Today I’d like to dig deeper on how to really maximize your savings and not just save a few bucks here and there. Because I’ve figured out how to MAKE money with Ibotta!
First though – if you’ve never heard of Ibotta, here’s how it works:
- Download the Ibotta app for free. Click HERE to do that (it works whether you’re on the computer or on your smart phone).
- Open the app and browse through the available rebates, unlocking any rebates for things you were going to buy anyway. (You unlock the rebate by tapping the plus sign.)
- Shop at the store like you normally would.
- Upload your receipts.
- Get paid.
Check out my honest review on Ibotta for more information on how it works.
Once you’ve signed up for Ibotta, here are 16 ways you can maximize your time and account so you can actually MAKE money with Ibotta!
16 Ways to Make Money with Ibotta
1. Link Your Store Loyalty Card
Ibotta works with over 300 stores, but they work directly with a handful of stores. These stores are called Preferred Partners, and you don’t even have to scan in your receipts when you shop there.
This is important to note, because you MUST link your store loyalty card with Ibotta in order to receive rebates from them. And it’s recommended that you do it at least 24 hours BEFORE you shop.
To not miss out on any savings at your favorite stores:
- Sign up for Ibotta here.
- See if you shop at any of the stores on this list.
- If you do, find that store within the app and tap the green “Verify Purchases” button at the bottom of the screen. Scan or enter your loyalty card number. That’s it!
2. Look for Bonus Rebates
There are always bonus rebates going on for various items and they’re often linked to the current holiday season.
For example, around Christmas there was a bonus rebate for buying a certain amount of baking items. Around the Super Bowl, there was a big bonus when you redeemed a certain number of rebates. As of this posting, there’s a bonus simply because the Oscars are coming up.
Bonus rebates are icing on the cake for rebates you were going to redeem anyway because if there’s a bonus rebate, there’s likely an individual rebate too!
For example, right now there is a bonus rebate for a name-brand yogurt: earn $1 when you redeem yogurt on 3 or more shopping trips.
There is also an individual rebate for 50¢ off any size of this name-brand yogurt.
When you have bonus rebates that also have individual rebates, it’s like double dipping without even meaning too (and you’re earning free money!). This is a great way to make money with Ibotta!
3. Watch for Recurring Rebates
As you use Ibotta for a little while, you’ll notice that some rebates will show up over and over again. This is by design, because even if you redeem a rebate, the rebate promotion AS A WHOLE is still going on.
This means you can take advantage by redeeming the same rebate during the rebate promotion period!
How do you do this? Simple. Ibotta has a rule of “one receipt per rebate,” meaning you cannot submit the same receipt for multiple identical rebates.
The workaround though, is to pay for a second item separately – specifically, an item that you’re pretty sure will show up again.
The name-brand yogurt I mentioned earlier is a perfect example of this. Because the bonus rebate requires you to redeem the individual rebate 3 times, you know that it will show up again once you’ve redeemed it.
Now, I know you don’t want to go to the store multiple times during the week. Because you have 7 days AFTER you purchase to submit your receipt (more on that below), go ahead and buy the second container of yogurt now. Redeem your rebate as soon as you get home.
Then, check the Ibotta app again in 2-3 days. Since the promotion is still going on, the yogurt rebate should be back and you can submit your second receipt for that second rebate!
4. Buy the Smallest Container
Many rebates will say “valid on any variety, any size.” Use these to your advantage and buy the smallest and ideally, the cheapest size you can. This will give you the most savings and maximum profit!
Continuing with the yogurt example, let me show you how you can practically make money with Ibotta just by choosing a smaller container. Let’s assume for these scenarios that a single serving container (about 5oz) is $1 where a 32 oz container is $4.
Example 1: Use the rebates on the 5 oz containers:
3 yogurts x $1 each = $3 total – 50¢ (x3) individual rebates – 50¢ bonus rebate = $1 out of pocket
Example 2: Use the rebates on the 32 oz containers:
3 yogurts x $4 each = $12 total – 50¢ (x3) individual rebates – 50¢ bonus rebate = $10 out of pocket
Just by choosing the smaller container, we’re saving $9 on yogurt alone!
