One great way to optimize your spending is to use cash back sites. When used to make purchases that you already plan on making, they can be a useful tool. Best of all, these sites often require limited effort on your part.
If you are pursuing Financial Independence, it is important to remember that small savings can add up quickly. By using cash back sites you can take advantage of these small savings and push yourself towards FI quicker.
Cash Back sites such as Rakuten, Drop, and Swagbucks are just the start of the companies that offer great ways to earn cashback on almost all of your purchases!
Table Of Contents
- How Do Cash Back Sites Work?
- Top Rated Cash Back Sites
- Cash Back Sites–Which Is The Best?
- Final Thoughts
How Do Cash Back Sites Work?
There may be many different cash back sites to choose from, but they all tend to work pretty similarly. Some of the most common ways to earn through these sites are:
Shopping through a portal: With shopping portals you start at the cash back site and with a couple of extra clicks you will be directed to your favorite online retailers. The cash back site will do all of the tracking for you, meaning you can shop just like you are used to, while your cash back balance grows.
Taking pictures of your receipts: You may want to stop crumpling up your receipts! Instead, find out if your favorite cash back site will give you back some money if you upload a photo of your receipts. This may require you to preselect offers before heading out to the store but is often easy through their website or app.
Browser extensions: Browser extensions may just be the easiest way to get a little more of your money back into your wallet. By tracking the websites that you shop on, these extensions can easily collect your cash back without requiring you to shop through a portal. On websites that work with cash back browser extensions, you may even receive pop-ups with special offers.
Link your card: If you are comfortable linking your credit or debit card to a cash back site, you can often rack up cash back just by making everyday purchases. The cash back site knows what stores you are shopping at and will give cash back based on purchases made at select stores. This can give your card’s current cash back rate a boost.
Every website has different cash back requirements, so it is important to do your research before signing up. You may even consider combining multiple cash back sites for maximum reward opportunities.
Top Rated Cash Back Sites
If you have been looking for a cash back site that has stood the test of time, Rakuten is for you.
Rakuten, formerly Ebates, is a favorite among many who use cash back sites. With up to 40% cash back at over 2,500 of their partner stores, there is no doubt as to why. They have already helped there users receive over $1 billion in cash back!
Rakuten collects a commission from its partners for sending them business and then gives users back a share of it. Through their website, you can shop many of your favorite retailers without sacrificing experience on the retailer’s website. If you are someone who is always on the go, their mobile app could be your perfect answer.
How Rakuten Works
Rakuten is easy to use and great for people seeking simplicity in a cash back website or app.
Once you’ve set up a Rakuten account you can begin browsing cash back offers found in different advertisements and buttons throughout their website. Once you find an offer that you would like to shop, it is as easy as clicking the Rakuten link. From there, you will be redirected to the retailer’s website and Rakuten will record your cash back after you make a purchase.
If convenience is important to you, you can download Rakuten’s Cash Back Button. This is a browser extension that will allow you to earn cash back even when you don’t click through to the store from the Rakuten website. When you visit an online store that is partnered with Rakuten you will receive a drop-down menu. From there you can activate your cash back.
If you would like to receive cash back in-store you can link your credit or debit card to your account. You are then free to activate the offers that interest you and head to the stores. Rakuten will do the rest.
If you have a credit card and don’t use Drop, you are missing out.
Drop is a rewards app that works alongside your credit card to get you cash back in the form of gift cards. This means that on top of any rewards that your credit card company already gives, Drop will give you a little boost!
If extra rewards aren’t a good enough reason to join Drop the lack of time it takes from your busy schedule might be. Once you set up your account, the only thing that you need to do is cash out! Really, it is that simple. Drop is an app that you really can set and forget about.
How It Works
Using Drop is simple and you will almost forget that you have it on your phone, until you see the points starting to roll in!
Once you download Drop, getting set up is super easy. You will be asked to link your credit card to your account, which will then give Drop the ability to track where you shop.
To determine where you will receive cash back from, you will be asked to pick five brands. To make sure you get the most out of Drop, these brands should be places that you shop often. You can even choose from bonus offers that can give you one-time savings on some of your favorite brands.
With a userbase of over 20 million, Swagbucks is one of the most popular cash back sites out there. Through their online shopping portal, users are able to shop over 1,500 of today’s most popular retailers and collect cash back while they are at it.
If you are worried that your shopping experience will be downgraded, don’t be! Their shopping portal is easy to navigate and will redirect you straight to the retailer’s site.
If you are going to shop online, don’t do it without Swagbucks. You could be leaving some serious savings on the table.
How It Works
After signing up for Swagbucks and signing in to their website or mobile app, it is time to get started on your cash back journey. Luckily, this is simple and not too unlike how you would shop online normally.
To begin, you will want to navigate to Swagbucks shopping portal by clicking on the Shop & Earn section. From there, you can browse through their expansive list of participating retailers and their offers.
When you find the store or deal for you, clicking “Shop Now” will re-direct your browser to the retailer’s website. From here, you can shop just like you normally would. Swagbucks will record all of the information that they need to get you your cash back.
If logging in to their website every time you want to shop sounds tedious, the Swagbucks browser extension might be the right tool for you. Through the extension, you can go straight to the retailer’s website and Swagbucks will do all the leg work.
Swagbucks works off of a point system, often referring to each point as an SB. Your cash back will often come in the form of these points and can then be cashed out through Paypal. It takes 100 SB to equal one dollar and there is no redemption minimum.
