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Online shopping is awesome. It’s especially awesome this time of year for busy mamas trying to get their Christmas shopping done in the midst of the chaos of everyday life — not to mention trying to keep your kids from seeing what you’re buying for them! I remember the days when my oldest was an itty-bitty and I could totally sneak Christmas gifts into our cart without her noticing. Those days are long behind us now that she’s 9 and her little brother is 5.
Add in the fact that I also have some chronic health issues, and online shopping is pretty much ideal for me. I love it! I also love saving money. Raising a family is expensive, so I’m all over anything I can do to take it easy on our budget. I’ve found two services that help me earn and save money online, doing the shopping that I usually do anyway.
This is hands-down my favorite program because I get cash back. In the last year, I’ve earned just over $100! Ebates pays actual cash every quarter into my PayPal account (which I can use to pay online or transfer to my bank account for free). It’s super easy to use. You sign up for the program, install a little “E” into your toolbar and then click it any time you are getting ready to make a purchase online. (And if you aren’t super tech savvy, no worries. Ebates walks you right through it and you can easily have it installed within a couple of minutes!) Ebates works with so many stores and online vendors, that I seldom come across a retailer I’m buying from that isn’t partnered with them.
Here’s how it works: Ebates partners with online retailers. When you activate your Ebates’ rewards by clicking the little “E” in your toolbar before you pay for whatever you are purchasing, you earn a percentage back on your purchases (minus the shipping cost). Some places are low at 1 percent, but surprisingly, many go up to 10 percent or higher, especially this time of year. (And even those 1 percent earnings add up!) Ebates’ percentages tend to be higher during busy shopping seasons. I ordered some toys for my kids from Walmart last week and earned 5 percent cash back on them. I’ve seen Walmart at 10 percent back. Here are some of the offerings currently:
- Kohl’s: 6 percent
- Shutterfly: 2 percent
- Walmart: up to 10 percent (5 percent on toys right now)
- Carters: 5 percent
- eBay: up to 2 percent
- Macy’s: 10 percent
- Groupon: 6 perecnt
- TicketMaster: up to 5 percent
- Zulily: 5 percent
- Florists.com: 24 percent
- Blue Apron: $20 back
- Hello Fresh: $10 back
- Marriott: 12 percent
- Holiday Inn: 4 percent
I mean, seriously! That adds up quickly. I have had an issue once or twice where something I purchased didn’t get the cash back added to my account. Ebates’ customer service was super responsive and quick to correct the issue when I contacted them and had my order number handy. It’s only ever come up with Walmart.com, but I also order a lot of products from Walmart.com.
Hotels take some time to have the cash back added. The cash back is added to your account once the retailer confirms that you have paid for and received your item. This take some time with hotels, but it can add up quickly. For example, booking a stay at a Marriott right now for $150 a night for two nights would earn you $36! Ebates also offers coupons exclusive to its customers.
In the two years I’ve been a part of Ebates, I’ve earned a total of $153.39. My largest quarterly payout was $49.49. In the last year, my totals were more around $20 per quarter, which isn’t too shabby. It’s not a huge amount, but it comes in handy, and it’s money that comes to me for shopping online and doing exactly what I’d be doing anyway. It’s so easy to use that it seems silly to me not to. Even my smallest amounts earned add up quickly. It also doesn’t interfere with any promotions or rewards through specific retailers. Earlier this year, for example, I ordered a desk and some other large items from Kohl’s. I earned Kohl’s cash AND got my percentage from my Ebates.
To sweeten the deal just a little more, if you sign up through the links on my page, you’ll get $10 added to your account when you make your first purchase! Just click here or anywhere you see “Ebates” in this post.
My other favorite online money saving resource is Honey. Just like with Ebates, you sign up and then add the icon into your internet browser. When you get ready to check out at stores, Honey will pop up and ask if you want it to try coupon codes for you. I used to stop and search through a couple of sites looking for coupon codes. After I got Honey, I did the same thing and found that it had more codes than I could find. It’s saved me a few times with codes that have come in handy.
For stores that don’t have any coupons, Honey also offers points through their Honey Gold reward system. While it doesn’t work with quite a vast array of retailers as Ebates does to earn points, it works with most major ones and lets you earn points based on a percentage of your purchase. When you get to 1,000 points, you can redeem them for a gift card to retailers like Walmart, Target, eBay and Macy’s.
One other bonus to Honey over Ebates is that you don’t have to have a PayPal account. The rewards aren’t quite as high with Honey, but they are still pretty good. I truly use both every time I shop online, which is frequently!
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