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Finding ways to save money is one of my favorite things to do.
These days, it’s easier than ever to find ways to save when you’re shopping — without having to clip coupons!
How would you like to not only save money when shopping — but also make money when you’re shopping? Well, now you can!
Recently, I shared some great online money-making tips and I’m at it again — this time with the best shopping apps that make you money.
So grab your smartphone, and let’s get started making some money.
Here are 5 money making apps that are free to download and easy to use:
#1 – Ibotta
Instead of asking customers to fill out long and boring surveys, Ibotta makes coupon clipping a fun game.
Say you would like a $2 rebate on the next $8 you spend at your favorite sandwich spot. You have to earn it first. That’s the ‘game’ part of it.
Here’s how you would play:
- Answer 1 question and you’ll unlock $1.
- Tell them your favorite sandwich for another $1.
- Learn how to get a loyalty card (read and click links) for an extra 50 cents in savings.
Once you’ve earned money, you can request a gift card or have them transfer the funds into your Paypal account.
Ibotta’s goal isn’t just to give you rebates and introduce you to new products. Instead, the idea of the Ibotta app is to get customers to interact with brands in a different way.
Even if you don’t coupon at all, and you only buy a few basic groceries a week, a very conservative estimate of $2 a week would lead to a yearly savings of $104. Even at that rate, you’d be eligible for team bonuses assuming the other members of your team are using the app. Source
Downsides to using Ibotta: You might end up with stuff you never wanted and spending more money just to get a few cents off a specific item later. Keep in mind, this also gives yet another app access to your spending habits.
#2 – Ebates
When you want to buy something online, all you have to do to make money is use the Ebates app or the Ebates browser extension to get to the store where you want to shop. That way, Ebates can accurately give you credit for what you buy. (Trust me, it takes you to the exact same online store that you’d see if you typed in the store’s URL yourself.)
Ebates.com is a rewards website much like SwagBucks.com, but unlike SB, it only focuses on online shopping. It allows its members to earn up to 25% cash back on their online purchases from more than 1,200 online stores without asking them to redeem their points, mail in forms, or pay any fee for joining as a member. Source
How to maximize your Ebates rewards:
- You can enhance your savings by combining coupon codes and cash back. Ebates will let you know if there are any current coupon codes offered by the store you’re currently browsing online.
- If you use one of your credit cards that happens to offer rewards, then you will make even more money if you use it when shopping at Ebates.
- If you refer members of your family and friends to the site, you also earn cash back on the first purchases they make. This is the fastest way that most people accrue money from Ebates at first.
Not every online store offers cashback through Ebates, but the majority of them do. (I was surprised!) Each store has an arrangement with Ebates to put money into your Ebates account every time you make a purchase through Ebates. It will remain there until you accumulate enough to receive a check (that will be mailed to you) or a transfer of funds (that will go directly into your Paypal account).
This is one of the easiest ways to make money because all you have to do is go through the Ebates website, browser extension, or app to purchase something you were planning to buy anyway!
Downside to using Ebates: The cashback amount for a particular store can vary from month to month — sometimes you might get 7% cashback, other months you might only get 1% cashback.
#3 – SavingStar
SavingStar is basically a combination of Ebates and Ibotta — where you earn money for shopping online and shopping in-store.
Here’s how it works:
- Check regularly for new deals — including the “Healthy Offer of the Week” and 100% cash back “surprise” freebies during the month.
- For automatic-savings stores, use your registered card at checkout as you normally would.
- For receipt-scan stores, take a picture of your receipt and submit it through the SavingStar app or website.
If getting paid to shop is something you’re interested in, then SavingStar is definitely is a great option to try out.
Once you reach $5 in savings, you can choose one several ways to cash out. Your options are a direct deposit into your bank account, PayPal, Amazon gift card, or charity donation. Source
Downsides to using SavingStar: There’s some setup involved in the beginning (which can be time-consuming) but once all of your loyalty cards are registered, the coupons link directly to those cards — so you can save directly at the store with no paper coupons to worry about. Also, discounts aren’t received at checkout. Your savings will post between 2 and 22 days after you shop — depending on the store.
#4 – Shopkick
With Shopkick you can earn points by making purchases at a wide variety of stores where you already shop.
Here’s how Shopkick works:
- It displays nearby retailers offering a large number of kickbucks just for walking in.
- It shows where to earn a few kickbucks for checking in.
- It also shows what partner brand products are available to scan for additional kickbucks.
Unlike some shopping apps that make you money but it doesn’t really amount to much, Shopkick has an impressive rewards system.
There are more than 1,100 retail locations nationwide that offer high-value rewards for visiting, usually 60 to 200 kickbucks. Smaller rewards are offered for checking in to more than 3 million businesses across the nation — usually 1 to 2 kickbucks. Source
While other location-based apps are more social in nature, Shopkick is more about rewarding loyal customers by giving them something back for their patronage.
Once you accumulate enough points, you can earn gift cards to Shopkick’s partner companies.
Downsides to using Shopkick: Some have found that the kickbucks aren’t able to be added to the total Shopkick amount as promised. And sometimes store managers haven’t been aware of the program.
#5 – Checkout 51
Basically, you just browse through the offers on Checkout 51 prior to doing your grocery shopping and make note of the things you think you might buy.
Then, when you get home, simply upload a picture of your receipt via the Checkout51 app (or website) showing that you bought those items.
You can easily take a picture of the receipt with your smartphone. If you have a scanner, you can scan the receipt and then upload it that way.
The best part about Checkout 51 is that you can purchase products at any store that gives you an itemized receipt. For example, you can purchase a listed product at Walmart, Target, or any other store and still get credit for purchasing the item. Source
And yes, you can redeem things you purchase online — just upload a picture of the packing slip.
The main difference between Ibotta and Checkout 51 is that you can use Checkout 51 at any store (even online).
Downside to using Checkout 51: Checkout 51 won’t let you redeem your earnings until you’ve hit $20, and there is no Paypal option — so you’ll have to wait for a check to be mailed to you.
More Ways To Make Money With Apps
In addition to the links I’ve included above, here are some more helpful shopping apps that make you money:
- 10 Best Online Shopping Apps
- The Krazy Coupon Lady: One Of My Favorite Coupon Apps
- 7 Clever Ways To Use Your Smartphone To Save Money
I’m a health nut, a frugal mom, a dog lover, a DIYer, and a gadget girl. Personally, as a post-divorce, working single mom on a budget I have a lot of experiences that I enjoy sharing so others can learn from the things I wish I knew earlier! Professionally, I’ve worked full-time in a variety of marketing, sales, and editing jobs. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as Managing Editor at The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).