As a stay at home mom, budgeting has become a way of life. Unfortunately, there comes a point where couponing and shopping sales isn’t enough and the holidays can be a brutal time. For me, this meant looking into how to not only save money, but earn it. A family member shared with me how she used Ibotta to earn cash back on her shopping trips for free. My first thought? SCAM. But I tried it and it WORKED. Today, I will share with you what Ibotta is, how it works, how I am using it to purchase Christmas presents and more! It’s super easy and it’s FREE.
I personally spend about 10 minutes a week using the app and have saved up over $150 in the past few months. I’ll share some tips and tricks I use to stay on top of it, but it’s fast and easy. As a stay at home mom, this gives me the ability to fill the gas tank or save money up for Christmas presents. No, you won’t save up heaps of money right away, but it accumulates quickly.
In full transparency, if you click my link to join, I earn extra cash back and so do you after your first redemption.
A quick introduction
Does it cost anything?
That is always my first question, so I’ll answer it before I dive into anything else. NO. It doesn’t cost anything. It is essentially the same and clipping coupons on the Target or Walmart app. In fact, you can use store coupons AND Ibotta coupons to stack savings!!
What is Ibotta?
Ibotta is a free cash-back app that allows you to essentially clip manufacturer coupons and redeem cash back when you provide your receipt. The cash-back comes in the form of gift cards or direct deposit to your account.
How does it work?
Once you download the free app, you browse the 2000+ stores and brands. Open a store (ex: Target) and scroll through all of the available coupons. Hit the (+) on any offer you wish to redeem and then upload your receipt! I’ll share some tips for maximizing your savings in a little bit.
Is it safe?
You do not need to provide bank information to earn cash back. You DO NOT need to share your social security number either. I usually earn cash back and use it to purchase gift cards for stores that I frequent. Target and Starbucks are my go-to gift cards. Don’t worry, I’ll provide a list of participating companies at the end of this article. You can also do a direct deposit via PayPal, which is a safe option.
Step 1: Download the App
Go to your device’s App Store and download the free Ibotta app. It’s a pink square with “ib” in the center.
Step 2: Create an Account
Please click here so that we can both get a referral bonus. Then create a free account!
Step 3: Start Saving!
Take a look around! You will see 2000+ of your favorite stores and brands listed on Ibotta. Some of my favorites are: Walmart, Target, Starbucks, Woodmans, and Hy-Vee. Keep in mind, you can often redeem with in-store or online!
Step 4: Start Clipping
It can be overwhelming at first to see so many options. I personally started with just Target. I opened Target in Ibotta and browsed all of the offers before my shopping trip. I’ll share some tips and tricks below on maximizing results.
My most clipped offers are for beef hotdogs, diapers ( $6 back on Huggies!!!), and Kraft cheese.
Step 5: Start Shopping and Save Your Receipts
Go to your store of choice after clipping offers and shop! You will notice that they often have an offer for a different brand than you usually buy.
Ex: they had an offer recently for a similarly priced ketchup brand that I don’t usually buy, but it was a hefty cash-back offer. I chose what I wasn’t familiar with for the savings.
Step 6: Upload Your Receipts
I always double check my offers to make sure I didn’t purchase something that had an available offer that I missed. Then I select “upload a receipt” and scan in my receipt to the app. It then applies any available offers and gives you a grand total of what you’ll be receiving as cash back. Don’t be discouraged if it is less than a dollar- this isn’t a get rich quick scheme. It will take time! But it gets easier and faster once you start scanning for multiple stores.
Hot tip: there are a lot of offers that are available for multiple stores. When you open an offer, the description will pop-up and tell you which stores the offer is available to redeem at online and in-person.
It is important to note that you can upload your store receipts up to 7 days after your purchases. Anything after that won’t be accepted.
Certain stores can be connected to loyalty accounts so that your receipts are uploaded automatically! I did this back when you could redeem offers on Target.com. I don’t recommend this because it doesn’t always work. I find using physical receipts more beneficial.
Step 7: Utilize Special Offers, Bonuses, BOGOS, and Free Items
I recently started to do this and wish I had started sooner! Ibotta had a ton of bonuses where you get extra money for “completing a challenge”. Often, you don’t have to do anything special, it just does it automatically.
Ex: They often have bonuses for redeeming a certain amount of offers. I was pleasantly surprised today when I uploaded a receipt and received an extra $5 for redeeming over 13 offers this week!
Bonuses can be found on the main page under “earn more with bonuses”. Or on the bottom of the app menu.
If you keep a special eye out during holidays, they often have offers for buying food and getting 100% cash back! Specifically, they will do offers during thanksgiving for stuffing, green beans, other sides, and even a Turkey! They will give you 100% of the cash back. It’s soooo helpful when you are struggling to purchase a Thanksgiving dinner.
Step 8: Redeem Your Earnings
This is Ibotta language for cashing out. Once you hit the $20 minimum, you can select either a store gift card or have the money deposited into your account. I find the gift cards more helpful because I get the codes almost immediately and apply them to my online accounts (Starbucks, Target, Amazon). It can take a few days for money to be deposited in your your account, But it works.
Tips and Tricks for Maximizing Your Earnings
- Choose a day once a week to open Ibotta and select your favorite store (mine is target or woodmans). Select EVERY SINGLE OFFER that you might possibly use. Sometimes an item you bought has an offer that you didn’t even know existed.
- Scan groceries at the store into Ibotta to see if there’s an equivalent item with an offer available. I did this with the ketchup I mentioned above. In the search bar of the app, you will notice there’s a little barcode option on the right hand side. Use this to scan barcodes in the store. This takes longer, but it helps if you have time!
- I have a baggie on my fridge and my husband and I both put our receipts in it during the week. At the end of the week, I scan all of my receipts at the same time so that I’m not stressed about it during the week.
- Do you have a shopping buddy? This is a bit sketchy, but I often grocery shop with my dad. In exchange for my company and help at the store, I get to scan his receipts as well. Thanks, Dad!
- Keep an eye on “any item” or “any receipt” offers. These are awesome! They are not brand or price specific and are often items you will be purchasing: cheese, milk, bread, etc. I always save these first!
There you have it!
Download the app and get to saving! I hope this tutorial helped you out and that your Ibotta journey treats you well!