5. Shop at the Dollar Stores
Not all “dollar store” are created equal, but for those where everything truly is just one dollar, definitely use the Ibotta app when you shop there!
As I type this, there are 23 rebates available at Dollar Tree.
Of those rebates, 9 are for $1 – which means 100% FREE products.
There are also 4 rebates worth MORE than $1 – which means making a profit when you purchase those items!
Shopping at the dollar store is an easy way to MAKE MONEY with Ibotta!
6. Use Your Price Book to Price Shop for Best Deals
Creating a price book is the easiest way to know what stores have the best deals on items you buy most often. I wrote about how to make a price book here, and gave a real life example of how a price book can save you money here.
Note: A price book is one of the best ways to get the rock bottom prices on your most purchased items! Learn more about using a price book and all my money saving strategies in Grocery Budget Bootcamp.
If you use your price book to go to the store that has the best deal, you can not just save money, but MAKE money with Ibotta.
For example, right now there is a 25¢ rebate for a single pouch of Justin’s brand peanut butter. These pouches cost $1.19 at my local Kroger, but they’re only 50¢ at Sprouts! If I were to shop Sprouts instead of Kroger, I’m automatically saving another 69¢ on top of the rebate!
7. Stack Rebates Together
There are times when there are rebates for a specific brand of something, as well as “any brand” rebates. When this happens, you can redeem both by purchasing just one item!
For example, not long ago there were two rebates available for ground beef:
- 25¢ off any brand
- 75¢ off Laura’s Lean Beef
This means that you get both the 25¢ rebate AND the 75¢ rebate just by buying ONE package of Laura’s Lean Beef!
You can see the image above for “any brand” bread and Mikey’s sliced bread. If you bought one package of Mikey’s sliced bread, you’d qualify for BOTH rebates!
8. Stacking Rebates with Sales and Coupons
I did quit using coupons a couple years ago, but I simply cannot mention the tremendous savings when you stack rebates with sales and coupons. Let me walk you through this for a second.
Coupons are usually released to coincide with sale prices. Ibotta rebates are a form of advertising that work similarly to coupons.
This means if you find a rebate in Ibotta, there’s a good chance the item is currently on sale or will be on sale the next week… which means there’s a decent chance there will be a coupon in the Sunday paper too.
In short, we have a triple whammy: sale + coupon + rebate app(s)
Let’s use the example of Laura’s Beef from above. When those two Ibotta rebates were available, there “just so happened” to be a printable coupon for $1 off each package available too. Instead of paying the sale price of $5.99/lb (my local prices, and they might be different for you), you now pay just $3.99 per pound!
Coupons for real food don’t come around that often, but that’s why I like Ibotta so much – you can save on healthy food without even trying!
9. Look for Deals on Low Priced Items
You can really maximize your savings with Ibotta when you combine rebates with items that are already a low price to begin with.
The example I mentioned earlier of the single pouch of Justin’s peanut butter fits here. Be on the lookout for other single-serve items that are regularly priced around $1 each. Granola bars, yogurt drinks, dried fruit bars and flavored yogurt are just a few examples.
While I typically make homemade granola bars and homemade yogurt, sometimes it’s nice to try something new or in a different flavor. It’s also nice to have items like this on-hand for a quick toss-in-the-bag snack or for when the kids go on a field trip and need a completely disposable lunch. I aim to pay just 25¢ for each of these single-serve items, and using Ibotta helps me reach that price!
10. Look at Rebates with Multiple Items Listed
Some rebates require you to purchase multiple items in order to qualify, like an avocado + taco shells, or beer + oranges.
Don’t ignore these rebates, because they might be something you were going to buy anyway!
Let’s use the Laura’s Beef for example again. The same time the beef rebates were available, there was a rebate for $5 off Goose Island IPA beer.
