How to Get Cash Back on Everything You Buy

Photo by Petar Djordjevic / Shutterstock.com

It’s right about this time of year that I like to start reflecting on the past year and planning out my resolutions for the next. But really, I’m just trying to find something that I’ll actually stick with. This year I’m going with something new, a resolution that I can put on autopilot and won’t require me to do any work, but one that’s still going to have a meaningful effect on my wallet:

I’m not going to buy anything without getting cash back, and I’m not going to put in any effort to do it.

How? Here’s my two-part system to get cash back on everything I buy.

Part 1: Ebates

Ebates is one of our favorite ways to save money online. All you need to do is install their plugin in your web browser, which takes less than a minute. Then whenever you search, you’ll automatically be able to get cash back from any of 2,000 stores, including Amazon, eBay, Macy’s, Kohl’s, Walmart, Groupon, Nordstrom and Sephora. Click here for a full list.

The savings can be considerable. Right now, for example, they’re offering 5.5 percent cash back on clothing, jewelry, watches and “luxury beauty & grooming” at Amazon, and 6 percent cash back on a whole bunch of things at Nordstrom. (So I’ll be saving extra on a large portion of my remaining holiday shopping!) They also have regular special offers that pay out as much as 40 percent cash back if you catch them at the right time. Click here to see what’s on offer now.

The whole signup process takes less than a minute — all they want is your name and email address. Once it’s done, you can pretty much forget Ebates exists until they send you a check. Click here for more information or to sign up.

But the best part? Cash back from Ebates stacks on top of any cash back you get from your credit card. Which leads me the second part of my cash-back system:

Part 2: Fidelity Visa Signature Card

“Earn unlimited 2 percent cash back on every eligible net purchase, with no annual fee.”

That’s their simple pitch for this card, and it works. I’ve had one for years, since back when it was an American Express, which limited shopping options. But now that the card is a Visa, I use it all the time.

You’ll need to open a free Fidelity account for the automatic deposits of the 2 percent cash back, but once that’s done, this is the simplest way to save on absolutely everything you buy. There are no categories or tiers to wrestle with — just 2 percent cash back.

When I use this cash-back card and Ebates together, it really adds up. Instead of, say, 5.5 percent cash back on the gifts I’m buying for my wife, I end up getting 7.5 percent cash back with no effort at all.

So the plan is: Click here to sign up for Ebates, click here to sign up for the Fidelity Visa card, then relax for 2017.

I think this is a resolution I can stick with.

Bonus: Alternatives

If Ebates and Fidelity aren’t your cup of tea, check out Swagbucks and Honey, two other great ways to save when shopping online. (Swagbucks will also pay you to watch videos, play games or use their search engine.) Another great resource: Our full listing of credit cards, which lets you compare offers from a wide variety of issuers.

Are you using any of these techniques, or others, that could make your 2017 more profitable? Share them on our Facebook page!

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