How to Earn Lunch Money with Ebates

If someone told me I could passively earn a little money on the side by shopping online, I would slap them silly and laugh in their face before walking away. To get paid for spending money online? Idiots! Little did I know it was true. And since I’ve signed up, I’ve earned a little over $130 back in cash (perhaps more if I was diligent about it). So with just a little browser extension and some know-how, here’s how you can earn extra money with Ebates.

But First, What IS Ebates?

Ebates is the leader in online cash back shopping. They’ve been doing it since 1998 so they know a thing or two about the business. But how does Ebates earn the money to pay you the cash? When a retailer joins their network, that retailer agrees to pay a commission for each sale referred via Ebates. So not only do you earn your cash back on the sale, but so does Ebates. That fee covers their overhead costs.

With Ebates, you can earn up to 40% cashback on your purchase price. They have a wide network of retailers (over 2,000 to be exact) so no matter what you’re shopping for, Ebates probably has a retailer that sells it. In addition to cash back savings, Ebates also offers coupon codes that you can stack for additional savings.

This is a list of retailers I’ve earned Ebates cash back from just within the past month:

With Ebates, the spectrum is broad. In addition to clothing and beauty retailers, they also have other retailers in the home goods category, electronics, office supplies, flowers and gifts, and more.

Tip #1 Sign Up

So the first step to saving money with Ebates is to sign up. It’s pretty simple and it’s free. To make the process even easier, you can either use your Facebook account or Google account to sign up. Otherwise you can just sign up using your email address.

Tip #2 Install the Ebates Cash Back Button

If you’re like me and have difficulty developing new habits, you’re probably going to need a little help with Ebates. That’s where their Cash Back browser button comes in handy.

The browser button works in several popular desktop browsers such as Chrome, Firefox and Safari. If you are one of those poor saps still using a Microsoft browser, what are you doing?!

The features of the cash back button:

  • When you visit an Ebates retailer, it pops up with an alert letting you know you can earn cash back on this website. It even tells you the percentage. No more forgetting to go through Ebates first when you’re on a shopping high!
  • It gives you an easily accessible way to see how much cash you’ve earned during the current quarter.
  • You can quickly search their database to see if a retailer is part of their network and how much cash back they offer–all without leaving the page you’re currently on.
The Cash Back Button from Ebates comes in handy when you happen to land on a retailer that is part of their network.

Admittedly I didn’t install the button when I first signed up. Once I did however, my cash back savings significantly increased. I racked up the biggest cash back amount I’ve ever received since starting Ebates. It was more than double the highest amount prior to that.

Tip #3 Subscribe to Their Promotional Emails

If there’s anyone who hates promotional emails, it’s me. I receive hundreds of emails a day and there are thousands currently sitting in my inbox. So yeah I know a little bit about being marketed to.

However, sometimes emails can be useful, especially when they’re emails letting you know about Double Cash Back days. Yes, folks, Double Cash Back days are days when Ebates’ Cash Back rewards double, therefore increasing your earning potential. Usually only certain stores participate in this promotion at one time, and it only happens for a limited time so this is usually the best time to use Ebates.

Tip #4 Shop ‘Til You Drop (As Long As You Go Through Ebates First!)

Like I mentioned earlier, the trick to getting the most from Ebates is to actually use it when you need to make purchases from participating retailers.

This also means you’ll probably have to shop through the Ebates phone app as well. Not to say that the Ebates app is sub-par, it’s really just a browser that takes you to the retailer’s website and enables their tracking capability.

Unfortunately right now there’s no way to receive Ebates shopping credit by shopping through a retailer’s mobile app. So if you like to shop through your phone as opposed to a desktop browser, you’ll have to make it a habit to use the Ebates app first.

There are a few things to be realistic about when it comes to Ebates:

  • Don’t expect to earn a living with Ebates. This won’t be your ticket out of a dead end job. This is only meant to be a way save some change on purchase you already make online. That’s why this post only touts earning lunch money!
  • Average savings per transaction, in my experience, range from an average of $1-$5. More than that and it’s probably a good day.
  • Don’t buy something through Ebates at regular price JUST because it was a Double Cash Back day. Remember: the best time to shop is when it’s a Double Cash Back day AND the retailer is having a sale. That’s savings on top of cash back, which is the ideal combination.

And the most important rule to saving money when shopping (a rule that often gets forgotten!): DON’T BUY ANYTHING YOU DON’T NEED. I know. I wish I could follow this rule too!

Don’t forget–if you haven’t signed up, you can sign up via my affiliate link below.

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

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