Saving Money With Ibotta

by Jon Dulin

ibottaThe future is all about ease. In this I mean that technology is making our life more convenient. Take television for example. Years ago, when we wanted to watch a show, we either had to watch it as it aired or set up our VCR to record it. In comes the cable box that has a DVR and boom, life is much easier. When it comes to shopping, technology is at it again. Take for example Ibotta. Before Ibotta, you had to do a lot of work to save a little bit here and there. But with Ibotta, earning cash back is a breeze.

I know what many of you are thinking, “What the heck is Ibotta”? The answer is the wave of the future. Ibotta is an app for smartphones (both Android and iPhone) that has many money savings offers on various products. In its original release, Ibotta was strictly for grocery stores. But it has evolved into so much more. Here is an overview of the areas where Ibotta works:

  • Grocery Stores
  • Restaurants
  • Movie Theaters
  • Home Improvement Stores
  • Babies & Kids Stores

Stores Where Ibotta Works:

  • 7-Eleven
  • Acme Fresh Market
  • AMC Box Office
  • AMC Concessions
  • Babies R Us
  • Bi-Lo
  • Boyer’s
  • Buehler’s
  • Burger King
  • Chili’s
  • City Market
  • Costco
  • Country Mart (Lawton, OK)
  • CVS Pharmacy
  • Dillons
  • Dollar General
  • Dominick’s
  • Duane Reade
  • Edwards Box Office
  • Edwards Concessions
  • Family Dollar
  • Food Lion
  • Food4Less
  • Fred Meyer
  • Fry’s
  • Giant Eagle
  • H-E-B
  • Harris Teeter
  • Home Depot
  • Homeland
  • Hy-Vee
  • Ingles
  • Jay C
  • King Soopers
  • Kroger
  • Lowe’s
  • Martin’s
  • Meijer
  • Military Commissary
  • Pathmark
  • Pavilions
  • Petco
  • PetSmart
  • Pick ‘N Save
  • Piggly Wiggly Midwest
  • Price Chopper (KS & MO)
  • Publix
  • QFC
  • Ralphs
  • Randalls
  • Reasor’s
  • Redner’s Markets
  • Regal Box Office
  • Regal Concessions
  • Remke Markets
  • Ridley’s
  • Rio Ranch
  • Rite Aid
  • Safeway
  • Sam’s Club
  • ShopRite
  • Smashburger
  • Smith’s
  • Stop & Shop
  • Target
  • Tom Thumb
  • Toys R Us
  • United Artists Box Office
  • United Artists Concessions
  • Vons
  • Walgreens
  • Walmart
  • Wegmans
  • Whole Foods
  • WinCo Foods
  • Winn-Dixie

How Ibotta Works

First, you need to download the app here. From there you open the app and can browse through all of the offers. There are various ways to sort the offers which makes it much easier to find the products you are interested in.

ibotta

Next, you select a product that you are planning to buy and complete a task. Each product offer has 3 tasks that you can complete, each worth a different cash back amount. Overall, there 12 different tasks you may be asked to complete:

  • Post on Facebook
  • Post on Twitter
  • Learn a Fact about the product
  • Watch a Video about the product
  • Take a Poll
  • Play Trivia
  • How To
  • Nutrition
  • Get a Recipe
  • Seal of Approval
  • Testify
  • Do Gooder

The products that you completed tasks for will be added to your checklist so that you remember to pick up the item next time you are out shopping. When you head out to the store and buy the products, you unlock the cash back amount you earned from completing the tasks above.

The last step you have to complete is to verify your purchases. This is done in one of two ways.

If the store is an Ibotta Preferred Partner all you have to do is link your store loyalty card or phone number with Ibotta. When you check out using either your loyalty card or phone number, you are all set!

If the store is not an Ibotta Preferred Partner, you need to take a picture of your receipt and follow the instructions in the app. (This is super easy to do. I’ve done it a handful of times without issue.)

From there, all you do is link up your PayPal account with Ibotta. Once your balance reaches $5, you can withdraw the cash from Ibotta. If you would rather get gift cards, you can do so as well.

