If you’re reading this, I’m betting you have a smart phone. Yes?
I’m always on the hunt for the latest and greatest ways to make money, especially relatively passively ones and particularly if I can do it with the habits I already have. I have quite a little list of apps that I use in conjunction with my regular shopping. I haven’t spent any extra or changed my shopping habits to use these and I have a few hundred extra bucks just by utilizing them.
It’s only takes a few extra seconds of your time to grab the free money sitting on the table.
Receipt Hog (iOS/Android)
The stuff you bought today at the grocery store, the hardware store, and the pet store? Scan those receipts. You earn coins that can be redeemed for rewards in the form of Amazon gift cards, Visa gift cards, or Paypal redemptions. Some categories of receipts earn coins which directly translate into dollars. Some categories earn ‘spins,’ and there is a slot machine section on the app that lets you pull a lever and spin. The spins sometimes result in coins, sometimes not. Home stores (Homegoods) and hardware stores always earn spins for me but places like Walmart, gas receipts, and the pet store earn coins. It does take a while to build up enough points to redeem for gift cards, but once you have been adding for a while, you move up levels and earn points more quickly. This is just scanning the receipts for the things you’re already buying. I’ve earned $70 so far.
Get Upside (iOS/Android)
This is a newer app that I’ve been using the last few months. It partners with gas stations and rewards cash back for “claiming” a participating gas station in the area. All you do is open the app when you’re low on gas, select a gas station that’s nearby (I always choose the ones with the highest cash back per gallon), click claim, and upload a picture of the receipt into the app within four hours. The four hour cutoff is a make or break for this app. I just upload as soon as I am done pumping gas so as not to forget. It seems that Shell and BP stations are the most prevalent in my area. It also seems that when gas is more expensive, the cash back offers are better (10-15 cents per gallon). When gas drops, the offers also drop (to 1 cent-4 cents cash back per gallon.) I personally wouldn’t choose to get gas at Shell without this app since it costs more overall than the wholesale club I belong to or Murphys since they generally are lower than the others anyway, but I figure I also would not be setting aside the $1-2 or so that I saved each time. In the four months since I started using this app, I’m up to $20.
Join with my promo code 97E2A to get an extra 15 cents per gallon on your first gas fill up!
Job Spotter (iOS/Android)
This is a new app that I just downloaded about two weeks ago. It is part of Indeed.com and pays you to find help wanted signs. All you have to do is take a photo of the help wanted sign and a photo of the store front and upload them. You do need to have an Indeed.com account, though. Your photos must be clear and cannot have any people in the photos. You are usually awarded within minutes. The payouts that I’ve seen are averaging around 30 cents per upload and one of them paid 70ish cents. It’s not a way to get rich but if you drive a decent amount like I do, I see a decent amount of these signs so why not get paid to take a picture of them? You can redeem the payouts for Amazon gift cards. It also seems that there is not a minimum redemption threshold. I could cash out my $3.78 if my heart so desired.
This is another of the newer additions for me. This app lets you choose a few preferred retailers for “power offers” and every time you swipe your card at said store, you earn cash back. You must link a card first (you can link as many as you want though, I linked the top 3 cards I use most frequently). You can also shop online through their app and earn cash back that way as well. You have a variety of gift cards to choose from when you redeem your points including Amazon, Starbucks, Old Navy, Nike, and Dominos (among several others). This is another app that rewards you to spend money you were already going to spend.
Use my promo code vkz7t and we both get $5 when you sign up.
Another cash back app. It seems to target more of the “shopping” stores that fall more into the discretionary spending category. I can’t find Walmart or Target on there, but I do see every restaurant within 5 miles and places like Lane Bryant, World Market, and Staples on my list of cash back options. You link a card and whenever you shop at one of the participating stores, you are awarded cash back. It seems that not all locations under the same brand may participate though, so that is worth checking first.
Use my referral code LAURENL285 and link your first card and we both get $5.
eBates, now known as Rakuten, is probably the biggest player in this whole list. It is a cash back portal/app that awards you anywhere from 1-25% generally on the shopping that you were going to do already! The cash back percentages really jump up around holiday promotions.
