Saturday, November 28, 2015


I’m always looking for ways to make some extra cash.  When I cam across Ibotta, I was hesitant.  You got rebates for buying stuff, but I’m not the one that does the shopping for the household.  It didn’t seem like I’d be redeeming a lot.  I downloaded the app just to see what it was like.

It’s a fairly simple concept.  When you go shopping at various stores, like your local grocery store or drug store, you go through the app to find items you’ve purchased.  If there is something you purchased, you scan the barcode, photograph the receipt and submit the information.  (You can also get a special link for shopping at certain online retailers.)  If the rebates are accepted, you have the corresponding rebates deposited into your account.  When you reach $10, you can have the money transferred to your PayPal account or you can save up for a gift card from retailers like Amazon or Best Buy.

You can also get bonuses through teamwork.  If you refer someone, that person is automatically on your team.  (You also get a few dollars after they redeem their first rebate.)  If you link your account to Facebook or Twitter, the app will search your accounts for people who have already signed up.  If you and your team meet certain goals, you get a bonus.  Usually, those on your team will have to pass a certain dollar amount in rebates whereas you might have to redeem a certain number.  (Each month, you’ll be given a new set of goals.)

With an app like this, I’d normally recommend just downloading it and trying it out.  However, this is one of the more time-consuming programs that I’ve tried.  First off, you have to unlock rebates.  This may mean watching a video or taking a short survey.  Some products have one task while others might have two.  (This shouldn’t take more than a minute per product.)

Then, scanning products can be difficult.  Some products, like bananas, you just check off and they look for it on the receipt.  If you do have to scan a bar code, you have to line it up within a box almost exactly.  I’ve had cases where I’ve had to stand there for a few minutes trying to get it right only to find out that it didn‘t scan right or that product didn‘t qualify for the rebate.

Some rebates are for specific products.  It might be for a certain brand of deodorant.  In other case, it might be for any brand.  If you tap on a product, it will give the details on what’s included.  Bread might include buns.  Peas may or may not include frozen peas or canned peas.

Dollar amounts vary.  Most products will have rebates around 25¢.  Others can have rebates north of $1.  If you buy a lot of beer or wine, it won’t be unusual to see rebates of $4-$6.  There are also certain stores, like Best Buy or Sephora, that simply give a rebate for total purchases.  American Eagle Outfitters, for instance, has a $5 rebate on a single $50 purchase.  Best Buy has a $5 rebate on $100 that can be across several in-store purchases.

The first few months, I was getting several dollars per week from my parents’ purchases at Publix.  Now, I’m lucky if I get a dollar.  I’ve also noticed that it seems like rebates for products are available on the weeks that my parents don’t buy those products.  I’ve seen them buy milk one week only to see the rebate the next week.  They’ll buy bananas that week and have the rebate two weeks later.  If you’re not buying alcohol or electronics, don’t expect a lot of cash.

The good news is that when you do cash out, the money comes pretty quickly.  Since no gift card allows for payment under $10, I’ve always done PayPal.  It seems like it’s always been at most a day or two to get the payment.  Gift cards may take longer.  I really don’t know.  Also, I’ve never had a rebate rejected.  It may take a while for me to reach the threshold, but I do get the money.

If you do most of the shopping, I’d recommend downloading it and at least trying it.  Right now, I may cash out every month or two and I don’t do a lot of shopping.  If you’re lucky enough to get one or two big rebates per week, you shouldn’t have to go more than a few weeks before cashing out.  At least there doesn’t seem to be any expiration on money earned.

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