will be a nice little perk to get some cash back during those dreary winter days to follow. Happy shopping!