My Top 15 Ways to Save Money, Earn Rewards, and Get Cash Back

Hey Readers!

I often get asked how I've been able to travel so much on a blogger's income. Because the truth is: the average blogger does not make a ton of money very quickly. It takes years of dedication, practice, lots of "brand deals", and loyal subscribers to live off of it full time. Most bloggers have other jobs, a working spouse, or get financial support from family in order to do what they love. In my desire to save money for my travels, I've discovered lots of ways to be as frugal as possible. What's my secret? Keep reading to find out!

Best apps to save money

*Disclaimer: This post may or may not contain affiliate links. Meaning, I could make a small commission if you make a purchase through links in this post, at no cost to you! You are simply supporting my job as a blogger and content creator. My views and opinions are never swayed. And I will only recommend places or products that I actually use, approve of, and love. I'm just here to help you find the best deals, earn bonuses, and save money!


1. Rakuten - App, Browser Extension, Website

Rakuten (Formerly known as eBates) is like a virtual shopping mall with access to over 2,000 stores. When a member clicks through the "shop now" links and places an order with a store, the store is able to see that the member came from Rakuten.comThe store then awards Rakuten a commission for the sale and passes along part of this commission on to its members in the form of cash back. (Similar to a rebate.) They make it really easy to use via their website, app, or browser plugin. Rakuten is completely free to use and you earn cash just by using it. It sounds like a win-win to me!


Use my link below and you'll get an extra $10 when you reach $25.

Rakuten Sign Up

Earn cash back with rakuten

2. Ibotta - App


With Ibotta, you earn rewards by submitting receipts with specific purchases, linking your loyalty accounts, or making mobile in-app purchases.


Here's how to submit receipts:

  • Download the Ibotta app and Sign Up for the rewards program.
  • Scroll through the hundreds of stores and featured offers, and add items to your list. (There are tons of specific products, as well as "any item" offers available.) I can assure you there is something on the list for everyone!
  • Buy the products you selected at participating stores, including Publix, Target, Costco, JoAnn Fabrics, Trader Joes, 7-11, Walmart, Whole Foods, Walgreens, and more!
  • Make sure you keep your receipt!
  • Then go into the Ibotta app and redeem your offers by taking photos of your receipt. Ibotta will match your items with the offers selected and will give you the cash! (It will usually be deposited into your Ibotta account within 48 hours.)
But if you link your loyalty card, store account, or phone number from participating stores with Ibotta, you can earn rewards quicker by not having to submit photos of the receipt. And similar to Rakuten, you can earn cashback by shopping online through the Ibotta app. 

Use the link below to join now and earn cash on everyday purchases!

Ibotta Sign Up or enter the code: arpacyh
Get cash back with Ibotta
3. Fetch Rewards - App

Fetch allows you to submit any grocery receipt and you earn rewards. Just shop for the products you already love, and if you have any participating brands on your receipt, you'll get points based on the cost of the products. You don't need to clip any coupons or scan individual barcodes. Just scan each grocery receipt after you shop and Fetch will find the savings for you.

There are also Special Offers, which are opportunities to earn bonus points. (On top of the regular points you earn every time you purchase a participating brand.) No need to pre-select these offers, they give you the points whether or not you knew about the offer!

The points you earn in Fetch can be redeemed for lots of different stores, restaurants, charities, and more.

Use the referral code, N7FPN, during signup and you'll get 2,000 Fetch Points just for starting.
Get rewards with Ibotta

4. Receipt Hog - App

Receipt Hog is similar to Fetch, because all you have to do is submit photos of your receipts. But with one major difference! Receipt Hog allows you to submit any receipt from most stores, restaurants, pharmacies, gas stations, and more. Just save any and all of your receipts from purchases you already do. Scanning receipts earn sweepstakes entries, slot spins, and coins, which can be redeemed for Amazon, Visa, or PayPal.


5. ReceiptPal - App


ReceiptPal allows you to scan your receipts for points, plus they are stored in one handy place, so you can keep track of your spending in a secure location. You can also connect your Amazon account to ReceiptPal and your receipts will automatically be added (and credited). 

Use my link to signup for ReceiptPal and get a bunch of bonus points too!



