Use This: Cash Back Portals for Online Shopping

Next in this week's "Stretch" Your Spending series, we'll cover cash back portals to increase your value from online purchases.  This topic requires a longer explanation, but keep reading...It's worth it.

By using shopping portals, you'll earn back a percentage of your online purchase as a cash rebate.  T
he most common cash-back percentages I find are between 2-10%, although I once bought ink cartridges with a 17% rebate.  Simply, you should use these sites whenever you make an online purchase.  Over the past six months, I've made three withdrawals of $46.94 in rebates and currently have $44.06 in pending rebates.  Pennies saved become dollars to spend later

How it works
Instead of going directly to the merchant's website, you simply start off at your selected shopping portal, search for your store, and then follow their link to the merchant.  A few days after completing your purchase, your shopping portal account will display your purchase and your rebate will show as pending.  Purchases are tracked via cookies or some other Internet voodoo.

Mr Rebates is my favorite cash back rebate site because I've used it the longest, they have most stores, and I've made multiple withdrawals.  I also have Big Crumbs and Ebates accounts for the times those sites offer a higher percentage rebate.   

1) Using Mr. Rebates as an example, go to and register for an account.  
My top 3 shopping portals: 1) Mr Rebates, 2) Big Crumbs, and 3) Ultimate Rewards** 

2) Ensuring you're logged in, search for the online store (e.g., Target).  Note any listed coupons to use.

If you're into collecting frequent traveler miles and points, most airlines and hotels offer similar programs.  However, as of now, I'm focusing on cash back, so you'll have to research those options yourself or email me with questions if you want more information on those alternatives.

3) Click the store (e.g., Target) hyperlink, which will take you to your searched store.  

4) Make all your purchases in the new window that opens.  Within 3 days the rebate should post as pending to your account.  After 90 days, you can withdraw your rebates via check or paypal.  You never give credit card, banking, or other financial information to the shopping portal.

A few notes:

  • DOUBLE DIP: These rebates are separate from reward programs run by some sites.  For example, Wayfair has a rewards program (Wayfair Rewards) that gives you 3% of your order towards future purchases.  This Wayfair Rewards bonus is received in combination with the 3% rebate from Mr Rebates to provide you a total of 6% "back" (3% for future Wayfair purchases, 3% cash back rebate via portal).  Stretch away!
  • You can try and use coupons found elsewhere (e.g., Naughty Codes), but these will typically negate the cash back rebate.  I'll still usually try them and sometimes get lucky, like when I made my diapers purchase.
  • You'll typically earn rebates even when you choose "in-store pickup" on online purchases.  I'll use this option if I buy something from Home Depot or Best Buy.  
  • Check out cash back portals for every online purchase.  Even Groupon is currently offering 4% back.
  • I use evreward to compare rebate rates across different sites so that I use the portal with the best rebate rate.  Stores seem to change their rebate rates somewhat frequently.
  • If you use the Mr Rebates referral links in this post, your account will automatically start with $5 in your account upon registration.  I think the same goes for Ebates.  I will also get credit for referring you.***  

Mr. Rebates

*I'm finding myself using this term uncomfortably often.  I'm sorry.
**Ultimate Rewards can be used by some Chase credit card holders, notably those that have Chase Freedom or Sapphire Preferred credit cards.
***Caveat: Some links in this post, like those for Mr Rebates, are referral links that will compensate this site. I won't know who uses them, but appreciate them nonetheless.

1 comment:

  1. Use it to buy locally too. Before making a purchase at the local big box store (home depot, best buy, Wal-Mart, etc) go to Mr rebates, and when paying for your cart at said big box choose "pick up at store" You can then get a rebate, use your favorite coupon code and the product will be waiting for you at the service desk to be picked up. Routinely save 10 to 20% that way