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We love using rewards credit cards for our spending and bills since doing so lets us rack up points and miles for travel. By paying for purchases with a travel credit card, we have been able to earn tens of thousands of dollars in welcome bonuses and thousands more in travel rewards for our everyday purchases.
And, as we commonly tell people, you could easily be doing this, too!
Warning: Using rewards credit cards only makes sense if you’re willing and able to pay your credit card bill in full each month. Otherwise, the interest that accrues on purchases is way more than enough to wipe out any rewards earned.
But, did you know there’s another step you can take to boost the cash back you earn on top of your credit card rewards? With a free account from Ibotta, you can earn even more cash back on everything you buy, which is entirely separate from the points and miles you earn with a rewards card.
If you are hoping to boost your cash back this year, using Ibotta is a no-brainer. Read on to learn how Ibotta works and the best ways to maximize this must-have rewards tool.
My Favorite Tool: The Ibotta Browser Extension
Because I sit at my computer for work all day, I do most of my shopping on my laptop instead of my phone. To that end, I mostly rely on the Ibotta browser extension to find out when I can earn more cash back on my purchases, as well as where.
The Ibotta browser extension is especially helpful because it will show a pop-up that informs you each time you visit a site that offers cash back. For example, I popped over to OldNavy.com this morning to see if they had any bathing suits on clearance. You can see in the screenshot below that a pop-up showed me how much cash back I could earn and inquired if I wanted to activate the offer. Of course I did!
While the browser extension offers a helpful nudge each time you visit a participating store, you can also head to Ibotta.com before you shop to see a list of participating stores and all their current offers. If you prefer to browse on your phone, download their free app to peruse there too. At the moment, Ibotta lets you earn cash back at 2,000+ websites for essentials, clothing, electronics, home goods and even travel. You can also earn on grocery pickup and delivery.
The easy thing about Ibotta is that, once you find an offer you want to take advantage of, all you have to do is click on the offer and activate it.
As an example, the current offer (as of this writing) from Ulta is 2% back. Once you find that offer on Ibotta.com, you just have to click on “Activate & Shop.”
Once you activate an offer, it’s automatically applied to your cart. However, you should also take the time to read the fine print on each individual cash back offer. With this one, for example, you’ll get your cash back in 7 days and the maximum amount of cash back you can earn is limited to $100 per purchase.
As I already mentioned, you’ll also earn this cash back on top of the rewards you earn with a credit card.
Earning Cash Back On Groceries
Another reason I love Ibotta is how easy they make it to earn rewards on grocery delivery and pickup, which is how I get groceries already. I absolutely hate going to the store, so I usually use Instacart, Shipt, or Walmart grocery pickup.
Ibotta lets you earn cash back with each of these grocery services, as well as with Target, Thrive Market, Von’s and more. However, the way you earn rewards on groceries is slightly different. When you choose where you want to order groceries from, you’ll actually click on individual items and offers and add them to your account before you shop.
For example, you might be able to earn $1 back on Ritz Crackers, $.50 in cash back on Kraft Singles, $2 in rewards on Sensodyne toothpaste and more.
From there, all you have to do is link your grocery order account with Ibotta for the cash back to be automatically added to your account.
Conversely, you can also use Ibotta to shop for groceries in the store. In most cases, you can even link your Ibotta account to your store loyalty account in order to make your rewards automatic. If not, you can scan your receipt after you shop.
What’s extra nice is that you can use the cash back balance in your Ibotta account to pay for items that hardly ever go on sale or have coupons. You are really putting your cash back to work!
Redeeming Cash Back Rewards is a Breeze
Finally, I love the fact that Ibotta doesn’t make you jump through crazy hoops to get your cash back. Once you have reached $20 in earnings, you can redeem your Ibotta cash back for transfers to PayPal, directly to your bank account or for gift cards.
I personally move all my cash back to my PayPal account because I frequently use PayPal when I shop online. Either way, the entire process is easy and fast. When you transfer your cash back to PayPal, you’ll see your cash back rewards show up in minutes.
How to Maximize Cash Back with Ibotta
If you’re wondering how to get the most out of Ibotta, your first step is signing up for a free account. Fortunately, doing so is easy. All you have to do is share your name and some personal information and you’re good to go. If you plan to use Ibotta on your mobile device, you’ll also want to download the app.
Maximizing this tool is a breeze from here, although the following tips can help:
- Download the browser extension for Chrome or Firefox. Make sure you download the browser extension since this helps Ibotta alert you any time you’re shopping on a site that offers cash back. With the browser extension working on your behalf, you won’t miss out on cash back rewards you didn’t know about.
- Link your store loyalty cards. If you can link your Ibotta account to a store account or loyalty account, take the steps to do so. This will help ensure more of your cash back is earned automatically.
- Frequently check back for new stores and deals. Make sure to check with Ibotta for new stores and deals, keeping in mind that offers through the app change all the time.
- Pay with the right rewards credit card. Also make sure you’re paying for your purchases with a credit card that offers rewards, whether you prefer to earn cash back or points for travel. This will help you maximize your rewards for each dollar you spend.
- Stack Ibotta cash back with coupons and discount codes. Also remember that using Ibotta does not prevent you from using coupons or online discount codes. You can pair Ibotta with other savings for an even better deal.
- Refer friends. Finally, keep in mind that you can refer friends to Ibotta, in which case you give them $10 and you get $10 in rewards at the time of this writing.
The Bottom Line
Earning cash back with a rewards credit card is just common sense, but using Ibotta to earn even more cash back makes you an incredibly savvy shopper.
But, don’t take my word for it. Sign up for Ibotta so you can start earning right away, and you won’t regret it.