Happy Thanksgiving! I am super thankful for my family, my friends, my health, this super fun and rewarding travel hacking hobby, and YOU GUYS - my readers! My hope is that you are enjoying time with family and friends, hopefully post-turkey-binging-unbuttoning-your-pants-sitting-on-the-couch-watching-football, while reading this.
Following a day of giving thanks and gorging on food, our "American tradition" has us gorging on materialism -- Black Friday and Cyber Monday! Yes! Sarcasm aside, shopping has always been a necessity of life, and it just so happens that many of the best and money saving deals happen on these 2 days of the year. So, if you were planning on spending money anyways, why not save some, amiright?
Cash Back Portals
I've written many times on cash back cards, but have yet to touch on cash back portals. If you do any online shopping whatsoever, you are missing out on TONS of potential cash back, if you're not using a cash back portal. I've written previously on Giving Assistant, which at one point was giving 5% cash back on all Amazon purchases! Unfortunately, they are no longer doing so, but still have great cash back rates on many other online stores. Here is a breakdown of all the cash back portals I've signed up for and used, based mostly on reviews of how well they track your purchases, and how quickly they send you your cash:
- Giving Assistant:
- Minimum payout amount: $5.01
- Pays out daily, if you link your debit card. Pays out on the 1st of the month the month following your purchase, if you choose the PayPal payout option. Pays out quarterly (May 1, August 1, November 1, February 1), if you choose the physical check option.
- Total cash back I've earned: $47.42
- Minimum payout amount: $5.01
- Pays out quarterly (May 15, August 15, November 15, February 15), based on which previous quarter the purchases were made in, either via physical check or PayPal.
- Total cash back I've earned: $287.81
- Minimum payout amount: $25
- Pays out within 10 business days once requested
- Pays out via physical check, PayPal, or Amazon gift card (with additional 3% cash back on the first $500 for the calendar year and 2% thereafter)
- You get a $10 sign-up bonus if you use my referral link!
- Total cash back I've earned: $288.89
- Minimum payout amount: $0.01
- Pays out via ACH to your bank account, PayPal, Amazon gift card (with additional 2.5% bonus), or American Express Gift Card ($20 minimum accured for payout)
- Total cash back I've earned: $287.20
Online Shopping Process
So let's do a walk through on how to use these cash back portals! Let's say I am looking to purchase an iPad through Staples.com, due to a good Black Friday/Cyber Monday deal. The first thing I usually do is check the portal cash back percentages on www.cashbackmonitor.com. On the main site, there is a listing of the most popular stores, but you can always search for the specific online retailer you're looking to buy at. In this case, Staples is on the front page. I click the link, and this is what I see:
As you can see, Giving Assistant is giving the highest cash back, for Staples, through its portal. I would simply click the Giving Assistant link, sign in to my Giving Assistant account if I had not already done so, make my iPad purchase at Staples, then wait for my cash back to automatically hit my linked debit/checking account! So easy!
However, you can still choose the other portals I've listed above, but your cash back would simply be less (TopCashBack 4.54%, BeFrugal 3.5%, Ebates 2%). If you are looking to earn airline miles, Cash Back Monitor does a great job of listing the number of miles/$ you would earn if you went through those portals as well! I know, great, right?!
There is one more great tool to aid your money saving ability for the next couple of shopping days and beyond. I recently learned about Paribus, which gives the following description from their website on how they work:
"SIGN UP - Connect your mailbox to let the Paribus Receipt Fetcher identify purchases. SHOP AS YOU NORMALLY DO - Paribus works quietly in the background to monitor for opportunities to get money back. GET PAID - Whenever you are eligible, Paribus automatically files price adjustment claims on your behalf."
Their automated system simply requests cash back, on money back that is guaranteed by retailers when prices fall, on your behalf! This is the perfect cash back supplement to your online shopping with the portals!
There is money to be spent, and there is money to be made (back from spending)! There is a philosophy that states, "It takes money to make money." While this phrase doesn't apply exactly in this situation, what's true is that you will definitely be putting some cash money back into your pockets while utilizing all the tools I've shared above! Again, Happy Thanksgiving! And happy shopping knowing you're not spending as much as you thought you were!
*All links above are referral links that give me a small referral bonus. If you decide to sign up through them, thank you so much!
*If you are interested in learning how maximize cash back, earn tons of miles/points, and maximize your rewards redemptions, then click HERE!