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4 Surprising Ways to Get Money Back

Do you remember discounts? For example, to save $ 20 for a new monitor, you had to fill out a form (sometimes more than one), cut out a UPC, email everything, wait 8 to 12 weeks, and maybe hope for that. Only maybe this discount check will show up ,

The horror. The horror.

Nowadays, discounts are much easier to get – unless the language has changed a bit. Now it's called "Cash Back" and is almost completely automated. In fact so automated that it almost seems too good to be true.

Good news: That's not true. By using one or more cash back services, you can save money and / or earn rewards. Let's look at the different options you need for much of your online shopping and other purchases.

Cash Back Credit Cards


Use cash-back credit card to double purchases to save on rebate.


I will not spend much time here except to say that if you do not use a cash back card, you literally throw away money. This is the easiest and easiest way to regain a percentage of just about anything you buy.

Suppose you use a card that gives you a point for every dollar you spend. In most cases you can redeem these points for travel, goods, services or similar. You can also convert them into "cash", which is usually done as a bank statement. You will not receive any checks in the mail, but you will get credits to your account, which is about the same. It's money, but you decide.

When looking for a cash back card, look for the percentages you get back – and the annual fees. For example, there is the Uber Visa Card which pays you 4% on restaurants and bars, 3% on hotels and airfares, 2% on online purchases (including Uber rides) and 1% on everything else become . There is no annual fee.

These points may not sound like much, but they add up. Let's say your monthly credit card bill is $ 2,000. Suppose you always pay it in full and get back only one percent. That's $ 20 more in your pocket every month – or $ 240 a year. To do nothing.

Payback for online purchases


Often cash-back specials are executed at higher rates than usual. in some shops only the 3x multiplier.

Screenshot by Rick Broida / CNET

Here is a hypothesis: you need a new refrigerator. You research, find a model that you like, and then search online for the lowest price for this model. It turned out to be JCPenney.

Then remember the wise advice of a Mr. Broida and go to the Ebates cash back service, where you find that you get 3 percent off your purchases from JCPenney. So click on Ebates through the JCPenney store and order your fridge as usual.

Not long after, you will receive $ 51.42 in credit. After that, you will receive a check (or a PayPal deposit). For almost nothing to do.

Full disclosure: That was not a hypothesis. It happened to me. And that's why I've been committed to online cash back services for years. They are easy to use and have no conditions. (I think there is a string: they collect data on where you shop and what you buy, some people bother about it, I'm not.)

Over time, I've got back hundreds of dollars, which I otherwise would have expired. Small purchases here, great there. It adds up.

Here are three services I should check out:

  • BeFrugal: The BeFrugal is a one-stop discount destination, offering not only cash back, but also printable food and restaurant coupons and a listing the daily offers.
  • Ebates: Ebates, which is owned by Rakuten, is arguably the best-known service of its kind – but it does not always have the best prices. (Like anything, it's worth looking around.) I say the browser plug-in makes it easy for me to check if there's a cash back option for every store, and its mobile apps now support the mobile Shopping. (Many, if not most, cashback services require a desktop browser.) Every 90 days, the service pays out your discounts (ebates) in the form of a check or PayPal deposit.
  • Honey Gold: Built around a browser plug-in that also includes discount codes at the checkout pages of the store and tracks Amazon price cuts Honey Gold works a bit differently. "Every reward is a surprise," it says, the cash back percentage is in an area you can only perceive after the purchase. For example, it could be 1 to 5 percent on Ebay, 1 to 10 percent on Walmart, and so on. This is not a direct cashback. Points can only be redeemed for gift cards and only about a dozen stores. Only use Honey Gold if you can not find a cash back option from any of the other services.


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One important thing to keep in mind: If you're using one of these tools in a desktop browser, you may want to disable the ad blocker you're using – at least for the service itself and the store you're visiting. Using an ad blocker can interfere with required tracking, which means you will not receive any money.

Cash Back Services for Credit Card Purchases

A growing number of services provide a computer-free way to earn cashback. By linking your credit card, you can achieve these additional savings simply by making purchases as usual. Just go to restaurants, book hotels and shop as usual and presto: cash back. And yes, they also work if you already get money back from the card provider. Double-dip, anyone?