***QUICK TIP: I am usually able to submit the same receipt on multiple apps! They can sometimes get rejected if you did not shop at a particular store or buy a particular item, but most of the time I plan ahead and figure out which receipt will work for each app. With a little practice, you'll get the hang of it too.

6Shopkick - App


I've mentioned Shopkick a TON on my Instagram Stories. Out of all the apps on this list, it's probably the one I've had the longest, and the one I get asked about the most.


Shopkick gives you "kicks" (aka points) for just walking into stores, scanning barcodes of items in-store, submitting receipts on specific products, shopping online via their app, and by linking your credit/debit card with Shopkick. My favorite way to earn kicks, and the quickest and cheapest, is definitely to walk-in and scan barcodes. Why is it my favorite? Because it doesn't cost you anything! You don't have to buy stuff, just keep the app open on your phone, have your Bluetooth and location on, and walk into stores like Best Buy, Publix, Target, CVS, Marshalls, Carter's, T.J. Maxx, Ulta, Walmart, and more!


Once you're in the store, you can tap the "scans" section to scroll through the list of available categories. Find the item in-store, select the item in the app, and scan the barcode.

Plus they have 45 different rewards and gift cards that you can redeem your points for!


You'll get points toward a free gift card when you try it using my code DEAL151325 and for signing up using this Shopkick link.

Earn gift cards with Shopkick

7. Acheivement - App


To earn points with Acheivement, you connect your various fitness and health tracking apps. (Some featured apps: Fitbit, Garmin, Misfit, Withings, Apple Health, MapMyRun, MyFitnessPal, Samsung Health, Twitter, Strava, and more!) When you log or track your workouts, meals, weight, heart rate, etc, the data should automatically sync with Acheivement and you earn rewards! The points you collect by living a healthier lifestyle can then be redeemed for PayPal.


Sign up for Acheivement with this link and get a bonus of 250 points!


***QUICK TIP: Acheivement will also award you for health-related tweets on Twitter! Be sure to connect any and all apps you use to Acheivement to efficiently earn points.



8. Honey - Browser Extension

Honey is a free browser extension that unlocks the internet’s best deals. One-click and Honey automatically finds, tests, and applies the best coupon code at checkout on 40,000+ popular sites. (It even finds better prices on Amazon!) Thanks to Honey Gold, you can earn rewards just for shopping (even if there isn’t a deal). 

Join Honey today and start saving on your favorite online stores!


***QUICK TIP: I recently shopped for plane tickets by using Rakuten, got cashback from that, and simultaneously earned 801 points with Honey Gold as well! If you plan ahead and do some research, you can earn points/rewards from one purchase by combining some of my tips in this blog post! Adding the browser extensions is an easy and great way to do it!

9. Miles - App

I just started using Miles this week and I already love it! It delivers values for every mile traveled across every mode of transportation. Just download the app, sign up, and enable location services. It will automatically track your walk, run, bike, train, bus, boat, ride-share, carpool, and car travels. The miles you earn can be redeemed for travel experiences, health & beauty, household items, food & drinks, apparel & shoes, jewelry & accessories, gifts, and even auto-related items! Use this link to get 1,500 bonus miles! This will already put you at the Gold level and you can start redeeming miles for prizes right now!


10. Microsoft Rewards - Website, Browser Extension, App


Microsoft Rewards is a free program that rewards you for searching on Bing.com and buy things from the Microsoft Store online and in Windows 10. The Rewards Page, is where you can redeem your points for Starbucks, Sephora, Target, AMC Theatres, Regal, and Walmart gift cards. (The rewards options change daily! You can even redeem for sweepstakes entries or donate to participating charities.)

You earn points from searching on Bing using mobile and desktop sites, completing daily tasks, earning streak bonuses, participating in quizzes, tapping bonuses sent in emails from Microsoft, purchasing online from the Microsoft Store or through Windows 10.

Microsoft Rewards doesn’t ask for a commitment or fees. It’s included in your Microsoft account—just sign up, stay signed in, and go for it.

11. Amazon Deals - Website


When looking at the Amazon Home Page, there are a few tabs along the top half of the page below the search bar. Depending on your account and time of year, it would show Whole Foods, Deals, (or Black Friday Deals), Best Sellers, Your Amazon.com, Help, Coupons, etc. 


