The Best Ways to Use Cashback

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Cashback Websites

There are several great cashback sites and you can earn some money back on nearly any purchase. I try to always go through cashback websites when I am shopping online. It really pays off, especially for big-ticket items.

The way that cashback operates is simple. It is basically a brand saying to a website “tell your friends about this product and we will pay you a commission on whatever they buy“. The brand or the company will then pay the cashback site the commission on your purchase. The cashback website then shares this commission with you. The way that the website makes money is the brand paying to be on the site, this is called a tenancy. That way they can forward the entire commission over to you.

How does it work? Well, you simply click on the link to the website from the cashback site. This will then register on the cashback and the retailer’s site and will track your purchase. You may notice this in the address bar at the top of the browser. This is the link that lets the retailer know that you purchased through the cashback site. This way, they know who they owe the commission to.

Cashback deals will often be a solid percentage back on your purchase whilst others may offer an incentive e.g. £15 voucher when you spend over £80.

Next time you go to make a purchase, be it from simple groceries to big-ticket items, have a look and see if there is a website that you can go through in order to get a little cash back.

Cashback example | Quidco
Cashback example | VoucherCloud

With cashback sites, merchants will often rotate cashback exclusive’s around different websites. One site may only offer you 5% cashback whilst another site will offer you 10%. You may often find a better cashback rate when you shop around.

Below are some of my favourite cashback sites:

Cashback Credit Cards

Cashback is a perk that many credit card companies offer on their rewards cards. You basically earn a percentage of the money back that you spend. Normally there is a limit on this cashback. Just think of it as a rebate on whatever you spend.

I have a love/hate relationship with credit cards. They ruined my life for a long time. I was a wreckless 18-year-old, as one of my friends once said: “I saw it as a gift card for every store”. This financially crippled me into my early twenties and caused my credit score to plummet.

Credit cards also saved my life. Last year I got an unexpected $4k tax bill from when I lived in America. I had no choice but to put it on a credit card and then transfer it to a 0% balance transfer card. As long as you know you can be responsible, a credit card can really work well.

The card I have now is a cashback card and I am using it for good. I use the American Express Everyday Cashback Card. In the first three months, you can earn 5% on all purchases (up to the limit of £100). I have just been putting all my living expenses on it and then paying it off in full each month. I am already on nearly £80 cashback after two months use. After the three months introductory period, it drops to a lower rate, around 1% I believe. After that, I will probably reevaluate what I use it for or only use it for the AMEX membership offers. It is basically free money.

AMEX CASHBACK EXAMPLE
AMEX CASHBACK EXAMPLE


Receipt Scanning

Now this concept is a little bit different and is something that I am only recently trying. You can scan your receipt for every single purchase and then get some cash back for your regular shopping.

You do have to be wary here, the way you get cashback is by companies having access to your consumer data. They will see the way you shop and see trends to market better to your demographic. Nothing is free after all.

There is one app called ZipZero that I have started to use. This gives you 1% on all purchases, and then sends it directly to a bill of your choice. This can be council tax, gas, electricity, phone, and tv license bills. It is not a lot of money, but every little helps.

ZIPZERO EXAMPLE


Another app is called Receipt Hog and uses gamification. You can play slots after you have collected a certain number of receipts. You can then get coins and rewards for the receipts that you upload.

RECEIPTHOG

The End

As with everything good in life, there are some drawbacks. Cashback often takes 3-4 months to payout so do not expect any quick cash. Play the long game and you just might earn yourself some extra spending money. My advice is to just be a conscious consumer and a smarter shopper. Let the cashback save up and then use it for something special.

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