Do you shop online? Do you like saving money? Well, if you answered yes to either of these questions then I hope you are maximizing your savings by using shopping portals. Shopping portals give you cash back, points, or airline miles just for beginning your shopping experience at their site. You go to the shopping portal website or app, choose the store at which you want to shop, and then the site directs you to that store’s website. Some even offer incentives for in-store purchases. If you then make a purchase at that store location or website, the shopping portal rewards you. You get something back just for completing a purchase that you were planning to make anyway.
Here are ten tips for making the most of shopping portals.
- Decide what type of portal makes the most sense for you. Do you want cash back? Do you prefer airline miles? Do you want points that can be converted to cash back or gift cards? If you’re a member of MyPoints or Swagbucks, then you’re already familiar with points. If you’re not, stay tuned. I will be adding a post about these programs.
- Look at the redemption requirements of each portal before choosing one. Some will only let you “cash-out” when you have reached a minimum amount. If the minimum is high, you may be waiting a long time before accessing your rewards. Also, look at how the portal pays. Do they offer Paypal deposits, checks, points currency, or gift cards?
- Many portals offer special incentives for first-time customers and several offer referral bonuses. Definitely take advantage of these. Ebates, Ibotta, and TopCashBack are each offering $10 to newcomers. Full disclosure, I receive a referral bonus if you use my links. Once you create an account, you can refer a friend or family member, too.
- Choose the portal that pays out the most for the store that you want. Each portal has their own rates for their stores and some stores are only associated with certain portals. Plus, rates change often. Before you shop, check a site like Cashback Monitor to find the current rates.
- Once you’ve chosen a portal that you want to use, go to the portal site or app and create an account. Now, you are ready to shop. Make certain that you always click the link for the store on the portal before you shop. If you don’t click through the portal, you will not receive credit for your purchase.
- Portals take time. Each one has rules about how long it takes to receive credit for your purchase. It’s not like using a coupon. The savings are not immediate. Speaking of coupons, be careful with coupons. Some portals will not give you credit if you use a coupon that is not listed on their site.
- Portals have restrictions. Some stores restrict portals to allow rewards on only specific categories of items. Most do not give credit for purchases of gift cards and some do not even give credit for payment with gift cards. Read the terms listed on the portal before you shop.
- Keep track of your portal shopping. I never used to do this, but I do it now. I keep a simple spreadsheet of my purchases with the purchase date, portal name, store, and percent that I’m expecting. Sometimes portals make mistakes. By keeping track, you will be able to contact them if something does not credit. Plus, you’ll also have a record of the savings you’ve earned over time.
- Don’t limit yourself to one portal. You can only use one portal on each purchase, but you don’t always have to use the same portal when you shop. Shopping portals compete with each other by offering incentives. They will raise their rates temporarily to get you to shop. By having an account at a few, you open yourself up to the potential of saving more money.
- Lastly, don’t get too upset if a portal purchase doesn’t work out. There have been times when I have not received credit for purchases even after contacting the portal and pleading my case. It happens. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen often enough for me to give up shopping this way and neither should you. Happy shopping and saving!