Friday, January 11, 2013

Be Cheap (or: Free-ish Money): Ebates

Disclosure: This post contains referral links.
If you do any online shopping at all, and you don't use Ebates, you should. There's quite literally no downside. No figurative downside, either. You sign up for free, get a $10 gift card, and then get cash back for every order you place online. It works with just about every online retailer that exists. For Amazon, it only works for certain departments. All the other major players are there, though. The percentage of cash you get back ranges, on average, from 3-12% of your purchase's subtotal. Then, once a quarter, they mail you a check or send you your money by PayPal. If you have less that $5.01 in your account at payment time, they roll it over to the next quarter. And if you're super nice, you can opt to have that money sent to a charity or a friend instead.

You get your money by going to the Ebates site first, and then clicking through their link to whatever store you want to shop at. (Or you can install their add on in your browser, which is easier.) It's supposed to keep track of everything and add money to your account automatically, but sometimes things don't show up. I usually go through my email every so often and see if there are any orders more than a month old that haven't appeared in my account (sometimes it takes 30 days to update since that's a typical return period). If there are, you  submit a quick form here, and they credit your account within 5 minutes or so.

I hope that doesn't sound complicated. It's really, really not. It's basically just a way for you to save a few bucks on purchases you'd be making anyway. Even if you only buy a few things a year online, that's like $5.02 you wouldn't have otherwise. That's five free e.l.f. lip glosses (is it irony that e.l.f. is one of the few companies that's not on eBates? No, it's not. A little sad, though.).

I've been using the site for a year without any problems. It's legit. Right now I have $23 pending, and I just got my last payment in November. Don't try to use that to guess how much shopping I do! Jerk. The only negative is that now I get really pissed at myself when I buy something and forget to go through Ebates first.

Here's my referral link, if you'd like to use it. That would be cool. Do what you want, though. I wouldn't suggest this if there were any sort of catch involved. You get $5 per person who signs up through your referral, plus bonuses when you reach a certain number.

Free money. Ish. Any questions?


  1. You can get your e.l.f. through Target - best of both worlds :)

    1. Oh, good call! I don't usually order things from Target online, since there's one nearby. But if that isn't the case, the rebate might cancel out the shipping costs, at least!


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