The holiday shopping season is just around the corner. While most people are thinking about spending money, we here at The Work at Home Wife are always thinking about how we can make money – even while shopping. Some of the best money to be made is money you make doing activities you were going to do anyway. Right?
The truth of the matter is there are several ways you can make money while shopping. Today, I’ll be walking you through several steps to monetize your holiday shopping.
Step 1: Sign up for Ebates
There is a good chance you are familiar with Ebates. The company has helped members earn over $1 billion in Cash Back when shopping at their favorite stores.
While you may be familiar with Ebates, there is a good chance you don't always remember to use it! That used to be the case with me, too. That's until I installed the Ebates Cash Back Button. Once the button is installed in your browser, it will alert you when cash back – or a coupon! – is available on a website you are visiting. If you are on a store that doesn't offer Ebates Cash Back, the button will let you know if the product you are looking at is available for a lower price and with Cash Back at a partner store.
I want to stress that the Button is totally unobtrusive. You won't notice it at all until you start shopping online. Even then, it will only pop up when it can help.
Step 2: Sign up for Shopkick
Shopkick is a free app to check out for those times you need or want to shop in-store. While you can earn “kicks” shopping online at a Shopkick partner store, you can also earn them by simply walking into a store, scanning a product or making a purchase in-person. For example, at the time of writing this post, you could earn kicks just walking into Carter's. How much simpler can you get than that?
These points, or kicks, can then be redeemed for free gift cards at stores like Target, Amazon, Starbucks and more. So far, Shopkick has helped users earn more than $68.5 million in free gift cards!
Step 3: Sign up for Paribus
I haven’t had a lot of luck with Paribus lately, likely because it only works at around 30 online merchants, but it is something to consider if you are a frequent Amazon or Walmart shopper. And, it’s 100% free.
This service links up to your email address and watches for incoming email receipts from their partner stores. It then watches the prices on those products you purchased and requests a price match should the price drop during the guarantee window. They may also be able to get you money should a shipment be late from a retailer that offers guaranteed delivery like Amazon or Walmart.
The price matching potential is small here because of the limited merchant pool. However, if you make frequent purchases or large purchases this could definitely be worth it.
Paribus was acquired by Capital One in 2016. Paribus ensures they do not open any email other than receipts from their partner stores. They also guarantee they will not share your data.
P.S. If you do buy stuff at Walmart, make sure you are taking advantage of their Savings Catcher app. Just scan the QR code on your receipt and the app will check local sales flyers for lower prices. If it finds one, you will get the difference. I use this one a lot.
Step 4: Sign up for Acorns
If you are already planning on spending money, what’s a few more cents? Acorns is a service I started using last year. When you make a purchase using your specified debit or credit card, Acorns will round up that purchase to the next dollar. It then invests that spare change. As of May 2018, over 3.5 million people were using Acorns. The majority of which are millennials.
You can also set up recurring deposits, earn referral bonuses and earn cash to invest by shopping Acorns' partner stores. They will also soon have their own debit card available called Acorns Spend.
This service does cost $1 per month for accounts with balances less than $5,000 and .25% per year on accounts over $5,000.
Step 5: Use your cash back card
If you are responsible with credit, you can always make purchases on those cards offering rewards such as Discover or Capital One Venture. Your own bank or credit union may offer a cash back card as well.
The key to using credit, especially when it comes to the holidays, is to not spend more than you can pay back that very day. Not next payday. Not when the bill comes. Use credit cards as if they are debit cards. When you get home from shopping, pay off what was charged.
Step 6: Pick up a few “shops”
If your planned shopping trip will be a more leisurely one, you could possibly monetize your time doubling as a mystery shopper. Check a reputable mystery shopping service like Bestmark, Field Agent or some of the companies on the MSPA list for shops available in your area.
As I said, you won’t want to do this on a day you are stressed and in a rush. You need to perform your secret shopper jobs to the best of your availability. But, if you have the time to check a product price or see if a clerk welcomes you into the store, go for it! And this is an opportunity you can use to earn extra cash whether you need Christmas money or new dance shoes.
Step 7: Receipt Hog
Receipt Hog is an app that has been around for several years. Unlike some apps, this one isn't tied to any specific merchant. Instead, you can snap a picture of receipts from any store in the accepted categories.
Depending on the category, you may earn coins, spins or sweepstakes entries. Coins equal cash and spins and sweeps entries are a chance to win coins. Once you've acquired enough coins, you can redeem them for PayPal cash, gift cards or some other reward.
At the time of writing this post, the receipt rewards were as follows:
- Coin-Receipts are receipts from retailers that primarily sell consumer products like groceries, pharmacies and convenience stores. Coin-Receipts earn coins based on the receipt's total.
- Spin-Receipts are from all other stores such as clothing, auto parts, home improvement and office supplies. These receipts each earn one spin for the Hog Slots which gives you a chance to win coins.
- Sweepstakes-Only Receipts earn you an entry into a monthly Sweepstakes drawing for more coins. Stores in this category include restaurants, bakeries and gas-only receipts.
Some receipts don’t qualify for anything. Those include credit card invoices, ticket stubs, service invoices, hand-written receipts, etc. Receipts also need to be less than 14 days old.
Receipt Hog collects purchasing data for market research. They use uploaded receipts to tell merchants things like “People in this area are more likely to buy their laundry detergent at a supercenter than a grocery store.” They don't sell your personal data to these companies. Instead, everything is aggregated and reported anonymously for these research report.
Receipt Hog will not see your credit or debit card numbers. They also don't mind if you black that information out before uploading your receipts if it's a concern. They also don't mind if you mark out any individual items purchased that you may not want shared. You control what you are sharing in a number of ways.
There is occasionally a waitlist. Sign up here.
Those are just a few ways you can monetize your holiday shopping. Or any shopping for that matter! You won't get rich. You probably won't be able to shop for free. But every little bit helps.