If you aren’t using these top cash back apps and websites to make online purchases, you’re leaving cash on the table. Simply put, I never buy anything without using this simple 5-step process to get the most cash back shopping online.
1) Set up deal alerts on Slickdeals.
Slickdeals is a deal-sharing online community. Members find and share deals and coupons which are then vetted by the community.
What really sets Slickdeals apart from other deal sites is its user base and forums. It’s a great opportunity to share and hear experiences about products and get essential feedback on how to reproduce deals.
The best part of Slickdeals?
You can set up email and mobile push notification deal alerts so that you A) don’t have to spend time endlessly searching the site and B) never miss a deal. For deals that are in-store only or YMMV (your mileage may vary/difficult to reproduce), deal alerts are essential.
I’ve used deal alerts to score huge discounts on in-store-only items and snatch up incredible clearance deals before they’re known to the public. You can even stumble upon items that have been mispriced. Talk about Christmas in July; by the time the holidays roll around, I’ve already finished my shopping well ahead of time and saved a ton of money!
Apps Like Slickdeals
- Deals Plus
Deals Plus operates similarly to Slickdeals in that they rely on their users to post deals to their pages and forums. Its “plus” system is used as a voting mechanism – where users can “plus” a discount if they believe it’s a good deal and it will bump that deal onto the main page. Although they are one of the top contenders for online deals and discounts, Slickdeals still have them beat with the amount and variety offered.
- Deal News
As the daily discounts platform, Deal News boasts the most recent discounts and deals to hit the web. Each discount added shows when it was added or when it was last verified so you don’t have to worry about out of date or day old deals. The downside, the web interface isn’t as use friendly as Slickdeals and they don’t offer a community forum.
Dealighted offers a similar concept, but with a few restrictions. Discounts can only be accessed online as they don’t offer an app, they only work with about 29 stores, and their website isn’t as easy to navigate. However, if you purchase through them they offer hundreds discounts with free shipping and handling.
2) Get the most cash back with Rakuten (formerly Ebates).
So you’ve set up a Slickdeals alert and got notified that a there is an incredible, limited-time deal for round trip airline tickets to Hawaii. You click through and are ready to book.
Don’t check out just yet!
It’s time to see how much cash back you could be earning. This is where my favorite cash back app comes into play: Rakuten.
Whether you’re on a computer or a mobile device, Rakuten can help you save big—we’re talking sometimes 15% or more at thousands of big name merchants like Amazon, Walmart, and Kohls, but also smaller merchants as well.
There are two ways to get your cash back:
- Go to Rakuten and search for the business where you want to shop.
- My favorite: Install the Rakuten Chrome browser extension. With this extension, Rakuten automatically detects the website that you’re on and lets you know how much cash back you could earn! Just make sure that you disable ad blockers, as they can prevent the tool from recording your visit.
In most instances, your Rakuten account will get credited within 48 hours, though I’ve had it take about a week before. Once you reach $5 or more, you’ll receive your first Big Fat Check at the end of the quarter.
Rakuten also has a generous referral offer: $25 for every person you refer (when they join and spend at least $25) with no limit on the number of people you refer.
Apps Like Rakuten
(Note that you cannot stack/combine deals from different cash back apps.)
Similar to Rakuten with both a website and an app, TopCashback has more merchants and, in some cases, offers more cash back. Although TopCashback has in-store offers, you can’t link your card for in-store shopping like you can do for Rakuten. TopCashback also allows you to withdraw your money earned at any time. With Rakuten , you must have $5 in your account, and the payment will be sent out quarterly.
With Dosh, you must download the app to get cash back online and in stores—there’s no web interface. The app is intuitive and you get immediate cash back. You can link your card for offline shopping and it has over 100,000 merchants. You earn $5 for each friend you refer who signs up with your link and connects a verified credit or debit card—no minimum spend requirements.
Lemony is a similar concept with one notable difference: every time one of your friends in your community shops, you earn a commission. If you have a tight group of friends or social base that likes to share referrals and commissions, Lemony is for you.
