If you do a lot of online shopping (possibly more than you should?), chances are you could be doing so more efficiently.
One of the easiest ways to get more out of your buying experiences is to use cashback websites. They help you “earn back” the money you spend so you can make your shopping budget stretch further.
So, instead of visiting a retailer’s website directly, you buy your products through a cashback site. From there, you can shop like you usually do but you have the chance to get some of your cash back in your account.
Below are seven cashback sites where you can save money and shop for everything from tech gadgets to clothing and even food.
ShopAtHome (Web, iOS, Android)
With over 3,000 online vendors (including retailers like Wal-Mart, Ralph Lauren and Bath & Body Works), ShopAtHome is a cashback site that can save you money on just about anything.
Signing up for an account on the site is free and, once logged in, you can start hunting for online and in-store cashback deals. Note: You must be logged into your ShopAtHome account before clicking into any of the retailers’ sites or your cashback rewards may not apply.
You can also earn cashback by accumulating points in the ShopGold Rewards section. This section of the site gives you points for taking surveys, playing games and inviting your friends to become members. 2,000 ShopGold points earns you $20 in gift cards, 4,000 earns you $40, etc. Your Gold Rewards points can be redeemed for gift cards only – no checks or PayPal deposits.
In terms of redeeming the cashback you earn from shopping (which is different than the ShopGold Rewards), you need to acquire a minimum of $20 in cashback in order to receive a rebate check from the site. Most cashback deals are based on purchase percentages and range from 1.5 to 20 percent cashback.
Coupon Cactus (Web)
Coupon Cactus provides cashback from over 4,000 retailers, including Target, Old Navy, Toys “R” Us, Sears and Wal-Mart. Signing up for an account is free and the site will give you $3.00 for doing so.
This site offers a nice variety of coupons; some will get you a flat dollar amount off from your purchase through select retailers, while others are based on a percentage of your total purchase amount. Every retailer’s coupons have their own stipulations and vary in terms of the amount of cashback you’ll get.
It’s nice that the minimum redemption amount for Coupon Cactus is less than many other cashback sites – only $10.00 You can get your cashback via a check or PayPal and cashback amounts are paid to site users once every three months. Also, if you don’t quite earn $10 cashback, Coupon Cactus will let you keep what you did earn and roll it over into the next payout period.
I also like that this site includes a Biggest Discounts tab at the top so you can go straight to the deals with the most cashback offers.
Ebates (Web, iOS, Android)
Ebates is free to use and offers cashback deals for a variety of retailers including Nordstrom, Panasonic, Groupon and Amazon. When you make your first purchase via Ebates you earn a bonus gift card for $10 (if you want to apply it to Macy’s, Wal-Mart, Target or Kohl’s) or $5 (if you go want to apply it to Ebates).
Ebates lets you earn cashback from over 1,800 retailers and, to date, have paid over $250 million to its users. Much like Coupon Cactus, Ebates sends you your cashback rewards once every three months and gives you the option of receiving your money via check or PayPal.
Like the other sites discussed here, Ebates’ retailers offer varying degrees of deals, most of which are a percentage of how much you spend on the retailers’ sites. Some rates hover around 1.5 to 2 percent, while others allow “up to” 12 percent or more.
One especially nice feature about Ebates is that it features “Double Cashback” deals, where retailers are offering twice as much the cashback as they normally would.
Memolink allows you to earn cashback by shopping at specific retailers while logged into their site. Additionally, you can earn cashback by taking surveys and referring your friends.
Signing up for an account on the site is free and, when you do so, you’ll receive $5 cashback right away.
When you find a store you want to buy from, you’ll be redirected to that store’s website from Memolink. When you buy something on that retailer’s site, you immediately earn the amount of cashback listed on Memolink. The nice thing is that Memolink lists out the cash rewards available for each retailer before you begin shopping, so it’s easy to decide if you want to buy something from one retailer or another.
The minimum redemption level on Memolink is $10 or 16,000 points. Every 8,000 is another $5 added to your account. When you’re ready to redeem your points, you have the option of receiving a check, gift cards or having your rewards donated to a charity of your choice.