If you have ever found yourself scouring the internet for coupon codes that may or may not work, stop what you are doing and download Honey. Through their browser extension, Honey finds you the best deals on your purchases. After you are done shopping, they will even share their commissions from partnered stores in the form of Honey Gold.
With Honey, you can easily find yourself saving money and getting cash back. There really is nothing to lose!
How It Works
To set up Honey, all you need to worry about is installing their browser extension. Once you do, Honey will let you know when it has found coupon codes compatible with your purchase. They will even try them all for you!
To earn cash back, you will need to collect Honey Gold, which can be activated in the drop-down menu of the Honey browser extension. Honey will automatically collect Gold at a rate of up to 20% back for you as you shop, which you can then redeem later for free gift cards.
Shopkick is a rewards app that can help put a little extra money, in the form of free gift cards, back in your wallet. Unlike some cash back apps that have only one way to earn, Shopkick gives you three different options to rack in some extra savings from purchases that you already make.
If you are going to shop, why not earn free gift cards while you are at it?
How It Works
Shopkick works on a points system, called kicks, that collect as you make purchases and complete simple tasks. To earn your free gift cards, you will need to first earn yourself some kicks.
After you download the Shopkick app and set up your account, you can begin to earn your kicks. There are three main ways to earn:
- Link your card–Linking your card gives Shopkick the ability to track your purchases, giving you two kicks per every $1 spent at their partner stores. You can even link multiple cards to ensure you are getting the maximum amount of cash back.
- Submit your receipts–If you purchase specific items, determined by Shopkick, you can earn kicks by submitting photos of your receipts. The amount of kicks per item varies based on the item.
- Make online purchases–To earn kicks, users can shop Shopkick’s partners through their online shopping portal. For every $1 spent, you can earn yourself two kicks!
Once you have earned yourself some kicks, you can cash out and use your gift cards to make purchases! Generally, it takes 250 kicks to equal one dollar.
Related: How To Save $1,000 In 30 Days!
MyPoints has been around since 1996 and has built a trusted reputation among many looking to make some extra pocket money. Focused mainly on paid surveys, MyPoints also offers simple ways to earn cash back.
If you are wary about cash back sites, why not trust MyPoints and their over two decades of experience putting money back in their user’s pockets?
How It Works
MyPoints earns money by sending traffic to their partnered stores and then passes a small chunk of that money on to their users. To start taking advantage of this, you will need to set up a MyPoints account. Currently, they are offering a $10 bonus, in the form of an Amazon or Visa gift card upon sign up!
After you sign up, you can immediately start making cash back by shopping through their portal of partnered stores. When you find an offer that interests you, you will be redirected to the retailer’s website in order to complete your purchase.
To get the most out of MyPoints, you can download their browser extension called Score. While you shop online, Score will automatically credit your account for qualifying purchases. You will even receive coupons, deals, and promotions that you do not have to go searching for.
Checkout 51 is your answer to squeezing a bit of extra savings out of your grocery runs.
Through their app and website, you can get cash back on select items at virtually any grocery or big box store.
The best part is that, unless otherwise stated, you can combine Checkout 51’s offers with manufacturer and store coupons. This could mean big savings, depending on your store of choice’s couponing policy.
If your grocery bill has been getting a little too high for your liking, why not try offsetting the cost with Checkout 51?
How It Works
To get started using Checkout 51 you must first download the app. Available on both the App Store and the Google Play Store, it takes a matter of moments to download it and create an account.
Afterward, you can expect to receive a list of new offers every Thursday. These can be clipped, almost like electronic coupons, and will then be available for the next time that you shop.
When you get home from your shopping trip, you will need to check off which items you bought from your list. Afterwards, you will be asked to upload a photo of your receipt.
Checkout 51 will credit your account with cash back once they have had the chance to review your receipt. When you hit $20 in cash back, you can cash out and expect a check in the mail within about three weeks.
Cash Back Sites–Which Is The Best?
Not all cash back websites are built the same. The best one is typically the one who’s partnered brands fit your shopping habits and who’s payout system is most compatible with your goals.
See how all seven cash back sites stack up below.
|Available Platforms||Examples Of Partnered Stores Or Brands||Pay-Out Method|
|Rakuten||App, website, and browser extension.||Amazon, eBay, Macy’s, Kohl’s, Walmart.||Quarterly check|
|Drop||App and browser extension.||Walmart, Nordstrom, Apple, Expedia, Groupon.||Gift cards|
|Swagbucks||App, website, and browser extension.||Amazon, Hotels.com, Target, Best Buy, Staples.||Gift cards or PayPal|
|Honey||Browser extension and website.||Target, Home Depot, GoDaddy, Groupon, Squarespace.||Gift cards|
|Shopkick||App||Best Buy, American Eagle, Yankee Candle.||Gift cards|
|MyPoints||App, website, and browser extension.||Ace Hardware, Agora, Best Buy, CVS Pharmacy, Gap.||Gift cards, PayPal, or travel miles|
|Checkout 51||App.||Campbells, Oreo, On The Border, Nonni’s Biscotti, Hidden Valley Ranch.||Check|
If you are shopping without using a cash back site, you might want to think again. These sites can save you money without much effort on your part, and the savings seriously add up.
Imagine what you could do if almost all of your purchases earned cash back. By the end of the year, you could find yourself with enough money to make an extra payment towards your debts or investment accounts.