Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Using Ebates

One of the things I'm shopping for this week is wedding gifts.  We just got back from my cousin's wedding, and I ordered her gift yesterday.  We also have two weddings coming up in June and July for which I am ordering gifts.  I find that the easiest thing to do is to order from the couple's online registry and have it shipped to them, especially if we're not attending the wedding.  And one step that's become a habit for me when online shopping is to use Ebates.

You may already know about Ebates; if not, the concept is simple.  You start all your online shopping by going to the Ebates site and then clicking on the retailer you choose.  While not every online store is available on the site, many of the major ones are.  Then, just for clicking through the Ebates site, Ebates will give you a certain percentage of cash back on your purchase.  That's all you have to do!

Just to give you an idea of the stores included, my "favorite" stores on my account include Children's Place, Snapfish, Target, Ebay, and One Step Ahead.  The amount of cash back varies for each store; around 3% seems average.  However, for some stores it is as high as 10% or even 15%!

When you first sign up for Ebates, you get a $5 bonus right off the bat.  Then, if you refer others to the site, and they sign up and make a purchase, you receive another $5 bonus for each friend you refer! (If you sign up through my link, I will get a bonus.)  That could definitely add up to a little cash if you get your friends and family members to sign up!

Ebates sends you a check every 3 months, as long as you've earned over $5 in that period.  If not, they just carry it over to the next payment period.  I have received several small checks from them with no problem.  The site automatically keeps track of the cash back you're owed, and it credits your account within a few days to a few weeks, depending on the retailer.  If you notice cash back missing from a purchase you made, you can also email them and get it credited.  Overall, however, my cash back has been credited correctly the majority of the time.

Ebates is one of those little things that I do that is not going to make a huge difference in our bottom line, but it can make just a little money to help with those "extras."  It requires almost no effort, so getting into the habit was worth it to me.

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