Cash back apps

Do YNABers tend to recommend using cash back apps like Ibotta or Rakuten?

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  • You better believe it!  

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  •  Many use them, many don’t. Since they don’t require tedious input for no gain, they are different than the “spare the change” apps you’ll occasionally see people waving a big fat “No” flag about here. There’s no difficulty in pairing them with YNAB so it’s really about your own preferences.

    I find them not worth my time. I have a credit card I’m happy with that I use for most purchases, and when I reconcile it once a month, I click any of the cash back deals on the card that I seem likely to possibly redeem, and then I don’t think anything more of it. 

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  • Yup. Never leave free money on the table. Rakuten (previously Ebates) doesn’t require anything extra from me. I have others but I have to enter things manually and upload receipts so I don’t bother. My credit card gets me over $1000 cash back per year (real money not points) so that is valuable too. 

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      • Annieland
      • YNABbing every day since 2009!
      • Annieland
      • 1 mth ago
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      MXMOM I have another ~$200 at least coming in Feb.  I look at my total of well over $3,000 and I'm like, omg imagine if I just gave that away??  Sometimes I put the money back in the budget, loosely towards the type of shopping I did.  And other times I just leave it in PayPal for some eBay fun money.

      I looked at Ibotta once and THAT one made my head spin.  I was like, ok no way.  I used to extreme coupon but ibotta was just too much.

      But yes, I'm all for not leaving money on the table!!

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      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 4 days ago
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      Annieland you must share your secrets to such great returns! My frustration is that my husband always forgets to go through Rakuten when he orders from Amazon.  The browser extension doesn't work with Amazon.  And I still call it Ebates! 

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  • I've never used one of these services but I did read the Rakuten site briefly after seeing this post.  I have a couple of questions.

    1) If you are an Amazon Prime member how does this work?  Do you log into Amazon Prime to get the free shipping or do you link Rakuten to your Amazon account?  Basically how do you get the Amazon benefits at the same time as the Rakuten cash back.

    2) We all know there is no such thing as a free lunch.  What does Rakuten get in return for using their service?  Do they own and sell your shopping history so others can bombard you with advertisements?

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      • Annieland
      • YNABbing every day since 2009!
      • Annieland
      • 1 mth ago
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      ynaber2613 There's no linking, per se.  You can click through the Rakuten site or install a browser extension that pops up that you can click on.  I assume Rakuten makes a ton through the sites that participate.  In 16 years I've never noticed spam that I would trace to them.

      Regarding Amazon specifically, the cash back benefits are pretty meager and occasional.  But even then, it is completely separate from Prime.  You activate Rakuten (ugh it's so hard not to say ebates) on the site and shop as normal.

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    • Annieland Thanks for the info.

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 4 days ago
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      ynaber2613 

      ynaber2613 said:
      2) We all know there is no such thing as a free lunch.  What does Rakuten get in return for using their service?  Do they own and sell your shopping history so others can bombard you with advertisements?

       Rakuten, which used to be eBates, basically shares their commissions from referral links through affiliate programs. Rakuten also owns Linkshare which is one of the main drivers of affiliate programs.

      iBotta generally is pushed by manufacturers as a way to get people to buy certain products. It's like those manufacturers coupons that you peel off of a product container and scan at the register, but instead you submit your receipt.

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      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 3 days ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule one of the things I’ve done to deal with the onslaught of marketing emails is set up a specific gmail account that I use for any “signup to save” type of offers. That way during Black Friday and Boxing Day (and basically every day) my regular email account doesn’t get jammed up with irrelevant info. With Gmail it’s easy to have multiple accounts. I even set one up just for our upcoming trip so all the flight and hotel confirmations etc are in one easy to see everything place. 

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  • I use Ibotta (groceries), Upside (gas) and Rakuten (shopping) 

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