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I'll tell you, I do love saving money, but I'm not going to spend money on things I don't normally purchase just so I can say I saved money. (read more)
WHAT IS IBOTTA?
Ibotta has been around for awhile, but if you haven't heard of it, that's okay. It's one of those things people talk about, using sayings like "cash back", "save money", "just make purchases like always".
All of those things scream "gimmick" to me, ya know? Kind of like Ebates.
Only, I love Ebates, so much so that I recently wrote a post about it.
READ MY EBATES POST
After talking to a few friends I trust without reserve and hearing that they use Ibotta, I decided to give it a shot.
Basically, Ibotta is an app you download onto your phone. You check the app for the store you're going to before you go, pick out what you might want to purchase, and then get cash back.
I'm simplifying it, but in a nutshell, that's the idea.
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HOW DO YOU USE IBOTTA?
How does Ibotta app work? It's way easier than you'd think. So easy that I wonder why it took me so long to get on board, especially since I've been a member of Ebates for 11 years, and Ibotta works almost exactly the same way.
Is Ibotta or Ebates better?
I was trying to think of a way to compare Ibotta vs Ebates, and I think the easiest way to do so is to say that Ebates advertises entire stores (and mainly focuses online), but Ibotta focuses on brick and mortar ITEMS (with some online).
For example, what you'll see with Ibotta is that you can get the same deal on groceries at the four grocery places close to you. I just picked a random number there, but in actuality there's no limit.
It'll likely be all the same items; ketchup, milk, eggs, etc., but you can get the deal on those products at any of your chosen stores.
Does that make sense?
Ebates seems to focus on the stores, Ibotta seems to focus on the THINGS the stores carry.
Here's an example on my Ibotta app. I have two things that I've got in the app right now, so I'll get credit for them the next time I go to the grocery store.
The items are greek yogurt and Kellogg's brand cereal.
Once I tell the app which offers I might use, it shows me all of my chosen stores, and tells me which stores have the same offers.
As you can see, Kroger, Target, and Walmart all have the offers I want, but Walgreens and HEB only have one of the offers.
This way, if I'm closer to one of the other stores, I know I can just pop in there and still redeem my offers.
Let's talk redemption. :)
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HOW DO YOU REDEEM YOUR IBOTTA ACCOUNT?
Linking your loyalty card to Ibotta:
If you shop at a grocery store that has a loyalty card, like my Kroger does, you can simply go into Ibotta and link the card to your account. If you shop at a store where your card is connected, you don't have to do anything else. The app will automatically update with your cash back within 48 hours.
Scan receipt on Ibotta:
Alternately, if your store doesn't offer a loyalty card (like my HEB and Walmart), all you have to do is shop, save your receipt, then bring up the app and take a picture of your receipt.
At Walmart you can just scan the QR code, but at Target you scan the whole receipt. You also have leeway with this because there's a date range you can scan for. So if you chose offers, but then shopped and forgot to scan, you have time to do that, no problem.
Here is the Walmart redemption screen, all you do is scan the QR code.
Here is the Target redemption screen. You just scan the receipt instead of the QR code.
Once you've scanned or used your loyalty card, that's it. Just wait a few hours (for me it takes around 12 hours) and your cash back will show up in your account.
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DOES IBOTTA GIVE YOU CASH?
Yes, Ibotta gives you cash back. Not cash that you can only spend at certain places or within a certain time, but cash you can transfer to your PayPal, Venmo, etc. and spend just like any other cash.
Just like Ebates!
Your cash back meter climbs in your app, then once it gets to $20 you can go about transferring money from Ibotta to PayPal, or you can go about figuring out how to transfer money from Ibotta to Venmo.
I'll give you a hint, you just tap a button on both, very easy.
I'd show you what that looks like, but since I don't currently have $20 in my account, my little button is greyed out. Once I get $20 or more, the button lights up and I can go about getting my cash, or...other things.
Let's talk other things.
IBOTTA GIFT CARD CHOICES
Let's say you don't want cash back this time. Maybe you have a friend's birthday coming up and you're like, "You know, I think I'll get Sharon a gift card for her birthday!"
Just log into Ibotta, pick the gift card you want, and the code will be emailed to you, which you can then write down in a nice birthday card and give to Sharon.
Again, mine are all greyed out because most of these gift cards start at $20. Also, there are a ton of choices, I just screen shotted the first page of them.
HOW TO INSTALL IBOTTA
You can get the Ibotta app on iPad or Ibotta on Android using this link. You do not have to sign up on your phone. Signing up on you computer is just as easy. Ibotta will complete your sign up and send text you a link that you can tap to install the app on your phone.
Once you have it installed, you'll be walked through the set up process, but I'll go over it as well.
First, pick your favorite stores. I mainly picked grocery stores since those are pretty much the only brick and mortar places I visit, but if you go to ANY brick and mortar store a lot, pick that. There's no limit to how many you can choose.
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Pick your favorite apps. Remember I said Ibotta has the most use for me at brick and mortar stores, but they do also have an online presence. If you shop at any of these places on a regular basis, pick it.
For sure I chose Amazon.
Once you pick your places, click on the place you want to shop next, and start picking your offers.
Put all the offers you want into your cart. You don't HAVE to use them, so don't feel obligated. My rule of thumb is that if there's even a small chance I think I'll buy it, I put it in.
If your offer is available at multiple stores you've chosen, you can choose to add it to another store, or all of them, up to you.
You can also browse by category, if you really want a specific thing, like milk, and don't want to look through all the offers at a certain store. Just pick "Grocery", select your store, then select "Dairy and Eggs".
There are hundreds of offers at every store. I know I only have two offers chosen, but that's because I just went and redeemed 10 or so offers. I just don't want you to worry that Ibotta won't have anything you'll use.
IBOTTA FREE AFTER OFFER
This is something I've only seen at Walmart on Ibotta, but it's really cool. If you find an offer that has "Free After Offer", it means that you get the cost back in your Ibotta app once you make the purchase.
For me, these things are no brainers, I'm buying them. And, since there is a limit on how many you can buy, you're not going to run into a case where someone has come in and snatched all of them up since it basically cost them nothing.
I've ended up trying some new things this way, stuff I would probably not have purchased in the course of normal shopping.