Cash back for shopping online

If you are at this site, you’re visiting either because A) I begged you to do so or B) you’re interested in learning about frequent flyer miles.  Possibly both.

One of the methods I mentioned to earn miles was shopping through the airline sites.  But there’s one thing that’s better than miles: cash.

Cash is generally king.  It’s hard to put a value on miles, but I generally consider them to be worth 1-2c per mile (although they can be worth significantly more if you use them for premium tickets).  On the other hand, most cash back shopping sites pay up to 50% back for purchases, although the vast majority of orders give you back 5-15%.  It works the same was as the airline sites, although the cash back sites are much easier to navigate than the airlines’ sites.

Here’s how it works: Sign up at a cash back shopping site (I’m recommending a few below.) and do a search for what you want to buy.  When you shop through their site, you get cash back.  Simple.  Want to buy something at Macy’s?  Get back up to 6%.  Under Armour?  8%.  FTD?  20%.  You get the impression.  With only one major exception (Amazon), you can get cash back for just about any store you can think of.

Example: You need to do a little shopping at Nordstrom.  If you went to Nordstrom’s site directly, you’d get nothing back.  But if you go to my favorite cash back site, Mr. Rebates, you’ll get 7% back.  Simply go to the site, type “Nordstrom” in the search box and then click on the little box.  It will take you to the Nordstrom site and credit you 7% on any shopping you do.  And that’s it.

[warning]Word of warning: Before using any of these sites, be sure to clear your cookies, which is a simple way to get rid of all the bits of data that previous sites have left on your computer.  I do it each time I access the sites, just in case.[/warning]

There are literally dozens of cash back shopping sites out there, but here are four of my favorites.  Please note: I may get something for referring you to the site, which could be a few dollars or a fraction of a percent of what you spend.  Anything I get comes from the company, not your cash back, so I appreciate it if you use my links.  Thank you!

Mr. Rebates is my favorite cash back site.  It is the easiest to navigate, pays back more than most others and has excellent customer service.  You can cash out every month.  I often use them in lieu of other sites that pay a few percent more but aren’t as consistent.

Big Crumbs is my other favorite site.  The site is also easy to navigate, the rebates are good and customer service is good.  Every once in a while, I have a rebate that doesn’t get tracked, but if I email them, they always credit my account quickly.  It takes up to 60 days before you can cash out. is the best-known cash back site.  It’s a high quality site, but the others often have slightly higher commissions.  Ebates pays once per quarter.

Finally, there’s  TCB is almost always among the highest paying, but purchases often don’t track (meaning the site doesn’t record your click-thru and you don’t get credit) and take up to 90 days before they post to your account.  If you’re willing to track purchases diligently, you can make money here, but I’d recommend one of the first two sites that I listed, even if they pay a slightly lower amount.

And that’s it!  For those of you who prefer cash to miles, your holiday shopping just got a little more lucrative.


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  1. […]  The virtual cash back shopping sites do.  A longer explanation can be found at my sister site, Frequent Flyer Miles 101.  Note that you can get cash back through these shopping sites for just about anything you buy on […]

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