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You may have heard about Ibotta and are wondering if it’s actually worth using. I’m doing a full Ibotta review where I share how to use the app, if it’s really worth it to scan receipts, and share my personal cash back experience using Ibotta.
Ibotta isn’t a new app, but I feel like it’s gained a lot of popularity just in the past year. I can’t remember exactly how I learned about Ibotta in the first place, but I started using it in the middle of our debt payoff journey. I was looking for any way to earn cash back or save money on groceries.
I like to keep things simple, so I have always used Rakuten (formerly Ebates) and Ibotta rather than using 20 different apps. I know there are others, but these are the two that have worked best for me, and I’ve been able to use them consistently.
Unlike Rakuten, Ibotta is geared more towards in-store purchases. It’s the digital version of couponing where you can add “offers” to your list rather than clipping coupons.
How to Get Started with Ibotta
To get started with Ibotta, you need to have a compatible device that allows you to download the Ibotta app. Once you have downloaded the app, you need to have either a Paypal or Venmo account so that you can receive the cash back you earn. Alternatively, you can choose to collect rewards and cash them in for gift cards.
Once you’re in the app, you can find the stores that you most frequently shop in and add them to your favorites.
There are two different ways to redeem your cash earnings, and which one you use is just a matter of personal preference and the stores you shop at:
- Find offers before you go shopping and redeem them by taking a picture of your receipt after you’re done.
- Link your store loyalty cards to the app, find offers before you go shopping, and then Ibotta take care of the rest based on your loyalty card shopping records.
Either way you choose to do it, you will receive your cash back within 48 hours after hitting the $20 minimum for redemption.
Most of the stores that I shop at regularly do not have loyalty cards, so I take the picture of my receipt after getting home. I would definitely do the loyalty card if that were an option, though.
What Stores Does Ibotta Partner With?
Ibotta currently partners with 274 stores to include grocery stores, restaurants, big box stores, food delivery, apparel, entertainment, travel and more. It’s definitely worth looking through all of the stores, but you’ll probably find yourself using the app most frequently for grocery shopping.
As for grocery stores, you can find just about any major retailer on the list to include:
- Trader Joe’s
- Dollar General
- Sam’s Club
- Whole Foods
- Dollar Tree
- Military Commissary
- Family Dollar
And so many more!
Once I find the stores I shop at, I favorite them so that they’re easy to find when I go back into the app to find and redeem offers.
How Much Can You Expect in Cash Back
The amount of cash you receive back is really hard to estimate. It depends a lot on what deals are offered and your purchasing habits. Most people earn about $20-25 in the first month since you get the sign up bonus plus other incentives for using the app in your first month.
You can make even more money by referring friends to the app. If you love it, make sure to tell your friends about it. You can earn anywhere from $10-20 back from Ibotta for referring friends depending on what kind of promotions they are running. When you refer a friend, they are on your ‘team’ where you can occasionally earn cash back for what they purchase.
I don’t track this too closely, but I do share the things I love with friends and naturally receive cash back on occasion.
One thing that makes me extra happy about Ibotta is that you can ‘stack’ offers with other rebates you might have. If you have a coupon or rebate through another app, you can use that offer along with the Ibotta offer. For example, I had a coupon through Target for $2.50 off a box of Kids Perfect Bars that were normally $5.00. Ibotta was offering $2.00 cash back. After using the coupon and redeeming my receipt, I got a $5.00 box of Kids Perfect Bars for $0.50!
How NOT to Use Ibotta
You’ll see a lot of offers on interesting products, but I strongly encourage you to only use it for things you are already planning to purchase. You don’t save money if you just buy things you wouldn’t normally buy. Your cash back number will go up, but you had to spend more money to make it happen.
I create my grocery list and go into Ibotta to see if there are any offers on the things that I need. Sometimes there are no offers available for the things on my list, and that’s ok!
Occasionally I will switch brands if Ibotta has an offer on a different brand than I normally purchase. Whichever brand I can get cheapest is what I choose.
Like any app, you’re not going to earn a ton of money back, but every little bit counts to me. It’s a no-brainer to get money back on things that you are purchasing on a regular basis. Why miss out?
Download the app and give it a go for a month to see if it’s something that works for you. Go through this link to get an extra $5 just for cashing in your first offer.