Rebate deals are nothing new – I get offers for them in my email every day, and you’ll often find them included with some purchases, especially electronics and appliances. In many cases, these are really great deals worth cashing in on, but sometimes you just don’t have the time to bother with them (especially if they require you to fill out a form and send a copy of your receipt in the mail). Thanks to the explosion in smartphone applications, there are a score of rebate platforms to help us take advantage of these deals by simply doing what we’d do anyway – play with our smartphones and shop for the products we use on a regular basis. Here are a few reasons I recommend the Ibotta application, if you haven’t already tried it.
Tip #1: Read the General Instructions First
Typical of my approach to many new things, I figured I’d learn on the fly. That’s why I really had no idea what I was doing the first time I used it. Don’t get me wrong – the app is extremely easy to use. I just got a little confused about the order of the steps, which vary based on which retailer you choose. In spite of my confusion, I managed to unlock $10.50 of rebates from my initial sign up ($10) and $.50 off one item I’d purchased that day (this would have been more if I’d planned ahead).
After reading the instructions, I realized the steps for each retailer are different. For instance, if there’s a “verify purchase” button next to their rebates, you’ll need to scan the actual items you’ve purchased and take a photo of your receipt (I experienced this with Fred Meyer). Other retailers like Wal-Mart and Best Buy have QR codes you can scan off the receipt, rather than scanning items. More convenient yet, purchases at Preferred Partners are verified through a linked loyalty card account (just make sure you scan your card at the register), and don’t require the receipt. It all depends on where you shop, and if you want to maximize the convenience of using Ibotta, it may determine where you shop. I imagine the number of preferred partners will steadily grow to include most major retailers with loyalty card programs.
Tip #2: Unlock Before Your Shop
Unlocking items before you shop is the best strategy, because they’ll appear in your ‘shopping list’ (which you can also add to manually, and let Ibotta search for rebates on those items). It’s also a good idea to get this done before you head out to the store because, in order to unlock the rebates, you’ll be required to perform what Ibotta refers to as a “fun activity,” but I would call consumer research and advertising. Sometimes you’ll be asked a question that identifies your demographic, or which stores you shop for particular products; other times you’ll need to watch a short commercial for the product you’re unlocking, or just acknowledge a new product within the brand. They’re painless, but better to do before you get to the store.
Tip #3: Verify Your Purchases Right Away
If you shop at a retailer that requires scanning the actual items to verify your purchases, do it right away when you get home before you accidentally throw a package away. You’ll also get your cash faster this way. Simply link your PayPal or Venmo account, or opt to load your rebates on a store gift card, and you’ll have your money in less than 48 hours.
Tip #4: Take Advantage of All the Rebate Categories
Ibotta currently partners with about 80 chains. If you search the listings, there aren’t just rebates for groceries, but general merchandise, automotive, electronics, craft supplies, pet products, and even popular nutrition brands. Keep these rebates in mind if you plan to shop for a more expensive item. Who wouldn’t want $10 off a GPS, or $20 off a vacuum?
Just think of how much you could save if you combined your efforts to shop the sales ad, use electronic coupons, and unlock Ibotta rebates? You might end up getting paid to purchase the items you love.
Have you ever used Ibotta? Other rebate apps? What’s your greatest savings to date?
Editor's Note: Did you know about the service called $5 meal plans? For $5 a month, they send you recipes of delicious, healthy, yet cheap food that costs just $5 a meal.
Several of my friends signed up and they are able to eat at home more because the instructions are easy to follow, making everything convenient. The deal also comes with grocery shopping lists, which saves them so much time. Check it out yourself by clicking here and you too may be able to save more and become healthier at the same time.