How to Make Money While Shopping

Updated on April 23, 2020
Cynthia Hoover profile image

Cynthia is a frugal living enthusiast. She makes money while shopping and is passionate about increasing income for her family.

I make money when I shop and on everything I purchase, and you can too. If you want to increase your income by cashing in on items, you are already purchasing I have some tips for you. Who isn’t already shopping anyway, and you can earn money without it costing anything extra? Did you know you can easily make money while shopping? These days adding additional funds to your monthly budget is simple and easy.

There are no complicated hacks or hoops to jump through just straightforward ways to increase income. You can make additional money off items you are already buying, and it is extremely simple. No crazy hacks to try, no hours invested creating shopping lists with specific brands. With a few simple apps you will be on your way to making money while shopping.

Years ago I used a few websites to earn points to turn into cash for purchases. I found these to be labor-some and a huge pain for minimal pay off.

Years ago, I used a few websites to earn points to turn into cash for purchases. I found these to be labor-some and a huge pain for minimal pay off. I would have to choose specific items and create a list based on the points they offered for different products and brands. Then after shopping I had to come home and scan the receipt alone with the product barcode. The entire venture often took hours of my time and I was lucky if I could manage an extra $20 a month. Plus, I found more and more often I was buying stuff I did not need, just to get extra points. In the end it likely was costing me more than I was earning.

Over the years I have made a point to test and try point earning and cash back receipt apps and sites. Some are better than others of course, at the end of the day I want it simple. Fast and easy is the best for me and my busy lifestyle. And I only use services that give me points without needing to shop specific brands. If it gives bonus points on brands fine, but I am not creating shopping lists based on points these days.

Fetch Rewards also offers an easy to view breakdown on spending habits.
Fetch Rewards also offers an easy to view breakdown on spending habits.

Fetch Rewards

Fetch Rewards is one I started using recently and I regret not coming across it sooner. You have several ways to earn points to cash out towards gift cards. Fetch Rewards offers tons of gift cards to choose from including Visa and Master-card. Visa or Master-card are as good as cash these days and accepted at many online retailers too.

How to Earn Points with Fetch Rewards

  • Upload pictures receipts
  • Turn in E-Receipts
  • Refer a friend
  • Look for additional points offers

Fetch is simple, you upload receipts and all receipts will gain you some points. Of course, if you do shop certain brands that are included you will gain points faster. I enjoy fetch because any receipt gets me points. Local gas stations and even smaller markets count, and you can turn in receipts and gain points. With a lot of cash back or points apps you are limited to larger chain retailers. I have only been using fetch for a few months and have already cashed out 3 gift cards from my points, and I cannot seem to get my husband to remember to snag a receipt all the time. So, I could have likely cashed out more if he would remember.

Refer a friend option is often offered with over 2,000-4,000 points awarded per referral when they run referral specials. Just keep an eye out for those if you think you have friends who would be interested in using the app. You of course will need to give them your sign-up code in order to get credit you can find it easily in app.

Since I shop so much online this is my favorite since it allows for E-receipts. Not all cash back and point based apps and websites have this option. Look out for specials too, sometimes they offer 300 points just for uploading a receipt.

A little additional feature to this app allows you to see your spending in an easy graph. If you are trying to budget and see where you can cut spending this is a helpful tool. You can see what and where you end up spending the most money each month.

This is beyond easy to use all you do is take a picture of your receipt and turn it in. That's it a quick pic and you earn points. You can also use the receipt on other apps that you turned in on Fetch too. So minimal effort and earn points towards free gift cards.

Receipt Pal

Receipt Pal is another points-based app you can redeem points for Amazon e-gift cards and many others. Receipt Pal also gives bonus tickets to enter sweepstakes for it's users. I don’t mess around much with the sweeps I assume if I win that’s great. The sweeps pop up as a bonus and you tap to reveal the amount of tickets so it’s not invasive really.

How to Earn Points with Receipt Pal

  • Upload image receipts
  • E-receipts
  • Referrals
  • Connecting accounts

I don’t earn as many points with this one as I do with Fetch rewards but since I already have my phone out for fetch to snap a receipt, I submit the same receipt to both apps. The points for friend referrals here are a bit low and you can expect around 300 points. This one is a more passive way to earn points you submit receipts and fill up cards each card will gain you 100 points and you need 4 to fill up a card.

For e-receipts simply connect an email account and it will pull the receipts from there. If you would choose you can link an Amazon account to in order to gain points from purchases there, and you get a decent 300-point bonus for linking as well. The downside to Receipt Pal for me is that it doesn’t always recognize certain stores and receipts. Unlike Fetch that counts all receipts even when shopping Mom and Pop small business.

Even though you can expect smaller point payouts I have already cashed out several gift cards with receipt pal too. Little effort involved and any additional income is great in my opinion.

Rakuten ~ Formerly Ebates

I have been using this one the longest since around 2015 as many people who shop online have. I started using them when Ebates was new and continue to use it since the change to Rakuten. The perks have changed over the years and with the new switch to Rakuten as well.

Cash Back Opportunities with Rakuten

  • Double cash back
  • In-store cash back
  • Deals and discounts
  • Cash back on Travel and Destinations
  • Refer a friend

The only problem here is I often forget to use Rakuten when shopping online. You need to go through the website or app to have a shopping session count towards cash back. And unfortunately, since the switch over from Ebates to Rakuten they no longer have cash back options for Amazon, a site that I shop frequently. However, if you are planning a trip, family vacation, airline tickets or shopping thousands of other stores you can get cash back by opening a shopping trip within Rakuten.

