If You’re Not Getting Cash Back on Holiday Purchases, You Need to Do This

Photo by Dmitry Lobanov / Shutterstock.com

It’s the season of giving, and most of us would like to be generous. But if you’re not getting cash back when you’re shopping, you’re probably paying more than you need to for many of your purchases.

And that means one of two things is going on:

  • Either you’re not signed up with the cash-back portal Rakuten (previously known as Ebates).
  • You are signed up for Rakuten, but you forget to use it because you haven’t installed the browser extension (aka the Rakuten Cash Back Button) to remind you of opportunities to earn cash back.

We can help you remedy one or both oversights in just minutes.

Here’s how it works: Basically, cash-back portals like Rakuten earn a commission from retailers for referring online shoppers to those retailers’ websites, and then the portals pass some or all of that commission on to shoppers. You can get cash back shopping at some 2,500 retailers year-round by using Rakuten, but right now retailers are bumping up those bonuses for holiday shoppers.

How to sign up: It’s free to sign up with Rakuten, and it only takes a minute.

How to install the extension: The extension really is critical, at least for me. If it didn’t pop up to remind me each time I have a chance to earn cash back on a purchase, I would be leaving good money on the table. This link shows you how to install it and turn it on — again, for free and in just a couple of minutes.

Here’s an example of how I used it: On Thursday, I was looking for a mattress topper to improve our guest bed, a full-size futon, for holiday visitors. I located one I liked with good customer ratings and reviews. The MyPillow 3-inch foam mattress topper was on sale at Kohls.com for $221 (instead of the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $369.99). The retailer gave me an additional discount for using a promo code at checkout, making the mattress topper $177.59.

In addition, because I have the Rakuten extension, a reminder popped up on my screen informing me that I could get 3% cash back at Kohl’s that day. When I clicked on “Activate Cash Back,” Rakuten added $5.33 to my cash-back total, which I will later receive as a check. That brought my final price on the mattress to $172.26 before taxes. (Shipping was free.)

Now, $5.33 may not sound like much, but believe me, the cash back adds up when you use Rakuten regularly.

Many of the cash-back bonuses currently on offer are higher than the one I got from Kohl’s. As I write this, here are a few of the hundreds of cash-back offers I see on Rakuten:

  • Macy’s: 6% cash back
  • Walmart: Up to 10%
  • Shoes.com: 17%
  • Saks Fifth Avenue: 11%
  • Amazon.com: Up to 5%
  • Bed Bath & Beyond: 4%

With a little bit of cash back on each purchase, you can trim holiday costs and enjoy the season just a little more.

Do you use cash-back sites? Share your experience in comments below or on our Facebook page.

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