If you do any shopping online and you’re not using a cashback site, you’re flushing money down the toilet. It’s just that simple.
Let me give you the step-by-step journey on using these sites. When we’re done, you’ll save money whenever you shop online, and you’ll also pick up a free $10 Walmart gift card.
What’s a cashback site?
A cashback site offers rebates whenever you shop online. Cashback ranges from as little as 1 percent to as much as 40 percent, depending on the store. Not all stores offer rebates, but thousands do.
Getting started with a cashback site is simple. You sign up, then visit the site before shopping online. For example, if you want to shop online at Kohls, instead of going directly to Kohls.com, you’d start at the cashback site, click on the Kohl’s page, then start shopping. When you buy something, you’ll earn money back. Rebates are typically paid quarterly.
There’s no catch. Cashback sites simply get a commission from participating stores when you make a purchase, then share it with you.
Ready to get started? Let’s do it right now.
Step one: Sign up
Click this link, which will take you to the sign-up page of one of the oldest and most popular cash back sites, Ebates. Fill in your email address. That’s it: You don’t have to provide your name, bank or credit card info, and the process takes less time than it took to read this sentence.
You’ll also qualify for a $10 gift card from either Walmart or Ebates just for signing up. To claim it, all you have to do is buy $25 worth of stuff through Ebates within 90 days.
Step two: Use their tools
I signed up for Ebates years ago, but until recently, never used it. Why? Because I forgot all about it. To get cash back, you have to start your shopping at their site, and that’s something I’d never remember to do.
A few weeks ago, however, I did two things that changed everything.
The first thing I did was add the free Ebates browser plugin, so whenever I searched for something, I’d automatically see the savings. (You get it at the Ebates site and it only takes a few seconds to install.) Once it’s in your browser, every search result shows you the available rebate.
For example, here’s the results for a search for “clothes.”
As you can see, the Ebates plug-in tells me the stores that are offering cash back, and how much. I simply click on a link and I’m automatically getting cash back. Zero hassle, extra money. What’s not to like?
The second thing I did was to sign up for the Ebates daily double-cash-back email. After I did that, I started getting deals in my inbox every day. They’re usually stuff I’m not interested in — I’m not a big shopper — so I just delete them. But here’s an example of a recent email I responded to:
This caught my eye, not only because it was 32 percent cash back, but it’s something I actually needed: a new cartridge for my printer. I clicked on the “Shop Now” button, and it took me to the 123Inkjets site, automatically enabling me to get 32 percent cash back.
I found I could buy my cartridge for $6.99, before the rebate. After my 32 percent cash back, I was getting it for $4.75.
Good deal? To find out, I opened a new window, went to the Staples website, and found a similar cartridge for $24.99. So I was getting a $25 cartridge for $4.75. That’s a deal.
Important to note, however: The cartridge from 123Inkjets is a refill and the one from Staples is an original, so this isn’t exactly apples-to-apples. Still, saving 80 percent is sweet.
Why didn’t I do this before?
Like I said, I’ve known about Ebates and similar sites for years, but I never bothered to use them. I thought they were too complicated: wrong. I thought they were too much hassle: wrong. I thought the amount of money at stake wasn’t worth worrying about: wrong again.
If you’re not using a cash-back site, you’re wasting money. Take 5 seconds, click this link and stop pouring money down the drain.
By the way, we’ll make a little something when you sign up for Ebates. This doesn’t cost you a dime, and we’d never recommend anything we don’t actually believe in. But it’s cool when you can make a little something for talking about things you’d be talking about anyway, right?
Like this article? Then your friends will too! That’s why we have sharing buttons above and below it!
Read Next: 5 Little Tricks That Can Help You Save Cash
Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.