Rakuten does offer some of the highest cash back rates for those already shopping anyway. Once your shopping trip is done you can expect to see the cash back in as little as a few hours to a few days after your purchase. Some stores seem to confirm the shopping trip faster than others.

Cash back here is one of my favorites I can even shop with my Kohls cash and take advantage of the cash back they offer for Kohls, so long as I remember to open a shopping trip on Rakuten first. Rakuten is a great way to add extra savings when shopping higher end brands too especially around the holidays. Nike, Cannon, Vera Bradly and may more expensive brands are included.

Rakuten offers a high paying unprecedented referral program. A $30 bonus for you and your friend when they spend $30 through the site all while earning cash back. I never really mess with referrals to earn. I find them to be time consuming and not worth the payoff when having to continually explain to everyone how it works. If you choose and have friends who would be interested, it may be a way to make a decent side income for a while. Until you run out of people to refer, assuming all your sign ups use the site and shop through it for it to count.

Ibotta

You can earn some decent side money with ibotta. I personally find it to be a bit labor some to be worth the effort these days. But I always try and give a quick scan to see if anything I have purchased may have points offered. I used to spend hours creating shopping lists basked on points and bonus points, these days I don’t. One of the perks to ibotta is that you can cash out to your Paypal account. There were times in the past living paycheck to paycheck that it came in handy to cash out and have immediate access to funds.

There are some high cash back products with ibotta, and if you are a coupon clipper you can easily make a tidy little profit while paying out less using coupons. Some items have limits, you can only purchase and get points for a certain amount each shopping trip.

You can link online shopping here as well and earn points. With a wide range of stores available including Club stores, gas stations and even Dollar tree. They even have options now to use the app to pay while shopping at certain locations. Referral credits here are around $10 for friends who use the app.

If you are social distancing right now and using delivery services, you can enjoy cash back from DoorDash and Grubhub as well as others. Many online stores included with ibotta as well. Like many others there are travel and destinations that will you earn you cash back through the app.

If you find you have a little extra free time these days with social distancing this maybe a good time to see what if anything you plan on purchasing the next time you shop has any available cash back.

Making Money While Shopping

Call me crazy but making money while shopping is basically free money. You do not need to spend anything extra and it takes minimal effort in most cases to earn with these sites and apps. No matter your income levels a little extra to spend when you need it is beneficial. Especially given the uncertainty of most budgets and financial situations these days. Put your money to work for you, after all you already spend it regularly. You may as well benefit from the money you are spending on a regular basis anyway. I don’t know anyone who makes it through life without having to shop even the frugalist of people still require necessities to survive.

Have a favorite app or website for earning cash back I would love to hear about it. These are just a few I use some more regularly than others. Once social distancing restrictions have been lifted and you and your family are planning a much-needed vacation make sure to earn some cash back on your trip! Then you can use the cash back to enjoy activities while you travel!

If you have a cash back credit card you can earn even more too. But of course, always use any available credit wisely. I use a cash back card when shopping but always pay the balance before it is due to with what I would have used to pay for the specific shopping trip. There are so many ways to earn extra income these days with little effort.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

© 2020 Cynthia Hoover

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    • profile image

      aisasami 

      11 days ago

      These are really cool tips and will help those who love shopping and want to make a few bucks.

    • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Hoover 

      12 days ago from Newton, West Virginia

      Fetch is only available in the USA right now. I would check your play store or app store and search for cash back apps. Perhaps you can find a similar one that will work in your country!

    • profile image

      Thewitchylifefr 

      12 days ago

      I didn't know about Fetch rewards, is it open internationally?

    • profile image

      CA 

      12 days ago

      Wow! You've made me see rewards points in a different light! I'll check on all that I have right now.

    • profile image

      Kathy Kenny Ngo 

      12 days ago

      We have something called Shopback here that has the same program. It really helps you earn while you spend.

    • profile image

      Dianne G 

      12 days ago

      Thank you for these tips. I also make sure that I always use my reward points when shipping. In this way, I would be able to save some.

    • profile image

      Britt 

      12 days ago

      I haven't heard of most of these. Definitely going to try these! Thanks for sharing!!

    • profile image

      Bailey Deziel 

      13 days ago

      This is really interesting. I never knew that you could make money while shopping! I think I might have to take advantage of this.

    • profile image

      Sedija Lejiete 

      13 days ago

      Such a timely post, thank you. I have never tried any of these apps before, but I will definitely look more into them. :))

    • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Hoover 

      4 weeks ago from Newton, West Virginia

      Priya Barua you are welcome, I hope you find some of it useful. I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

    • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Hoover 

      4 weeks ago from Newton, West Virginia

      Thanks so much for stopping by sucess79 you are welcome. I am extremely frugal and extra money is always a bonus. I figure I am already shopping so I may as well take advantage of ways to make money doing it.

    • Priya Barua profile image

      Priya Barua 

      4 weeks ago

      This is a very nifty article. Thanks for sharing your tips.

    • success79 profile image

      success79 

      4 weeks ago from New York

      Very interesting concept and insight! I have never thought about making money while shopping. This is certainly an eye-opener.

      Thanks for sharing this vital information.

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