6 Effortless Ways to Make Money Whenever You Shop

Money flying out of laptop
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It sounds like a headline from Backwards Land. We’re used to spending money when we shop, not earning it.

But even after you’ve clipped coupons, hunted for bargains and sought out sales, there are still more ways to make money every time you go shopping. Leaving those deals on the table is like letting cash fly out of your pocket.

Here’s a list of ways your next shopping spree can beef up your bank account.

1. Join over 3 million members earning millions in rewards

From travel to take-out food, we’re used to earning rewards points when buying almost anything these days. And with a free shopping rewards app called Drop, you can get busy collecting additional points that you can redeem for gift cards to popular retailers such as Starbucks and Amazon.

It’s so simple to get started. Simply download the app, link your debit and credit card accounts, and pick merchants to shop at from Drop’s list. Start shopping, and you’ll earn Drop points for your purchases. And these are places you shop at anyway. Favorite stores such as Nike, Ulta and even Apple are included. You can also answer surveys and play games to keep earning points. Refer a friend, and you’ll both collect bonuses for using the app.

Drop points keep piling up, and when you’ve stacked up enough, cash them in for gift cards, and the shopping fun starts all over again. Shop till you … oh, wait, maybe that’s the point of the app name?

Get Drop now to start earning points at the places you shop every day.

2. Get up to 40% cash back — plus a free $30 bonus

You’re going to shop online anyway, so why not earn rewards while doing it? Rakuten has deals with literally thousands of stores, including Sephora, Walmart and Amazon.

Install the Rakuten browser extension, and when you’re shopping on those sites, Rakuten will nab coupon codes to save you money, plus give you cash back simply for shopping. You could earn as much as 40% back on a purchase— that’s a deal you shouldn’t pass up.

But maybe you’re a fan of in-person shopping. Just add a credit card to your Rakuten account and link the app’s in-store cash-back offers to your card. Then just use your card when shopping at select stores and watch the money pile up.

And don’t miss the various bonuses you can collect. You’ll get a $30 welcome bonus when you sign up as a new member using our referral link and spend $30 within 90 days of joining. And if you refer a friend to Rakuten and they also shop there, you’ll each collect a $30 bonus — spread the word to your entire friend group, and then tell them the next round of drinks is on you.

So if you’re ready to claim your free account, plus your free $30 bonus, plus free cash back when you shop, join Rakuten now.

3. Earn points, free flights and hotel rooms

There are hundreds of credit cards out there. So why do so many of us just stick with the one we stumbled upon randomly years ago? Is that old standby rewarding you in any way, or did it just seem easier to keep on with the old familiar? It’s time to switch to a credit card that rewards you every time you shop.

Help yourself save by comparing and choosing from the featured credit cards on this list, all of which help you earn cash and even travel rewards just for shopping as you normally do. You can even start off with a bang — some cards offer generous upfront bonuses. Really, if that old credit card isn’t earning its keep, does it still deserve a place in your wallet or purse?

With the right credit card, you can earn cash back, free flights and discounts on everything from restaurants to hotels to services.

So if you’re in the market for a new credit card, check out these top rewards credit cards now.

4. Save $150 a year on groceries and other purchases

Remember the old days of saving receipts and peeling off labels, hoping you’ll be able to find all the various parts once you’ve acquired all the elements to mail in for a rebate? Those days are gone.

A free cashback rewards app called Ibotta takes all the hard work out of the rebate rat race, plus it offers other ways to save. The app uses your phone camera to snap photos of grocery receipts to submit for deals — much easier than finding an envelope and a stamp.

You also can browse the app and add deals on products you’re going to buy anyway. Sign up for online grocery pickup or delivery and earn cash back when you shop that way. And you can also use Ibotta as a browser extension, meaning you load it on your computer and as you shop online, it points out ways Ibotta can help you save. And it’s all worth it: The average Ibotta user saves $150 a year.

In fact, Ibotta has paid out over $1 billion in cash rewards to more than 35 million users since its founding in 2012.

Ready to save on groceries, online purchases, deliveries and more? Sign up for Ibotta and start saving.

5. Invest your spare change automatically

Want to invest but don’t have a lot of cash to spare? Sit back and let a micro-investing app called Acorns help you save and invest your spare change automatically.

As you go about your day, Acorns rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and invests the difference automatically. So, let’s say you spend $10.25 at the supermarket — the app will take the 75 cents from rounding that purchase price up to $11 and transfer it to your Acorns account. Then, Acorns will get to work and invest your 75 cents in savings into a diversified portfolio.

With just your phone and a few bucks a month, you can earn more and save for more retirement. Plus, there’s no minimum investment to get started, and the app will do the heavy lifting for you.

Join more than 9 million people who have saved and invested with Acorns. Get started today.

6. Automatically apply the best coupon codes

Online coupons sound great, but often involve complicated codes, or don’t make it clear which deal is the best for you.

Honey swoops in and takes the guesswork out of online couponing. Load the free Honey extension into your browser, and it’s like your extreme couponer friend is guiding you to the best deals for exactly what you’re buying. Honey will try a variety of coupon codes and show you which one is going to save you the most. And when you’re away from your computer, take Honey with you via the app.

Want more? You also can earn Honey Gold rewards simply for shopping, and then redeem those rewards for gift cards to your favorite stores. And Honey has multiple ways to get you the best price. It can display a chart of how a product’s price has gone up and down lately, so you can see how prices are trending.

Need a better deal on a coveted item? You can add items to Honey’s Droplist, and it will proactively notify you when the price drops. And since we all shop at Amazon these days, another feature compares prices from different Amazon sellers and helps you find the lowest. If you simply turn around and spend those savings at Amazon again, shh, no one will know.

Bottom line? If you like saving time and money, add the Honey browser extension.

Bonus: Get smarter with your money in just five minutes

You get it. This is the time to sock away money, to save more, to get your finances in order.

But you also get that it’s not always easy. If there were just one easy thing you could do, every day, to move the needle, to get ahead of the game, you’d do it, right?

Well, here it is: Take five minutes every day and check out the totally free Money Talks Newsletter. More than a million Americans have, and they’ve reported saving an average of $991.20 each by checking our news and advice.

If you want the best tips and strategies to help you make more and spend less, delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our free newsletter today.

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