Now if you were already going to buy beer AND ground beef (having a cookout maybe?), then it would be wise to get Goose Island and take advantage of that rebate AND the rebate for the ground beef too!
11. Build a Team
Ibotta is not an MLM company, but they do encourage you to become teammates with other Ibotta users because together you can earn more money! If you sign up with my link, you’re automatically a member of my team!
Remember the bonus rebates I told you about earlier? Some of them are team rebates, meaning the rebates your teammates redeem also count towards your monthly bonus. It’s a win win!
For example, this month’s bonus was for ME to redeem 9 rebates and my TEAM to redeem $6 worth of rebates. That might be tough to reach if your team has only one or two members, but the bigger your team, the easier and faster it is to earn free money!
12. Look Up Items As You Shop
When I first started using Ibotta, there were a few rebates that I thought the item I bought qualified, but it didn’t.
To avoid this happening (and avoid not earning the rebate), make sure the item qualifies before you put it in your cart.
To do this, open the rebate within Ibotta and scroll down until you see the “check product barcode” button. Click the button and scan the item. Ibotta will tell you if it qualifies or not.
If it works, put it in your cart. If it doesn’t, try a different item or re-read the rebate description to ensure you’re looking for the right item.
A cool perk to this is if the item qualifies, the scanning in the store counts for verifying your purchase. This means that when you get home and unload the groceries, you won’t have to scan the item again!
13. Keep your Receipts!
I briefly mentioned this earlier, but now you have more than one reason to keep your grocery receipts because you can unlock a rebate up to 7 days AFTER you make a purchase!
Rebates are officially released on Thursdays, but they sometimes can take a few days before they’re live in the app. My suggestion is to check for new rebates on Thursdays and go ahead and shop. Then when Sunday night comes, do a quick once-over to see if any rebates were added for things you already bought. If so, add the rebate to your list and redeem that cash!
This 7 day rule also means you can divide your purchases into separate transactions as needed to take advantage of recurring rebates, like the yogurt example I talked about before. Checking the bonus section of the Ibotta app would be wise before you go shopping, so you can see if anything on your list should be made on separate receipts!
14. Save on Mobile Shopping
Ibotta has rebates for mobile shopping too. The “mobile” category shows you all the mobile options, and this also changes depending on the season.
For example, during Valentine’s Day there were rebates for shopping for flowers through BloomThat. As of this posting, there’s a 10% rebate for Delivery.com too. If you’re going to order take out, why not make money using Ibotta while you’re at it?!
As a rule of thumb, I always buy Groupons through Ibotta because there’s a recurring 40% rebate available. I also shop Jet.com through Ibotta to get 5% cash back on my purchases.
Since I find shopping on my phone to be difficult sometimes, I prefer to shop from my computer first and put everything I want in my cart. You have to shop through the Ibotta app to redeem the rebate, so when I’m ready, I go to Ibotta and finish the checkout process there.
15. Save at the Commissary
We’re not a military family, but I have friends who are and they almost always shop the commissary. While the commissary accepts manufacturer coupons and military coupons, they do not accept grocery store coupons and you can only use one coupon per item.
Now that Ibotta has added the commissary as a store option, you can shop at the commissary AND redeem the rebates!
16. Save on Warehouse Memberships
Finally, there’s even a rebate for a Sam’s Club membership! Many people are hesitant to join a warehouse because of the membership fee, so this is a great way to save on that fee.
I save over $75 a month if I shop Costco instead of ALDI, and I know the prices for Sam’s Club are similar to Costco. This goes to show that shopping in bulk really does save you money, and using Ibotta to save on the membership fee is a no-brainer!
At first glance, you might notice a lot of processed goods on Ibotta. That doesn’t help out much with our real food goals! However, I’ve also found a lot of healthy options on Ibotta. In fact, I wrote up a whole tutorial on how to find those healthy food rebates on Ibotta!