Listen. I’m a money nazi. If there’s a coupon code, promo code, way to get some kind of savings on something I’m going to buy, I’m all OVER it! And one of my absolute favorite ways to save some money is by using Ebates. I signed up for Ebates in October 2014, after hearing about it from a coworker who was a compulsive shopper. I’m notoriously trusting when it comes to things that seem too good to be true. (Read: I admittedly fell for the timeshare sales shit a few years ago. And the photographers at the tourist traps that want to take your picture and then charge you $50 for a keychain of yourself. And pretty much every other trick. I really suck at this stuff!) But, I’ve tried to find the trick / fine print / snag / ploy to steal your information with Ebates over the past few years and have come up empty handed (but not empty walleted!) every time. Since I signed up in 2014, I’ve received checks from Ebates totaling
$436.76 $835.37 (as of February 2020) for doing nothing but going to Ebates.com before doing my online shopping. The proof, below, is sitting happily in our savings account.
Our Ebates Cash Back History As Of August 2018:
Our Ebates / Rakuten Cash Back History As Of February 2020:
Let me be really, REALLY clear here. Ebates is not, AT ALL, giving me any type of perks or compensation for writing this. I firmly believe in sharing things that have worked for me so that other people can benefit, too. After all, I wouldn’t have known anything about Ebates if a compulsive shopper coworker hadn’t shared it with me. This
post whole dissertation is just me, sharing what’s been helpful on our journey toward spending less and making more positive financial decisions with our “end game” in clear focus. Take what you need and leave the rest.
Here’s how it works. You sign up for an Ebates account. E-mail address, mailing address, you know, the typical demographic stuff. Then, before you buy anything on the internet, you go to Ebates.com first and search for the store you’re going to buy from. Ebates will connect you with the store’s website and then you do your online shopping like normal. Nothing else to click, no codes to enter, no funny stuff. After you check out, Ebates will credit your Ebates account with a percentage of the total amount you spent on your order. Every 4 months, Ebates will literally mail you a paper check to your mailbox with all the money you’ve earned with them in the last quarter. THAT’S IT! It’s that simple!
One of the best parts? You can still use any coupon or promo codes that you have, as Ebates gives you money back AFTER you make your purchase. So, no worries about stores that limit coupon or promo codes. You get your Ebates money AND the coupon or promo code discount.
Here’s some ways that I’ve really made Ebates work for me:
- Home improvement supplies. We’re doing a bunch of renovations at our house which demand frequent trips to Lowe’s for supplies. We’ll go to Lowe’s and pick out the items we want so we can see them and hold them in our hands. Then, I’ll get on my phone, go to Ebates.com, pick Lowe’s (which is usually around 1.5% cash back), order everything online, pay for it and “site to store” it. So, the Lowe’s worker will walk around, pick the items up and bring them up front for me to pick up at the Service Desk. I walk it, pick up my stuff from the Service Desk and get the heck outta there, while getting 1.5% of my order total back via Ebates. Here’s a great example: In April 2016, we bought $1,298 worth of home improvement supplies From Lowe’s, used Ebates first and got back $19.47. And, after our leaf vacuum (and entire shed) got smushed below fallen trees in May 2018, we used Ebates before ordering a replacement leaf sucker, earning $23.98 cash back.
- Christmas gifts. Holy jesus, Christmas gifts! I order as much as possible from the internet (going to Ebates.com first, of course) and have it shipped to the house. I’m going to buy the stuff anyway. I might as well get a percentage of the money back AND avoid the pre-Christmas chaos at the stores. In December 2016, I bought Josh an electric knife sharpener for Christmas from Bed, Bath and Beyond. (I know, we get wild and crazy around here for Christmas!) But, I ordered online, going to Ebates.com first, and ended up getting $10.85 back.
- Big purchases. In 2015, we needed a snowblower for our new tractor. The total was $1649.99. I used Ebates and got $49.50 back from that purchase. In 2016, Josh got a kayak from Dick’s Sporting Goods for $349.98. We ordered it online (and went to Ebates.com first), picked it up at the store and got $21.00 back from that purchase. Big purchases + Ebates = BIG cash back!
- Hotels. We take mini-vacations a few times a year and end up staying at hotels. I usually use Priceline.com to book the hotel reservations because…well, I don’t really know why. I just do. It’s simple and I haven’t ever had a problem using them. But, I go to Ebates.com first then to Priceline.com and get a percentage of the total back. In January 2017, we stayed in a hotel, racking up a bill of $378.00. I used Ebates before booking and got $15.12 back.
- Glasses and Contacts. We buy our frames and lenses from Coastal.com and our contacts from Vision Direct as opposed to a brick and mortar store because we find the prices to be much more reasonable, especially since we end up paying out of pocket most times due to semi-sucky vision insurance (especially for people with horrible eyesight who need ridiculously strong prescriptions to be able to function). So, on top of the great prices (and great customer service), we get a percentage of each purchase back! In February 2016, I got new glasses from Coastal, paid $183.30 for frames and lenses and got $9.17 back from Ebates. In April 2017, we got Josh $66.40 worth of contacts from Vision Direct and we got $4.66 back from Ebates.