Easily Find the Best Cash Back Deals On One Website
With all these top cash back apps and rewards websites, you’re probably wondering:
“How do I know that I’m saving the most money shopping online?”
Enter Cashback Monitor.
Cashback Monitor lets you see which top cash back apps and websites pay out the most for the site that you’re shopping. You can also set up alerts to get notified when a site offers a certain amount of cash back.
3. Automatically add the best coupon codes at checkout with the Honey and Rakuten browser extensions.
Stop searching for the best coupon codes online and start using Honey and Rakuten to automatically add them at checkout with the browser extensions in the Chrome Web Store. It’s extreme couponing for the digital age.
When you’re ready to check out, if Honey finds a discount, they’ll automatically add it for you.
If you can earn cash back, it’ll add that, too! They call it Honey Gold and similar to rewards points on you get from a credit card, you can turn your gold into gift cards.
That’s not all. Honey has a price history chart that works like Amazon’s CamelCamelCamel. If you’re waiting on a product to go on sale, you can add it to your Honey Droplist and get notified as soon as the price drops.
Browser Extensions Like Honey:
You can add it as an extension to Chrome just like Honey and they operate similarly. While you’re shopping online, if it finds a discount or better deal, Wikibuy will notify you. The main difference is that unlike Honey which prompts you to “Try Codes,” Wikibuy automatically applies the coupon code.
Piggy works both as a website and an app and has over 3,000 stores you can save at. You can get $5 free for signing up and downloading the app. Like the other cash back browser extensions, Piggy automatically applies coupons, deals and cash back. On the flip side, they have one of the highest withdrawal minimums at $25, and you can only withdraw at certain times throughout the year.
4. Earn more by using free store rewards programs.
So, you’re looking for luggage and found that two stores have the ones you like. What do you do?
Choose the one with the rewards program!
For instance, you can earn store cash and monthly discounts up to 30% with rewards programs like Kohl’s Yes2You. For every dollar spent they give you one point towards Kohls cash. And, for every 100 points earned, you get $5 store cash.
When stacked with cash back from sites like Rakuten and browser extensions like Honey, you could be in for some serious savings.
Bonus Tip: Top Cash Back Apps for In-Store Shopping: We’re not always plugged in, so if I know I’m going to be stopping by a Best Buy on the way home from work, I link my credit card up to Rakuten and I can still get cash back on any purchase. I’m also keen on these in-store apps.
I’ve earned over $145 cash back in 14 months using Ibotta. You’ll find cash back offers for Target, Meijer, Walmart, Kroger, and Jewel-Osco just to name a few. It’s simple: Select the items in the app before or after going to the grocery store. After you make your purchase, take a picture of your receipt and Ibotta will credit your account within a few hours.
If you love Target, Cartwheel is a must and is perfect for stacking with Ibotta. Pro tip: Because it’s hard to prep for a Target run, use the in-app barcode scanner. It will instantly tell you if your item qualifies for a Cartwheel discount and will even list similar items.
With Shopkick, you can actually earn points to purchase store gift cards or items without even making a purchase. Points can be acquired by simply turning on Bluetooth and geolocation, and recording a walk-in, scanning product barcodes or by linking a Visa or Mastercard and making purchases. Over the past 5 years I’ve racked up $65 in free gift cards using Shopkick.
5. Pay with the right credit cash back credit card to get the most bang for your buck.
There is one final step before you check out: Use the best cash back or rewards credit card.
Especially when it comes to travel, dining and entertainment, and grocery stores; I’m partial to the Visa® Inspire Cash Back Signature Card which gives 3% cash back. You’ll earn 1% cash back on every other purchase.
If you’re looking to compare cash back credit cards, NerdWallet and Wallet Hub are good places to start. Note that these sites do not include local banks and credit unions and therefore don’t list the best offers.
Using these money saving techniques for your online shopping can yield huge savings. On the flipside, it can also sway even the most astute online shoppers into making impulse buys.
Use these top cash back apps and your newfound money saving powers for good.