All you do is install the browser extension on your computer and click to activate it before you actually click purchase on any of the websites that have qualifying offers. Once a quarter, you receive a paper check if you like or a Paypal deposit with your earnings. There is a $5 minimum cash out threshold. This is especially helpful when purchasing big ticket items like furniture.
They’ve also added in-store cash back for certain stores as well. The offer must simply be activated on the card you plan to make the purchase with before you physically swipe it in the store.
Sign up here to get a free $10 when you make your first purchase
Another cash back portal, much like Rakuten. I learned about this one recently, so I have only completed one purchase through their portal – but I did get the welcome cash back offer and you should too.
Affinityy is best used with someone’s referral link and installed as a browser extension. You get $3 for installing the extension, and $20 for making your first qualifying purchase through their portal (minimum $5 purchase) within the first 14 days. You can gain another $10 when someone signs up through your link and makes their first purchase. I installed the extension and purchased an item from Walmart.com that I was planning to purchase on my grocery store trip that week anyway. I opted to pick up in store and got cash back and the $20 bonus. Can’t beat that! (FYI – It does take up to 90 days to receive that $20 depending on the store’s return policy..in case you decide to return it)
It offers most of the same stores as Rakuten, so I will let the cash back offers populate and choose the highest percentage before making my applicable online purchases. There seems to be additional options to purchase through Affinityy like applying for a Personal Loan of purchasing a house as well.
You can also redeem via Paypal or physical check. The downer here is that there is a minimum $50 threshold to cash out. Still though, free money is free money.
Sign up with my referral link here
Swagbucks is an interesting website/app that offers many ways to earn ‘swag bucks’ that can be redeemed for Paypal deposits or a whole slew of gift card options. You can shop through their portal to earn cash back in the form of swagbucks, similarly to Rakuten and Affinityy but you can also complete surveys, complete a daily poll, watch videos, etc. to earn swagbucks.
1 swagbuck=1 penny. That sounds depressing, but I generally cash out anywhere from $25-50 per year and have cashed out up to $200 before. I generally let my Swagbucks add up all year and redeem for Christmas. I use this platform very passively, though. I plan to research a bit more to see how to get the most out of it in the future.
The easiest ways to earn Swagbucks (for me) are to:
*have the app on your phone and submit the Swagcode (a specific word/phrase that gets posted for a limited amount of hours each day) to earn 2-3 swagbucks
*allow Swagbucks (i.e. Bing) to be your default search engine and you are randomly awarded Swagbucks for your searches. (I find that I am awarded Swagbucks more frequently if I delete browser history and empty the cache regularly.)
*Shop through their portal, much like all of the other cash back sites. I don’t usually do this, though, as the offers aren’t usually as good as Rakuten or Affinityy.
*Complete offers that they send through the inbox feature on your Swagbucks dashboard. There are often sign up bonuses for trying new services. I signed up for Doordash through their portal and completed my first Dash delivery within their allotted time frame and was awarded $160 worth of Swagbucks last year.
Another notable tip about Swagbucks is different gift cards go “on sale” on a revolving basis. I try to purchase the gift cards I’m interested in when they are “on sale” and get a $25 Amazon gift card for 2200 Swagbucks (or $22 essentially) instead of 2500 Swagbucks. Once you’ve redeemed one, you can’t buy another “on sale” gift card for the same company in the same period. These offers seem to renew each month, though.
Earny is an app specifically for certain online retailers (J Crew, Gap brands, Walmart, Overstock, Home Depot).
They have recently changed their platform from a free membership that charges a 25% finders fee of any price drops that are found. Now, there is a subscription fee that is charged on a monthly basis ($9.99 or $4.99 for the annual subscription) instead of the fees. This would save money, but Amazon is no longer an included retailer.
If their list of covered brands appeal to you, all you have to do is link a price protection credit card. Not all credit cards offer this perk, but the ones that do will get you a refund for the price reduction difference if the price drops on something that you purchased.
I shop with the CitiBank Double Cash card (my preferred card to shop with everywhere) on and if any of my purchases drop within 60 days, Earny automatically files a claim to get refunded the difference.
Sign up with my referral link here
Are there any other great cash back apps/websites that I should be using? Please let me know!