Cashback rewards can range from a few cents to a few dollars, but every little bit counts if you’re trying to save money. Although most cashback offers are with one specific retailer, there are ways to increase the amount of your cash back rebate — and have more places where you earn it at the same time.
1) Sign up for multiple cashback programs.
2) Make sure you’re shopping online through the right website.
3) Use your credit card instead of debit when making purchases.
4) Cash in your rewards often.
5) Avoid buying gift cards to earn even more rewards.
Increase Your Cash Back Rewards With Multiple Programs
A lot of stores and restaurants offer cash back programs, but you can earn even more if you sign up with multiple companies. For example, when you purchase a Dell computer, you get three percent back; however, if also shop at Ebates for your household supplies and buy an HP computer at 1-800-Flowers (which offers 2 percent cash back), you’ll get five percent total back.
In some cases, you may not be able to find a store or restaurant that has its own cashback program, but you can still earn rewards through a third-party website like Ebates.com , BigCrumbs.com and MrRebates.com . These sites work with stores and restaurants to give you a percentage back on every purchase, even if the store doesn’t have its own program.
What Shopping Site Is Best?
If you’re buying something on an unfamiliar website, search for the company’s cashback policy first. Not all websites will give you cash back on certain items — or on purchases that come from certain countries. For example, Office Depot will only give you cash back if you buy from its own website or 800 number.
Online vs. Offline Rewards
Although it may be a little harder to earn rewards when you shop in person, some stores and restaurants offer a higher percentage of cashback for making purchases with their physical store card instead of their online store card. For example, if you make a purchase with the Target credit card at your local Target store, you’ll get five percent cash back; however, if you use the online version of the Target credit card, you only get one percent cashback.
Gift Cards and Rewards
Although many rewards programs offer cashback for gift cards, you’ll usually only get the full cashback amount if you spend more than double the value of the gift card. For example, if a $50 Barnes and Noble gift card has a five percent rebate offer, you’ll only earn $2.50 in cashback if you purchase it with your credit card and spend $100 before tax and shipping. However, if you purchase a $25 gift card and spend an additional $22.50 (for a total of $47.50), you’ll get the full five percent rebate.
Cash In Your Rewards Frequently
Having rewards that expire is like getting free money and then having to return it to the company because there was nothing left to keep. Many cash back rewards expire if you don’t use them within a certain period of time, so it’s important to remember when your rebates are set to expire — and plan accordingly.
For example, the Rewards Network offers two percent cash back on purchases with its Discover Prepaid MasterCard, but that rebate expires after just six months. If you don’t spend the cashback within 180 days of earning it, you lose it forever.
Avoid Gift Cards to Earn Even More Rewards
Some cards offer cash back rewards on gift card purchases, but these offers often come with restrictions and only apply to certain gift cards or retailers. For example, TopCashBack offers two percent back on gift card purchases, but you only earn the cashback if the purchase is made with an American Express card.
Cashback websites are a great way to save money on everyday expenses but don’t forget that most credit cards offer rewards on almost every type of transaction. For example, you can often get two percent or more back for dining out, buying gas, and making travel arrangements.
Cashback credit cards are another great way to earn rewards on your everyday expenses, but you’ll usually need a fairly good credit score to get approved for these types of cards . To start building your credit with cashback rewards, consider applying for an unsecured credit card, which does not require you to put down a security deposit.
In addition to cash back, some credit cards offer rebates on specific types of purchases — such as office supplies or airlines. If you have a favorite store or restaurant that you frequently visit, look into getting its own rewards credit card. You’ll usually need to meet the company’s identification requirements to get approved for these types of cards, and you’ll usually pay an annual fee — but you could easily make up for those costs with the discounts and cash back offers.