With Thanksgiving coming up in a week, it’s about to be that time of year, when advertisements turn from politics to shopping.
One of my major rules for shopping on the internet is never to buy anything without getting something back for it, although that rule is increasingly beginning to apply to brick and mortar stores, as well. Here are a few ways that you can earn some cash back, some of which I have discussed before, some of which are new.*
Online Shopping Sites
Buying stuff online? Be sure to do so through one of these online shopping sites. You can get either miles or cash back, although the cash is probably worth a bit more than the miles. You’ve probably heard of Ebates (also listed through that link), but there are others that are even better.
It’s simple. Just go through one of the listed portals to access whatever merchant you are shopping at. They’ll link you right to the store’s website and the store gives them a commission for doing so, which they share with you. In other words, you can go directly to the company’s website and earn nothing, or access it through one of the above sites and get something back. Which sounds better?
Note: There are about a million of these shopping portals, almost all of which can get you rebates at just about any store you can think of (with one big exception; Amazon doesn’t participate in most of these programs, although there is a way around that, as well). But if you want a good one that works consistently, my favorite is Mr. Rebates.
And, possibly the best of the cashback shopping programs is Amazon Smile. You get nothing from Amazon Smile, but every time you shop there, they donate 0.5% of the total amount to a charity of your choice.
Amazon is one of the most popular merchants in the world and they don’t participate with many other cash back programs, so this is a good way to do well by doing good.
Last on the list is Earny. Earny is a bit different and has potentially the biggest upside for money back.
Many retailers and credit cards have policies that, if you spot a lower price within a certain period of time, they’ll give you the difference. The problem is that nobody wants to take the time to look for it. Earny does the work for you. It tracks your purchases, looking for a lower price, either at the same store or a competitor. If it finds one, it applies for the rebate on your behalf and automatically credits the card you used to make the purchase. You don’t have to do anything. It keeps 25% of the refund as a fee. Truthfully, I had completely forgotten that I had ever signed up for it until last week, when I got an email alerting me to a $90 price adjustment on a $275 purchase. that I had made a few days earlier.
Earny will rebate you in one of two situations:
Retailer Price Protection
Retail protection takes advantage of price match guarantees offered by the retailers themselves. The above retailers offer to match lower prices so, for the first 30 days after your purchase, regardless of which credit card you use, Earny will do the searching for you at the above merchants. I’m pretty sure that that’s how I got my refund.
Credit Card Protection
Credit Card Protection is a bit more robust and is based on the policies of the card issuers themselves, many of whom also offer price protection. You are covered for 90 days if you use a participating card and shop at a participating store. Participating credit cards are all Citibank cards, as well as MasterCards from Capital One, US Bank, Barclays, Bank of America and First Premier Bank and select Visas. The covered stores are listed above.
As you can imagine, the company is pretty particular about security, and their policy is here. Here’s a hint: If you don’t want to share your email info with them, establish a second email just for Earny. For example, if your email is email@example.com, sign up for an account with the email firstname.lastname@example.org. Problem solved.
Earny is a referral website, and I really appreciate it if you use my link to sign up. Feel free to add your own link in the comments.
The Bottom Line
There are a ton of opportunities either to earn cash or help a charity with your holiday shopping. Be sure to take advantage of them.
*Some of these links are referral links and I may get something if you sign up. I really appreciate it and you will likely also get a sign-up bonus. Per my policy, if I know of a method to get you a larger sign-up bonus, I will do so, even if it’s not a referral link. It’s all part of the service around here.
Want to subscribe? Just enter your email in the box above (and to the right) and click on the confirmation. GMailers, check your Social or Promotions boxes!
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And finally, you can apply for credit cards through the Credit Cards for Charity link above. All card proceeds are donated to charity, so please do well by doing good!