Ever since graduating from college three years ago, my husband and I have been working tirelessly at paying back our student loans. We’re always searching for ways to lower our expenses so we can pay off our loans faster. We’ve become experts at using coupons and watching for sales. We are careful budgeters and buy second hand when possible. A few years ago I added another powerful savings tool to my arsenal. That tool is Ebates. If you haven’t heard of it before, I think you will be excited to learn more.
What is Ebates?
Ebates is a company that gives you cash back when you use links on their website to go to a store and make a purchase. Ebates has links to 1,700 online merchants. Cash-back can be up to 40% of your purchase.
You may be wondering if this is a scam and why they would pay you to shop. I can assure you it’s not a scam. Ebates is an affiliate company. Online merchants pay them a commission every time they send you to their website. They then shares that commission with its users which is how it is able to give you cash back for shopping. As someone who earns money with affiliate marketing, I understand this concept well.
How to Use Ebates
Ebates is very easy to use. First you need to sign up for a free account and then you are ready to start shopping. Use their search bar on the far right on the green ribbon to find a store or you can use their “Select a store” drop down. Here’s what you get when you search for Amazon, which is typically just on their home page. You might be able to see my pending cash back, which is $246.40. That is from this year alone!
It looks like you get up to 7% cash back when you make a purchase at Amazon (my favorite). Click the red shop now button to go to Amazon and a new window will open up with the Amazon website. Make sure to use this window to make your purchase as it has the tracking code that Ebates will use to track your purchase.
Once you make your purchase, Ebates will credit your account for the given cash back percentage. It usually takes a few days so you have to be a little patient. Ebates members receive their cash-back in the form of a check or a Paypal payment once per quarter. You must have at least $10 in your account to receive a payment.
[box type=”info” align=”aligncenter” ]Ebates actually has a browser button to earn you cash back without logging into their site. All you have to do is add the button to your browser, then you will be notified when a store you are shopping is an Ebates merchant. So easy![/box]
My Experience Using Ebates
I’ve saved more than $300 since I became a member nearly three years ago. That’s a lot of money. Their website is very user friendly. I can always find the stores I’m looking for quickly and easily. The cash back usually gets to my account within a few days and sometimes even within a few hours.
I try to use Ebates for as much of my online shopping needs as possible. Over the years, we’ve bought clothing, shoes, office supplies, gifts, and wedding presents using Ebates. I even use Ebates to purchase Living Social deals and Groupons. Talk about great savings! Ebates helps us save a lot of money.
I’ve had two issues since opening my Ebates account. In both cases, my cash back was not credited to my account. To get help from them, I filled out their online help ticket form under the help section of their website. Ebates responded to my ticket within 24 hours and the issues were solved. It’s hard to beat customer service like this.
Ebates Pro User Tips
I’ve learned a few things about the program since becoming a member three years ago. Here are my tips for making the most out of your Ebates membership:
- Promotions – Ebates will occasionally have promotions where they’ll increase the cash back for certain stores. They will do this especially around the holidays. Black Friday is when they hands- down offer the biggest promotions. So if you can save some shopping until a holiday, you could earn even more cash back.
- The Triple Play – When I shop I try to get the best deal possible. That’s how we keep our budget manageable and accelerate our student loan payments. I always try to use three things when I purchase something online: a cash-back Ebate, a coupon, and I try to score free shipping. It isn’t always possible to get everything, but I will make my best effort to strategize. Coupons and Ebates add up quickly to big savings.
The Verdict on Ebates
If you’re looking for a way to save money on purchases consider using Ebates. Ebates is free and it really works. I’ve been a very happy user of Ebates for the last three years. The great customer service combined with the wide selection of stores to shop from makes Ebates a great savings tool for anyone to utilize.
Do you currently use Ebates?
Do You Know Your Credit Score?
Even if you don’t plan on getting a loan, a good credit score can affect your ability to get a job, a place to live, and will save you money whenever you need to borrow. If you don’t know your credit score, you can get yours free at Credit Sesame. It’s 100% free with no credit card required to signup. I’ve been using it for years to monitor my credit score.