How Ibotta Saves Me Money (And You As Well)

Here is quick example of how Ibotta helped me earn cash back last week. I found three products I needed to buy on the app. I headed out to the store where I paid $6.29 total. Through completing the tasks in Ibotta I earned $1.75 cash back. That means I just saved 28% on what I bought. It took me a cool two minutes to take the survey and learn facts about the products and another minute to take a picture of my receipt.

Other Key Points About Ibotta

There are a few more things you need to know about Ibotta:

  • Some stores offer “store exclusives”. This is important to know because if you don’t sort this way, you might miss out on some offers.
  • Offers do expire. If an offer is expiring, Ibotta makes it clear that it is expiring.
  • You can use coupons with Ibotta. When you go shopping, you can still use store coupons or store sales on the products you buy. Ibotta is completely exclusive from these offers. I once went to a store and had a coupon. Between the coupon I had and the cash back from Ibotta, I paid $0.35.
  • New stores are always being added. When Ibotta first came out, they were partners with 3 stores. In less than a year, they are over 50. I regularly get updates on new stores being added.
  • Ibotta offers bonuses. There are countless bonuses that Ibotta offers to earn more cash back. You earn a few extra dollars just for completing certain tasks.

Final Thoughts

I’ve been using Ibotta for a while now and can’t say enough good things about it. The app’s layout is clean and very easy to use. New products are offered all of the time as well as new stores. I’ve never had an issue submitting a receipt or getting credit for the products I buy. I really don’t have anything bad to say about the app. At first when Ibotta only partnered with a few grocery stores it was a little tough to use. But with so many stores now, that issue is not an issue any longer.

Lastly, you do earn a bonus when signing up with Ibotta. After you make your first purchase (within 10 days of registering), you earn an extra $2 cash back (plus the opportunity to earn another $10 through various bonuses I mentioned above). I realize this isn’t a life altering amount, but it’s a nice little bonus for trying out the app.

Click here to download Ibotta!

Per my terms of disclosure, I am not getting paid anything from Ibotta for writing this post. I wrote this post because that’s how impressed I was with this app. If you click on the links and earn cash back from Ibotta (meaning they deposit money into your Paypal account), I get a referral fee. You can get a referral fee as well by getting your friends to sign up as well.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Veronica @ Pelican on Money September 6, 2012 at 12:20 am

Swag bucks is a glorified affiliate program masked as a rewards site. This is different how again?

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moneysma September 6, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Ibotta is different in that you get money for buying the products you already buy. There is not earning “points” that you have to redeem. You earn cash (and a decent amount) that you can transfer to Paypal. Put another way, when I used Swag Bucks, it was a lot of work for me to do to get the “swag bucks”. With Ibotta, I only have to review the app to see if there are things on my shopping list on the app that I can get cash for.

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Mary Anne @ BillGuard March 28, 2013 at 5:08 pm

I haven’t tried this app yet, but I do like the idea of earning cash rather than points. Cash has less fine print, it’s value is straightforward, and it can never be taken away once its deposited in your account. Points, on the other hand, are more confusing with regard to valuation, they carry more fine print, and they’re subject to expiration.
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moneysma March 28, 2013 at 8:17 pm

I agree….there is too much work involved with trying to figure out the value of points and whether a deal really is a deal.

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Nick December 10, 2013 at 10:20 am

Pretty interesting stuff. I’ll have to check it out. I use swagbucks and used to spend way too much time trying to earn points – probably making about 9 cents an hour. I tend to be a little competitive with things like that so I watched all the videos, etc., while theoretically multitasking, but it definitely was a loss in terms of time in v. value unless you just straight search on swagbucks like you would on anything else and than the $5 from amazon every couple of months or whatever.
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Jon December 10, 2013 at 8:36 pm

I really enjoy using it. I find products all of the time through Ibotta and I really like how they have added restaurants as well.

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Ryan @ Impersonal Finance December 14, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Thanks for sharing! I love saving money, do I’m definitely going to try it out. It seems like it might be a faster money saver than coupons, and maybe be great combining them with coupons.

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Jon December 16, 2013 at 2:46 pm

I personally love it. It takes a few minutes to run through the offers to see if anything I need has cash back offered.

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