Thrifty Thursday


Everyone is different when it comes to thriftiness. We all spend a little less on something because we’d like to spend a little more on something else.

For me, I’d rather keep driving my ten-year-old Toyota Corolla in order to travel to far and away places.

For me, thrift stores are generally not the answer. I have yet to find something at a thrift store that fits me correctly or that I like enough that after I buy it that it doesn’t sit in my closet. I mean, it’s not deal if I’m not wearing it, right? Other people swear by thrift stores.

Some strategies work for some people and others do not. I’m finding though, that the trick is learning about these strategies and them testing them out to see if they work for me.

For instance, I love these Two Kick-Ass Spending Tips from Budgets are $exy. I’ve already used the Stranger and Urgency tests several times. They work. For me.

But what if you could get money back on purchases that you normally make anyway?

Enter Ebates.

Maybe I’m late to the game here… Ebates has been around for quite some time. In fact, I opened up an account in 2000. I got my last check in 2003.

Then I forgot about it.

I’m really not sure what brought me back around. I think my husband learned about it a few weeks ago and I recalled that I had an account.

What is Ebates?

By signing up for a free account with Ebates, you will find thousands of coupons, promo codes and discounts across the web. But what I like the most about it is the Cash Back you get just for buying stuff online that you already do!

How does Ebates work?

Just create an account. Whenever you shop, be sure to go to Ebates and login to your account first. Then, find the store where you’d like to shop to see if it is on the list. You may find promotions and coupons, but there are also rebates for cash back from 1% up to 12%. All you have to do is click through to the store from the Ebates website. That’s it! You’ve earned cash-ola.

Ebates pays out quarterly, as long as you’ve earned more than $5 in the last three months. If you don’t earn $5.01, you don’t lose that money. It just carries over. In fact, I had $4.04 sitting in my account from 2003. Seriously.

You can have your “Big Fat Check” mailed directly to you, deposited in your Paypal account, or made out to any charity, organization or family member.

What stores can I find on Ebates?

There are hundreds (thousands?) of stores, many from which you already shop. Here are some of my favorites and their cash back percentages as of today:

  • Living Social – 6%
  • Groupon – 6%
  • Target – up to 2.5%
  • Amazon – up to 3%
  • Kohl’s – 6%
  • Barnes & Noble – 1%
  • Old Navy – 2%
  • Hotwire – 2%
  • Wal-Mart – 2%

Other stores on Ebates where we could have earned cash…

Here are some sites where we’ve spent a significant amount of money in the past ten years. We really missed the boat.

  • Air France – 1% – I bought our Honeymoon flights to Italy in 2010 through Air France because it had a better connecting time than on Delta, despite the fact that the first and longest leg was with Delta. We could also take a three-day layover in Paris through Air France. That would have been nice cash to have back!
  • AmazonLocal – 3% – Rob just spent $120 here and forgot to use the Ebates account. That little bit adds up!
  • eBags12%, Baby!! – Back in 2003, I bought a piece of luggage through eBags based on the reviews. I still use it as my main piece of luggage. 12% back is awesome.
  • TaxAct – 7.5% – We do our taxes through TaxAct every year. That’s some missed dough for the last ten!
  • Hotwire – 2% – We aren’t loyal to any one rental car company, so we always refer to Hotwire for awesome deals, like when we were in St. Augustine and L.A. We’ve also scored some great hotels in Chicago and Miami through Hotwire. Those purchases add up.
  • eBay – up to 1% – This is Rob’s store for everything!

We won’t be missing the boat on future purchases through these sites!

You can even shop around for one time purchases:

  • Gifts – Stuck on gift ideas? Browse the shops!
  • Pet Food – I used to pick up a specific 30-lb bag of dog food at a local pet food store. I hated carrying it! Now I get it delivered to my door, always get free shipping because a 30-lb bag of quality dog food is usually about $50. I also look for a coupon code before purchasing, too. There are several pet food stores on Ebates; so I just go with the one with the best deal for the brand I want to buy.

If you think all of this seems minimal, think again about all of the shopping you already do. Over the course of three months, won’t it add up to some extra change in your pocket? Then think about any of the shopping you normally do that you could be doing online, saving time, gas and earning cash back.

Then set your “Big Fat Check” aside for something special. Anything I get back will be set aside for travel. What will that be for you?

If you think you don’t need the extra cash, just think of the check you could send to a charity or a family member in need to brighten their day.

It costs nothing to join, so it’s worth signing up. Worst case scenario, you’ll just forget about it, like me. Then you’ll kick yourself later for all the missed cash back.

*Disclosure: I was not paid by Ebates to write this post; but the links to Ebates are my referral links for which I can receive credit. However, I would not recommend Ebates if I didn’t use it myself!

What Ebates stores do you shop and recommend?



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