I mentioned at the end of last year that I learned a whole lot about shopping online and saving money during the 2007 holiday shopping season. One of the things I learned was to never, ever shop without going through some kind of rewards portal if at all possible.
In the last few months, my favorite shopping portal has become Ebates. The premise is simple: each merchant gives you back a percentage of your purchase. The percentage depends on the merchant, and some give back more than others. Every three months, Ebates sends you a check or deposits your cash back into your PayPal account, as long as you’ve accumulated more than $5.00 in cash back from purchases (in other words, credit from sign-up bonuses and referrals don’t count toward the $5.00 minimum).
Ebates has hundreds of merchants signed up, and the process of shopping through them is super simple. All you have to do is go to their site, find the merchant, click through, and shop like you normally would. You can also use coupon codes for extra savings. Ebates will even tell you that coupons are available when you call up the merchant, so you can elect to apply the coupon automatically when you click through. This worked well for me when I bought a bouquet through Teleflora for my mom for Mother’s Day a few weeks ago.
I got my first payout earlier this month, and it went straight into my PayPal account without a problem. (I would have reviewed Ebates earlier, but was waiting until I had received a payout. And I have!) It’s very easy to select PayPal as the payment option: just click on “My Account,” then scroll down to the bottom of the page to edit “Payment Options.”
I’m sure someone will comment that FatWallet is also a great shopping portal and I don’t doubt it. I’ve been told that some of the merchants give more cash back at Ebates and others give more at FatWallet, so it pays to sign up with both sites. I just haven’t felt the need to join FatWallet yet, but I might before this year’s holiday shopping season. If I do, I’ll be sure to review it for you.
In the meantime, if you want to sign up with Ebates, they are currently offering a $10 bonus to new members. (Update: I think you have to make a purchase by June 30 to get the bonus.) If you sign up through this affiliate link, I’ll also get $10 and possibly a $10 Target giftcard. So if you use the affiliate link, thank you! (It looks like there is no sign-up bonus if you don’t use an affiliate link, I’m not sure why. If I’m wrong about that, please let me know!)
Have fun shopping!