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Best Cashback Sites for the Holidays

Best Cashback Sites for the Holidays

Whether you are getting ready to complete some last-minute holiday shopping or are looking for a good way to save money in the New Year, there are some websites that can help you reduce your expenses. Cashback sites promise to make online purchases less expensive, and some of them are definitely the real deal.

How Do Cashback Sites Work?

Each cashback site has its own specific rules, but the basic formula remains the same. These websites make money by having an affiliate link to popular e-retailers, and they share part of their earnings with their users. Before you buy something, you need to click through the cashback site to your online store of choice. Any qualifying purchases will then earn you a credit with the cashback site. After you have accumulated enough credit, you will be able to receive a cashback reward.

There are several cashback sites available, but it is typically best to stick with just one or two of them so that you can earn rewards more quickly. Here is a starter list of ten of the best cashback sites to help you get started.

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1. Ebates

Ebates users have accumulated more than $325 million in cashback rewards since this site was launched in 1999. This makes Ebates one of the top choices for consumers who want to earn money on their purchases. The perks that make this one of the best cashback sites for members includes a combination of coupons and a reward that is equal to anywhere from 1 to 40 percent of the purchase price. When you put these two methods together, it is easy for people to end up saving a lot of money on holiday gifts.

2. BeFrugal

BeFrugal has been helping consumers save money since 2009. This cashback site utilizes a program that is similar to Ebates, and users can save up to 30 percent on items from more than 4,000 stores. Additionally, Be Frugal offers online coupon codes and printable coupons that can be used at approximately 250 national restaurant chains. Users can also take advantage of the Fly or Drive Calculator to determine which option makes the most sense from a financial perspective.

3. FatWallet

FatWallet is owned by the same parent company as Ebates, but they both manage to offer unique functionality that sets them apart from each other. FatWallet follows the same basic formula by offering cashback and online coupons. However, this site places a bigger emphasis on deals and coupons, and consumers can sign up to receive alerts when a specific item goes on sale. Because of these variances, it may make sense for frugal online shoppers to use FatWallet to track sales prices even if they choose a different cashback site for other purposes.

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4. Extrabux

Extrabux is also part of the Ebates family, and users have reportedly earned a combined $34 million in cashback rewards to date. Entrepreneur.com has called the company a “Social-Shopping Goldmine, and coupons and up to 30 percent in cashback are available for 2,500 e-retailers, and users instantly earn $5 just for signing up. Extrabux features a comparison shopping tool that makes it possible to quickly determine what online store has the best price on anything that you are looking for.

5. ShopAtHome

ShopAtHome was launched in 1986, which makes it the oldest surviving cashback site. Between the app and the website, consumers can search through more than 100,000 active coupon codes and earn up to 30 percent cashback from a list of 3,000 stores. ShopAtHome has an impressive 98 million users, and they have paid out more than $50 million in cashback rewards. The app contains exclusive discounts and rewards. Users can request a payment after they rack up $20 in their account.

6. Mr. Rebates

Mr. Rebates has been offering deals to consumers since 2002, and there is even a $5 cashback sign bonus making its rounds on youtube. Members can also earn a cashback percentage of up to 30 percent for each purchase they make, and some companies offer a flat dollar amount. There are also coupons offered for more than 2,000 online stores. Mr. Rebates pays members after they earn $10 in cashback rewards, and payments are offered via check or PayPal.

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7. TopCashBack

TopCashBack began as a U.K. cashback site in 2005, and the company launched their U.S. version six years later. The website has discount codes and cashback rewards just like every other option on this list, but with one major difference: TopCashBack promises to rate match if you find a better deal on another site. In other words, if TopCashBack is offering 3 percent back for an online retailer but ShopAtHome will give you 4 percent, you can get TopCashBack to honor the 4 percent rate. ShopAtHome also makes all of its revenue from ads, which means that they give 100 percent of the cashback that e-retailers offer directly to consumers.

8. Swagbucks

Swagbucks embraces the typical formula of giving users discount codes and cashback on purchases. This site also provides an expanded list of options for earning account credits. For example, there are several surveys that users can take, and you can also watch short video advertisements to add more Swagbucks into your account. As an added bonus, Swagbucks has its own search engine, and this means that you can earn rewards by simply surfing the web. This combination has led to payouts that total more than $116.7 million.

9. MyPoints

MyPoints predates Swagbucks, but the two have a very similar platform. You can print coupons and earn 10 points each time you redeem one in a local store. Facebook credits can be earned and points are also awarded for taking surveys and playing games. Making an online purchase through an affiliate will typically provide you with a pre-specified number of points. After you accumulate enough points to order a reward, you can choose between gift cards, cash or travel miles.

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10. Main Street Shares

Main Street Shares was formerly known as BigCrumbs, but this cashback site has decided to up the ante by making users eligible to earn additional money if the startup is acquired in the future by a bigger company. Therefore, while you are taking advantage of coupons and cashback rewards, you will also see your msSHARES amount continuously increase. Main Street Shares has pledged to share at least 50 percent of any future acquisition revenue with members who have earned msSHARES.

As you can see, all of these cashback sites have at least a couple of things in common, so it would be wise to determine which ones offer deals for your favorite online stores. From there, you can add at least one of these sites to your existing list of ways to save money. With a little time and patience, you can earn enough cashback to dramatically cut back on your holiday expenses.

Featured photo credit: Cash Back/GotCredit via flic.kr

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Holly Chavez

Writer, Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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