Like other cashback sites, the points earned by shopping vary depending on the retailer. Some offer as little as 24 points per purchase, while others offer as much as 10,000; 14,000 or 16,000 points. It all depends on what you want to buy and who you want to buy it from.
Extrabux (Web, Chrome/Firefox Extension)
This site allows you to compare the prices, cashback rewards and coupon codes of items from over 2,500 merchants.
Registration is free, super easy and takes all of 10 seconds (unless you have a really slow Internet connection). Signing up also earns you $5.00 automatically and gives you access to all of the site’s coupons and cashback deals.
Coupons on the site allow you to redeem a code for a set dollar amount or a percentage off on select products from retailers like Macy’s, Amazon and New Balance.
Of course, you also get cashback on your purchases – some of which even apply to coupon discounts! This is quite different from many other cashback sites, most of which allow either cashback or the use of a coupon, but rarely both. Cashback deals on Extrabux range from about 1 percent to 15 percent back on select items.
Another big appeal of using this site is its free browser extension. Other sites may require you to log into your account and search for deals within the cashback site before clicking through to the product you want to buy. Extrabux lets you log into your account via the browser extension and then tracks your cashback as you search the web, even if you go directly to retailers’ sites.
A $10 minimum is required to receive your cashback via Alipay, PayPal or check and, like many of the other sites on this list, Extrabux rewards you when you refer friends to the site.
Download: Extrabux for Chrome/Firefox (Free)
Swagbucks (Web, iOS, Android)
Swagbucks has a unique cashback system. Instead of points, users accumulate a virtual currency called – you guessed it – Swag Bucks. You get more of these Bucks by doing things like shopping, playing games, answering surveys and searching the Internet.
This cashback site currently has over 13 million members and has paid more than $90 million in user rewards. Sign up is simple and free and you earn four free Swag Bucks when you do so, and two more when you set your security question. The site also offers to show you the ins and outs of earning your rewards with a quick and helpful tutorial.
One feature of Swagbucks that sets it apart from other cashback sites is its “Accomplish Channel,” located to the left side of your screen in the Web version. Using the Accomplish Channel, you can set daily cashback goals and track your progress towards said goals. You can also make To-Do lists to track easy ways to earn more cashback and connect your social channels.
Swagbucks also lets you enter Swagstakes, which are like sweepstakes, but with more swag. Swagstakes are essentially like gambling with the cashback you’ve earned. Swagstake prizes range from Swag Bucks giveaways to monetary gift cards.
TopCashback (Web, iOS, Android)
TopCashback’s tagline is “USA’s most generous cashback site” – and boy, does it live up to it. Aside from having no minimum payout threshold (meaning you can receive a check whether your balance is $.01 or $100), the site also transfers 100 percent of its affiliate commissions from partners to its users.
One interesting feature of TopCashback is that you can also earn cashback when shopping offline. Simply go to the Printable Vouchers section of their website after you sign up and print out the coupons you want to use during your in-store shopping. The only catch with this feature is that printable vouchers seem to be much less popular than online vouchers and TopCashback doesn’t always have them available.
In terms of shopping online, TopCashback offers earnings from purchases through Wal-Mart, Amazon, American Eagle Outfitters and Apple. Most cashback rates hover around 3 percent to 7 percent cashback, but you can also find deals for 10, 12 and 15 percent cashback. Additionally, some retailers offer fixed dollar amounts back, which range from $50 to $100.
TopCashback also offers coupons and cashback for retailers in the U.K. and India.
How Do You Stretch Your Dollar?
While cashback sites may not necessarily improve you as a person, they do allow a little more wiggle room with your money so you can spend it on the things that matter to you.
Improved fitness, learning a new language or extending your education all cost money and these cashback sites can help you find ways to finance them.
Is there a cashback site out there that you love but that isn’t on this list? Tell me about it in the comments section below!
Image Credit: Viktor Hanacek via Picjumbo