The only drawback is that you do not get rewards everywhere, but only from businesses participating in the program. You may need to do a little forerun. Dosh-and-yelp "data-original =" https://cnet4.cbsistatic.com/img/r5-zOsgE2OdarmeN7EXDbVy5BnY=/724×0/2018/12/17/ add682b3-430a-4882-9dbf-8331b5c06824 / dosh-and- yelp.jpg “/>

Dosh and Yelp Cash Back link to your credit card to automatically earn additional savings from participating stores, restaurants and services.

Screenshot by Rick Broida / CNET

Here are three of these services that I've tried and definitely recommend.

  • Dosh: Dosh, founded in 2017, has become one of my favorite cashback services. Simply link one or more credit cards to your account and then browse through the available offers. At the time of printing, these were various local companies, national chains (eg 2% at Sam's Club) and online shops (8% at Sephora). Payouts may be donated to charity or forwarded directly to your bank or PayPal account.
  • Drop: Similar to Dosh, but with a gift card point system instead of cash. Drop works in combination of current and one-time offers. You can choose up to five "Favorites" to earn points each time you shop, such as Starbucks, Walmart, Whole Foods and Uber. One-time offers include offers such as "Subscribe to Hulu, earn 25,000 points" and "20 points per dollar spent at Apple." In general, I do not like this kind of structure, but it's so easy to automatically earn points (and thus rewards) when shopping at your favorite stores. They are crazy not to use drop.
  • Yelp Cash Back: I would call it the "Dosh for Restaurants" because it works in a similar way: linking a credit card, eating out at selected restaurants, earning cash. Unfortunately, a single credit card can not be linked to both Dosh and Yelp, as both use the e-commerce company Empyr for the actual payments. And that explains why I've found a big overlap, both in restaurants and in cash back percentages. As a result, using Dosh can save you more overall, but if you focus on dining, Yelp Cash Back is certainly worth a look.

If you do not like to give your credit card number (s) for such services I can understand that. I will only notice that your numbers are encrypted. All credit cards have safeguards to protect you from fraud. And if you remember that your card is already deposited in any number of shops and services, what more, especially if there is money for you?

Cash Back Services After Purchase

There is one last chance to dive into the cash register. After-sale services offer subsequent discounts – usually by inspecting your receipts. (And if this concerns data privacy, I'm kind of surprised you even made it this far, but keep reading.

Let's look at three noteworthy refund options without you having to lift a finger.

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You can use an app like Receipt Hog to convert your receipts into cash (or gift cards).

Receipt Hog

  • Paribus: Many online stores offer price adjustment and purchase protection. So if you buy something and then the price drops, you can refund the difference. Paribus will track your purchases and contact Customer Support on your behalf if a lower price is found to receive this refund. Use of the service is free, but you must monitor your emails to automatically find receipts. Fortunately, there is this great disclaimer in advance: "We do not sell or share your information with third parties."
  • Receipt Hog: Would you like to share your paper receipts with you for market research purposes? If not, scan it with Receipt Hog. With each of these networks you can redeem coins for cash or gift cards. You can also earn coins by taking surveys, connecting email and Amazon accounts and playing the "pig slots". Honestly, I do not love this app, especially because it requires unrestricted site access. There are similar apps like ReceiptPal that can work with electronic receipts. Nevertheless, I find it too much work for too little reward. But it's another form of cash back and therefore worth mentioning.
  • Walmart Savings Catcher: If you're a Walmart regular and use Walmart Pay, it's kind of a breeze. Simply send your e-receipts via the Walmart app. Savings Catcher compares your purchases with the prices quoted by local competitors. If it finds a lower value, you will receive the difference in the form of a Walmart gift card.

If you are wondering why I did not include the popular Ibotta in this story, this is because the app requires a fair app to jump a bit. For example, to receive money for grocery shopping, you must obtain quotes before you shop, and then remember to reprint your receipt. And to take advantage of offers, you need to answer questions about your household, education, etc. With Ibotta you can definitely save money, it just takes more effort.

There are also many other tools and services that I have not covered here. If you use one of them and think that it deserves a mention, be sure to do so in the comments!

The Cheapskate: Get your daily dose of offers from CNET's resident discount finder. CNET Magazine : Take a look at a selection of the stories you'll find in CNET's newspaper edition.

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