I have long been using my smartphone to make a little extra money on the side. There are quite a few legit apps out today that pay you for doing small tasks like taking photos of help wanted signs or grocery receipts. Ibotta is one such app.
I joined Ibotta in 2013. I’ve used it off and on over the years. This past year I started getting serious. When they emailed me my year in review this past week, I thought it was time for an official Ibotta review. I was a little surprised at my earnings after all!
How Does Ibotta Work?
So, we’ve already established Ibotta is a smartphone app that has been around for several years. It’s super easy to earn a little extra cash with this company doing something you’re doing anyway – grocery shopping.
Before you head out to the grocery store, check the app for available rebates. These are like coupons, but no clipping. Everything is right on your phone.
You will need to select the store you are going to visit. Most major chains like Walmart, Target, Sam’s Club, Publix, Kroger and Costco are available. You will also find your regional chains. Here in the Midwest, I can get rebates for shopping at my favorites like Baker’s, Hy-Vee and Fareway. You will even find military commissary and Whole Foods in here.
Once your store is selected, you can select the available rebates of interest. One reason I really started focusing more on Ibotta this year was because they usually have several “non-brand-specific” rebates available for produce and staples like milk and eggs. Since we started eating clean, I’ve had to hang up my extreme couponing cape. It’s a little harder to find coupons on fresh foods. Ibotta is an awesome alternative to cutting coupons whether you’re eating healthy or not so healthy.
Anyway, when you select your rebates you may need to complete a little task. It might be watching a video or answering a question like, “Is this your first time buying this product?” It’s really simple stuff. My favorite is when it’s viewing a recipe for your new-found item. Sometimes, especially in the case of those no-brand rebates, there is no task at all. You just need to push the button to put the item on your shopping list.
Now, head out to the store and do your grocery shopping as usual. For some stores, you will be able to link up a loyalty card. For others, you will need to submit your receipt. For the latter, your next duty comes when you get home.
Once you get home and start unpacking your groceries, you just need to scan the barcode of those items you wanted a rebate for. It gives you a little beep letting you know your item matches the selected rebate. It goes really quick and the app works really well.
Once you are finished scanning your items, you just need to take a picture of your receipt. You need to make sure you capture the whole thing including the store name at the top and the date and time at the bottom. Once you hit submit, you just wait for the funds to hit your account. This usually takes no more than an hour or two. On a really busy day, you may wait up to 48 hours.
If you shopped at a Preferred Partner store where you had your loyalty card linked, you just need to wait for your rebates. You won’t need to scan your items or receipt. Some stores like Walmart, you just need to scan the QR code on your receipt.
7 Ways to Make More Money with Ibotta
Ibotta recently added in-app shopping rebates for a few partners. Right now, those partners include Groupon, Hotels.com, eBay, Jet and Boxed. If you are a Groupon shopper, you can earn 2% to 10% cash back when clicking through from Ibotta.
Refer New Members
Ibotta is really appealing to those of us who would love to coupon more but don’t have the time or excitement to get it done. You probably know quite a few of those people as well. For every person you refer to Ibotta who redeems a rebate within two weeks, you will receive a $5 bonus. And you can even entice them a little further by letting them know they will also receive $10 when they sign up through your referral link and start using the app. Who doesn’t want a quick $10?
Build Your Team
Another benefit to referring people to the app is that they become part of your team. Every month, Ibotta announces new team bonuses that will earn you some quick cash based on the participation of your team members. In January for example, you get an extra $1 when you redeem 15 rebates personally and your team members redeem $6 worth of rebates.
And team members doesn’t just refer to people you have personally brought in. If you connect your Facebook account, all of your friends using the app will also count as team members. Nice!
Check for Bonus Opportunities
You can’t control what other members of your team do, but there are probably a few bonus opportunities you may be missing out on that don’t involve their participation. Check for those bonuses regularly. There are usually new ones every month or coinciding with holidays. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve missed out on a $2 or $5 bonus because I was $.25 short on my rebate total. During the month of January 2017, you can get an extra $2 when you redeem just four rebates by January 11. You’ve totally got that!
Read the Fine Print
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten home and started scanning my items only to find out I needed to purchase a different size or needed to buy two of the item to qualify for the rebate. Know the details. And with your smartphone likely in your purse while shopping, there’s no excuse. You can even scan the item before purchasing to make sure you have the right one.
Use the App
This seems like a silly thing to include on our list, but you can’t win if you don’t play. The grocery rebates are some of the easiest ways to earn cash back with this program and it just takes a few seconds.
I usually check the app for rebates on Thursday evening knowing I’m heading to the store on Friday morning. By now the new rebates are usually available as well. If you forget, or don’t want to be tempted to buy goodies not on your list, just check the app for rebates when you get home. Then simply scan your items and receipt.
Work at Home for Ibotta
Did you know Ibotta hires at-home agents? It’s true! And this is an awesome gig.
Ibotta Customer Service Reps work from home responding to user inquiries by email. That’s right. No phone. The pay is $12 per hour. The only drawback – you have to live in Colorado to work for Ibotta as training is onsite in Denver. Maybe someday!
Does Ibotta Cash Expire?
You can cash out your Ibotta earnings as soon as you meet the minimum threshold, $20 for PayPal, or you may choose to let them ride until you need them. Many users save up their earnings throughout the year and then exchange them for gift cards or cash when holiday shopping rolls around.
What you do need to be aware of is inactivity. If you don’t redeem an offer for 12 consecutive months, Ibotta will start charging an inactivity fee of $3.99 per month until your earnings are depleted. If your account is terminated for fraudulent activity or something similar, you will lose your earnings.
Ibotta is such a great way to earn extra cash for your emergency or holiday shopping fund. There’s no reason not to use it!
Is Ibotta Worth It?
Absolutely! Look at how much I earned in 2016. Even if you are shopping at a store that requires you to scan your items and receipt, you are only looking at a few minutes of time to earn some extra cash. And that cash is readily available once it hits your account. And, you can take your cash out by PayPal. We always love getting actual cash as opposed to gift cards. (But you can get gift cards, too.)
The product selection is extensive. In addition to healthy foods like fresh produce, you will also find beer, baby food, soup, pizza and more. There is always a lot to choose from, especially compared to many other grocery apps.
I highly recommend Ibotta. I’ve never had any issues with payment and it has earned me more money by far when compared to other grocery shopping apps like SavingStar or Walmart Savings Catcher. It only takes a few minutes of time to see big rewards.
Have you tried Ibotta? How much have you been able to earn?