Deals, coupons, Promo codes, and cashback shopping sites have proliferated over the last several years. It’s now easier than ever to get cashback on virtually every online purchase you make. The problem is that we often forget to use the sites when shopping online. I learned this firsthand last week. Here’s what happened.
Last week I decided to purchase Dragon Dictate version 4 for the Mac. The retail cost of the program is $199. Before making the purchase online, however, I decided to see if there were any rebate offers. I first went to a site called EVreward.com. I had recently discovered this site and had mentioned it on the weekly dough roller podcast.
On EVreward.com I searched for Dragon Dictate. The results of the search showed several ways to save money on the software.
Of particular interest to me was a list of cash back reward sites that offer discounts on the software. The search results also showed points programs and even frequent-flier mile programs and how much I can earn if I made the purchase using an airline miles credit card.
Wanting the cash back, I selected one of the rewards websites listed. That quickly took me to a page where I could purchase Dragon Dictate at a 10% discount. So in exchange for about five minutes of my time, I saved $20 on the purchase. (Using my favorite cash back credit card, I saved an additional 2%.)
As a result, I thought I’d share with you some of the best cash back, rebate and promo code sites available today. We’ll start with the one I used to buy Dragon Dictate.
1. Big crumbs
This site was started in 2005 and is based in Atlanta, Georgia. Through big crumbs you can currently shop at over 1,200 online retailers. Depending on the retailer, shoppers will earn a cash back reward in their big crumbs account. So how does it work?
Big crumbs is paid a commission each time a visitor clicks through one of its links to an online retailer. Big crumbs shares a portion of that commission with its users. Because the commissions vary from one retailer to another, the amount of the cash back reward also varies.
A quick review of the website shows cash back rewards ranging from about 1% to over 10%. For example, 1–800–flowers pays a 10.8% cash back reward. In contrast, Alamo car rental pays 1.8% in cash back.
To earn the rewards, users must visit big crumbs before shopping online. Once you find the online retailer on the big crumbs website, you need to click the available link on big crumbs to be taken to the online retailer of your choice. Only by going to big crumbs first does big crumbs earn a commission. That commission, in turn, is what results in the cash back rewards to the users.
Founded in 1998, Ebates was one of the original cash back sites. It offers deals on over 1,700 online retailers with cash back savings of up to 10% or more. It offers a daily double where the cash back rewards for a given retailer is doubled for that day. It also offers a browser tool that makes finding cash back deals very easy while you shop online. Ebates also owns the popular Fat Wallet deals site.
Swagbucks takes a different approach to earning rewards online. Frankly, it’s not my favorite site, but I list it here because its approach appeals to many. Once registered, you earn Swagbucks a number of ways. Shopping online is just one way. You can also earn Swagbucks by using its search tool, watching advertiser videos, answering questions, to name a few. In this regard, Swagbucks is a combination between online shopping and taking surveys.
Once earned, you can redeem Swagbucks for branded gift cards from retailers. Generally, you earn a $5 gift card for every 500 Swagbucks. As I’ve mentioned, it’s not my favorite approach. I want cold hard cash, not Swagbucks. But it’s a popular alternative in part because you can earn rewards without spending money.
4. Mr. Rebates
This site works muck like Big Crumbs and Ebates. The stores listed on the site pay Mr. Rebates a commission when you shop online from a link on the Mr. Rebates site. Mr. Rebates than shares that commission with you.
The key is to shop around. Mr. Rebates my offer stores that the other sites do not, or the cash back percentage could be different from one site to the next. There is a lot of overlap, but you’ll also find some better deals depending on the online retailer. The key is to check out each of these sites before making a buying decision.
One of the oldest sites on this list, ShopAtHome offers cash back from more than 3,000 merchants. The site also provides a host of coupons, including printable grocery coupons. It offers a free browser app that provides real-time alerts, and they publish a free weekly newsletter.
The company was founded in 1986, long before the internet as we know it. Today it has more than 100 employees scouring the net looking for deals.