The tab you should definitely keep an eye on is the Deals! This is where Amazon has all of the current, upcoming, or missed deals featured on their site. I check it just about every day because it is constantly being updated! The categories along the left side make it easy to filter through the departments, price ranges, discount percentages, average reviews, and availability of the deals. If there is anything specific you're interested in, I highly recommend filtering through the results because there are usually 1000 items on sale every day on Amazon!


12. Amazon Assistant - Browser Extension, Google Play App

Amazon Assistant helps you discover Amazon products and compare prices with other sites. It will alert you when your package ships and delivers, has a shortcut to your order history and gives you easy access to today's deals. The browser extension also makes it really easy to add things to your lists on Amazon!



***QUICK TIP: I always have my Rakuten, Honey, Microsoft Rewards, and Amazon Assitant browser extensions running on my laptop browsers. It makes it easy to earn rewards and get the best prices while shopping and searching.

13. Target RedCard - Credit/Debit Card


I go to Target every single week! Not only do they have some of the best prices on my favorite products in-store, but I use the Target RedCard and get 5% off my total purchase every single time I shop in-store and online! If you regularly shop at Targรฉt then you should definitely sign up!

***QUICK TIP: Want to save a few cents and reduce the use of plastic? Take your reusable bags to Target! For every reusable bag you use while shopping at Target, you'll get 5 cents off your total purchase! Save the planet and save some cash in the process. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

14. Target Circle - Part of the Target App

Target Circle is the newer version of Target's Cartwheel. It's basically the same thing, but with a new feature and name. 

There are a few steps to redeem coupons/offers: 
  • Use the Target App to scan barcodes of items you're buying. (It may be more time consuming to scan all the items you have in the shopping cart at the store, but this is my go-to way to redeem and find offers.)
  • Scroll through available Target Circle Offers. (Ideally, I go through these before I head to the store.)
  • Be sure to add any qualifying saved offers to your account.
  • Then show your Target wallet barcode to the cashier to scan it
  • Or you can put in your phone number at the register. This is a fairly new feature added with the Target Circle update. Any available offer you added will reflect on your purchases. 
I highly recommend checking out the Target Circle offers in the Target app before your next #TargetRun! Like my previous tip about Amazon Deals, offers change daily and don't last forever.
How to save with Target Circle
15. Credit Cards that EARN

My last tip is to find other credit cards or store cards that earn you cashback, exclusive discounts, or rewards. There was a time when my Mom had over 20 rewards cards (not to be confused with credit cards) with the various stores she shopped at. Now, I'm not advising to do the same thing, because your wallet would be very heavy. Instead, be very selective with which store card you sign up with. Make sure its a store you regularly shop at! 


As for credit cards, you should be super selective with which one you use, and where! Since I shop so much on Amazon, I signed up for the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card because I get 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods. There's also 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores. And 1% back on all other purchases. (Plus when I signed up just before #PrimeDay, I got a $70 Amazon Gift Card as a thank you just for signing up!)

This is just one example, but there are tons of other credit card companies you may be interested in that can give you different rewards. Do some research and figure out which one is going to work best for you! Do you want to earn travel miles? Cash back? Discounts on gasoline? A certain percentage off at particular stores? Figure out which one has the terms that are most beneficial to you, read up on it, and apply if you like it!


***QUICK TIP: Rakuten also has a credit card that can get you cash back at tons of stores, in addition to their regular cash back offers on the website! You can find out more info on the Rakuten Visa here.

So those are my top 15 ways I save money, earn rewards, or get cash back on my purchases! I'm sure I'll come up with more tips later on... So stay tuned for that! 


And if you have any tips I may not have mentioned, please leave a comment below! I'm sure your tips can help someone else in search of savings.


xx

-Lala

P.S. It is now April 2020. We are in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. And since sharing this blog post in November, I've found a few more ways to earn more rewards! So here they are.

16. SwagBucks - Multiple Apps, Browser Extension, Website

SwagBucks is a popular rewards program that gives you free gift cards and cash for things you may already be doing online. Earn points when you shop at your favorite retailers, watch entertaining videos, search the web, answer surveys, and find great deals. Then redeem points for gift cards to your favorite retailers like Amazon and Walmart or get cash back from PayPal! It is, of course, free to use. And there are many different ways to earn.

Learn more about what SwagBucks offers on their website here!
And, to earn points even quicker, you can download the SwagButton for your browser here!

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