When it came to our budget, there were things my husband and I had to be willing to live without. We were fine with a small apartment, no cable, and no personal internet (until his new job started paying for it). We were fine with cooking instead of eating out or ordering in and only going out for ice cream occasionally, but then we discussed coffee. I am not one to go out for coffee daily, but coffee dates with friends were really important to me. I had to find some way to pay for them outside of our monthly income. After much searching and experimentation, I am pleased to share with you how I get a free Starbucks drink at least once a month.
When I started researching ways to earn money or gift cards, I found a lot of survey sites. I tried some of the most recommended survey sites and found myself frustrated, bored, spending hours taking surveys, and not really having much to show for it. If you love survey sites, more power to you, but they’re not really for me. I started looking into grocery shopping rebate apps. There are several of these, but currently I use two, one more than the other.
The idea behind grocery rebate apps is that food suppliers get marketing for new or current products and research companies collect data from surveys in exchange for offering rebates on grocery purchases. “Wait,” you’re thinking, “Didn’t you just say survey sites weren’t for you?” Well, they’re not. Grocery rebate apps typically show you a 30 second video, share a recipe, or ask you 1-3 survey questions. 1-3 multiple choice questions. That’s it. That’s only a few seconds of my time as opposed to the amount of time it takes to answer pages and pages of surveys online.
Currently, I am using two apps: Checkout51 & Ibotta. I have had much more success with Ibotta than Checkout51, so that’s what I’ll focus on. Let me just say upfront, this app has been a favorite of mine long before I started blogging, just so you know that this isn’t some advertising gimmick. I truly love using Ibotta, and I’ll tell you why.
Reasons I Love Ibotta
- Ibotta is a free app that is easy to install and use on an iPhone or an Android phone.
- Ibotta is organized.
If you’ve ever used other grocery rebate apps they aren’t all very organized. My main frustration with Checkout51 is that it’s hard to find and keep track of rebates. Ibotta allows you to search rebates by store and by product category (produce, dairy, aisle items, etc).
- Ibotta because it is a short time commitment.
The process is simple, unlock rebates by clicking on an available rebate and answering survey question or watching 30 second ad. Then, grocery shop and purchase that item. Finally, “redeem rebates” by selecting the rebate, scanning the item’s barcode, and taking a picture of the receipt. Literally, this takes me 60 seconds after grocery shopping to scan a few items and snap a photo of the receipt. Then, voila! Money.
- Ibotta lets you choose what kind of payment you’d like.
Options include PayPal and Venmo as well as gift cards. I typically do Starbucks, but you could choose Amazon, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Sephora, iTunes, Cabela’s, Express, or Regal Cinema Group. You can get a payout every $20 or $25 earned.
I use Ibotta when it’s convenient and when there are rebates for items that I already planned on purchasing. You’re not saving money if you’re buying extra items just to get a rebate. Rebates I use often are rebates on products that are not name brand. Those would be rebates on milk, eggs, produce, and cheese. There are also rebates for clothing stores, gas stations, and fast food restaurants.
I’m not making millions doing this, because rebates are typically between $.25 and $1.00. Since I started using it last summer, I’ve earned $30.00 towards my Starbucks purchases. In 9 months, that’s about a drink a month. Plus, I’m still earning stars toward rewards.
Ibotta makes the rebate earning and redeeming process a game. You can build a team by inviting friends to join you. When a new user signs up with your referral code and redeems a rebate within 30 days, they receive a $10 bonus. You, the referrer, receive a $5 bonus. Then you are team members. There are all kinds of bonuses your team can win when you’re all redeeming rebates. I haven’t really built a big team, yet, but the few people on my team make it fun.
I’ll get a $10 bonus, and you’ll get a $10 bonus when you redeem your first rebate. Cool. This little app let’s me have free Starbucks and avoid budgeting for it. Bottom line, you won’t get rich quick with this (probably never), but you could have a little fun and get some free Starbucks along the way. That’s a win in my book.