Finance Friday: Smarter Spending with Ebates

On this Finance Friday I’d like to introduce you to Ebates, one of my favorite little shopping gadgets on the interwebs. Ebates is essentially a nearly-instant rebate program which mostly awards percentages of the purchase back to the buyer. Those percentages can add up pretty quickly, especially when Ebates features sites offering double percentages. They deposit the money (what they call the “big fat check”) to your paypal account quarterly. Currently I’ve earned $127.51 in a couple of years, and there’s nearly $20 in my account ready for the next deposit. If you’re going to spend money, I figure, opt for smarter spending.

Here’s the way it works:

First, set up your Ebates account and navigate to the site where you’d like to shop from their website or through their app. I’ve learned the hard way they won’t otherwise reward you. You can’t say “rats, I forgot to go to your site first!” and expect they’ll pay you (I tried). I have a handy Chrome extension, though, that lets me know whenever I’m on a site if there’s an Ebate for it–that way I’m far less likely to forget to get my cash back.

Ebates Enables My Laziness

My favorite way to use Ebates is to use it with stores’ order-and-pick-up services. This week, I’ve done that twice. Once, I used it to order a grill part at our local Ace Hardware–I received an 81 cent Ebate and only had to pop over to the Ace counter to pick it up. I also use Ebates for pickup at Target–it’s a paltry 1% Ebate, but hey, 1% is 1%! Once again, I order online and go to Target’s service counter for pickup. I use my Target RedCard, too, to save another 5%. Saving money on necessities (better a $25 regulator than a new grill!) makes me happy.

And let’s be honest: in many households, women are the ones who take care of making sure to stock necessities. (We could probably make a case for the feminist use of Ebates, but I think it might be a stretch.) Sometimes, because I am the one who does the purchasing and puts the effort into making sure we use services like Ebates, I stash that money for use on something fun for me. (Cough, Sephora, cough.) I end up with a nice little sum after Christmas shopping, for example, so I’ll take that and combine it with gift cards to splurge on something I might not otherwise purchase. Now *that* feels like smarter spending.

My other favorite Ebates use is for work travel. I book on my own flights and hotels and whatnot for work travel to be reimbursed later. Ebates partners with Expedia, so I use that service to get all my travel needs met in one place. When I booked a trip for myself and two students this year–about a $2k adventure–by clicking through Ebates first, I received about $35 of free money!

I wouldn’t recommend Ebates if I wasn’t a huge fan.

I love Ebates because I love free money. If you’d like to try it out for yourself, you can follow any of the links herein. They’re affiliate links, and I’ll get a little something-something when you make a purchase. Everybody wins!

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

*Post contains affiliate links.

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