Many of you may have already heard of Ebates, a website where it "pays to shop online." Getting paid to shop online means that you get cash back for every purchase you make from a store through Ebates. It's affiliate marketing. Basically, a store pays Ebates a percentage of the sale for being promoted on Ebates, and Ebates pays the consumer part of that commission. It's a win-win-win deal, right? The store wins because they get the sale, Ebates wins because they get a cut, and the consumer wins because they get cash back!
For example: Sephora gives Ebates 8.0% of every referred sale, and Ebates gives you half of that. On a $100 purchase, Ebates gets paid $8.00, and pays you $4.00, resulting in a 4.0% cash back.
My mom first told me about this website a few years ago, but I've never tried it out until recently (you know, part of that adulting newbie life, I'm trying to save as much money as I can). And it really makes sense to use for people who do a lot of online shopping, as there are thousands of stores on Ebates, from popular stores like Sephora and Amazon, to high-end luxury stores like Tory Burch and even Yves Saint Laurent (YES I KNOW!!! They currently have a 20% off a $75+ purchase sale and 4.0% cash back deal going on right now through Ebates, by the way). Not only does Ebates offer cash back on purchases, they organize all of the coupon codes on their website, so you don't have to go coupon code hunting.
So, does it really work?
Yes, it does! I just got my first check in the mail a few days ago. I had only made one purchase from Sephora, and it was just an eyeshadow palette, so I didn't get much cash back. My purchase was $42.00 and the cash back rate was 4.0%, so I got $1.68 back. I know it's not much, but hey, that's $1.68 that I would've been without because I would've made that purchase anyway. And like I said before, it really makes sense for people who do a lot of online shopping, because every little bit adds up, especially with the holiday season coming up!
In fact, I just did my Christmas shopping for my parents today, and since I won't be going home for Christmas this year, my only option was to order something online and have it delivered to them. The store I bought my mom's gift from is currently offering 12% cash back and the store I bought my dad's gift from is offering 5.0% cash back. Let's just say I'll be getting more than $1.68 back from those purchases! 12.0% cash back is really good and Ebates has a ton of stores offering a really high cash back rate.
Some of their featured offers right now are:
Sephora: 8.0% cash back
Macy's: 8.0% cash back (and tons of coupons)
Under Armour: 10% cash back
Michael Kors: 10% cash back
And many more!!
They are always adding new stores and the cash back rates change so keep your eyes open! Many stores offer double cash back during busy shopping times of the year (like now!)
Here is what a store's page looks like:
They organize all of the current promotions with the accompanying codes to make is easy for the consumer and the search function at the top makes it easy to look for any specific store you want to purchase from.
How long does it take to get your cash back?
It typically takes 1-5 days from the time of purchase for the cash back amount to show up in your account. Cash back made will be paid in the form of a check or can be directly deposited to your PayPal account. There are 4 purchasing periods:
January 1 - March 31 -> Payment made on May 15
April 1 - June 30 -> Payment made on August 15
July 1 - September 30 -> Payment made on November 15
October 1 - December 31 -> Payment made on February 15
Personal experience: My Sephora purchase was made one October 28 and my check was sent on November 9. And it also says you need a minimum of $5.01 in cash back to get paid, but I had less. *shrugs* I don't know, maybe they just wanted to pay off every account at the time, but I'm not complaining!
Edit: As of today, August 15, 2017, I have accumulated $193.64 in cash back from purchases I've made online. Not too shabby! A check comes in the mail after every quarter or there sometimes is an option to turn your balance into an e-gift card, with an additional bonus. For example, last quarter, I opted to receive a Sephora gift card instead, with an additional 10% added to my balance. Score!
Edit #2: As of today, July 5, 2018, I have earned $343.55 in cash back. And I don't even think I shop that much! The trick is to keep an eye on ebates and make big purchases when the cash back percentage for a particular store is high. For example, I try to wait until Sephora or Bobbi Brown (2 of my most shopped at online stores) have cash back percentages of at least 8%.
Sign up using this referral code: https://www.ebates.com/r/LOLA1021?eeid=28187 and get a $10 cash bonus after your first purchase!! Do ittttt. Even if you use Ebates only when you absolutely need to shop online, it still makes the purchase feel a little bit better knowing you'll get some money back from it. I also get $5 if you decide to use my link (help a sista out :)) But, I am definitely not getting paid by Ebates for writing this post. I just know that I thought it was too good of a deal at first and I was hesitant to use it, so I thought it would be helpful to people to hear my experience.
They also have an app for both iOS and Android users, which offer exclusive app-only deals (lots of the stores are double cash back on the app). So, download the app after you sign up on the website!
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