Cut Costs w/ Cass Currie: I Gotta Ibotta!

bill_coins_184879In the last edition, I touched briefly on the subject of how to claim free money using the popular app Ibotta and promised to go into greater detail in a future issue. I’m here to keep my word, with an assortment of tips and tricks you can use to maximize your earning potential.

What’s Ibotta? To recap, Ibotta is an app where you “unlock” rebates on specific purchases. You can choose from several categories, including groceries, pharmacy, clothing, alcoholic beverages, cosmetics, specialty items, dining and “on the go” convenience stores.

Once you select a category, specific stores available in your region appear and you can choose the store you plan to visit. All items with rebates available will be displayed, and you can then “unlock” rebates for each item you wish to purchase. The amount of rebate varies for each item, ranging from 25 cents to up to a few dollars. There are rebates available for both brand name and generic (any brand) items.

When you get home from shopping, simply scan the barcodes on your eligible purchases, upload a photo of your receipt and funds will instantly be transferred to your account. Once you accumulate up to $20 in redeemed rebates, you can ask for the balance to be transferred to PayPal or to a gift card for leading retailers including Amazon.com & Walmart.

Asked to rate this app, I gave it a solid ten. Since late January of this year, I’ve redeemed over $135 in rebates, funds I consider found cash. My husband, however, ever the Devil’s Advocate, has asked me on more than one occasion if I’d have bought certain items if I didn’t have an Ibotta rebate? My response? Yes and no. Here’s two reasons I consider those purchases worth the cash.

First, in addition to my self confessed Ibotta addiction, I’m also an avid couponer, so much so that I used this year’s birthday Amazon.com credit to buy a coupon organizer. Prior to shopping, I browse the coupons available on my coupons.com app, then print those I can redeem for both the face value of the coupon plus an Ibotta rebate. That’s twice the savings, for the same product.

Want to triple or even quadruple the savings? Keep an eye on the sales circulars you get in the mail, and look for items on sale for which you also have a coupon plus an Ibotta rebate. Use other apps such as Checkout 51 and look for similar rebates. Don’t forget to scan your Walmart receipts into their Savings Catcher app, and take advantage of any applicable rebates available on store customer loyalty cards (such as Giant Eagle’s Advantage Card).

Second, on the subject of whether I’d have purchased certain items? I’ve found redeeming rebates for items I might not usually purchase has helped expand both my food and beverage horizons, introducing me to brands I might have overlooked or considered out of my price range.

I certainly caution restraint when redeeming Ibotta rebates or you could easily end up with a pantry full of salad dressing (guilty) and barbeque sauce (also guilty) it may take you a year to consume. With that in mind, Ibotta rebates are perfect for large families or groups who go through a lot of certain items. Feeling charitable? Designate a non-profit organization or cause and donate your Ibotta earnings via PayPal. Redeem your earnings for a gift card they can use to stock on needed supplies. The possibilities are incredible.

I’ll share more Ibotta tips, as well as ideas on how to save cash when shopping, as I uncover them. In the meantime, if you have money saving tricks you’d like to share with our readers, email therealcasscurrie@gmail.com. Until then, happy saving!