App Saturday: Ibotta, Money Back for Groceries & More

* This article is from our Tip of the Day newsletter. . *

It doesn't matter what I'm buying, I always wonder if I could have gotten a better deal. And by better deal, I mean save more money, especially on the neccesities like food and toiletries. The Ibotta app provides rebates on a range of products, occasionally on any brand without restrictions. It's a simple app that's added only a few minutes to my shopping trips, but over time has kept quite a few dollars in my wallet.

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Ibotta (Free)

What It Is

Ibotta is a cashback rewards app that provides rebates on several items from multiple stores. After creating an account, I browse my local stores and select the rebate offers that will give me money back on my planned purchases. There's usually a quick ad to view before the rebate offer is unlocked and able to be redeemed. After I've paid, I scan or take a photo of my receipt and may have to scan the barcodes of the purchased products with the app. It's important to unlock Ibotta rebate offers before purchase, as some rebates can't be redeemed after a purchase is completed. For some stores, I can link the store's loyalty card to my Ibotta account. When the loyalty card is scanned at the register, Ibotta automatically redeems the relevant rebates without a receipt. Ibotta reviews my receipt and barcode scans and typically has my rebate money added to my account within 48 hours. Offers vary between stores; for example, an offer for a Walmart purchase might not be available for a Target purchase, or offers will vary by region. After I've redeemed a minimum of $20 worth of rebates, I can withdraw the money into a linked Paypal or Venmo account or select a giftcard.

Why We Love It

Ibotta is a fast and user-friendly way for me to get money back on purchases. The list of available offers for any store I choose is varied, but not overwhelming. This means I can quickly browse offers, select what I want to redeem, and then go shopping. Ibotta also has a search feature, so if I'm looking to see if a specific product has a rebate offer, I can type the product name or scan its barcode while I'm in the store. Or I could search something generic like "peanut butter" and see all the relevant rebate offers for peanut butter. 

Major Savings

Ibotta offers rebates for items I don't typically find a coupon for, such as fresh produce and milk. Sometimes there are specially marked offers, where after redeeming the rebate on Ibotta, the cost of the item is essentially free. I've redeemed "free after rebate" offers on things like single-serving smoothies and protein bars. There are also occasional offers marked as "buy one get one free." I can also pair Ibotta with other coupons. For example, I had a manufacturer's coupon for $1 off a certain brand of candy. Ibotta had a 50-cent rebate for that same candy. I purchased the candy with the discount of the $1 manufacturer's coupon in the store, then scanned my receipt on Ibotta and received the 50-cent rebate in my account. So in total, by using Ibotta and another coupon, I saved $1.50 on the candy. Each Ibotta offer includes restrictions such as size, variety, or amount limit for redemption, which is easily viewed when you tap on the offer before unlocking it. All rebate offers also have an expiration date, which may not show until its almost up. 

Online Shopping

Ibotta rebate offers can also be redeemed with online shopping, and for more than just groceries. Open the app, select your store, and launch the site through the Ibotta portal. After your purchase, Ibotta will deposit the rebate money typically within 30–60 days. I've been using it for sites like Etsy and Target, with a rebate of 1 or 2 percent cash back. There may be some restrictions, so read the offer terms before purchase.

Ibotta also has certain bonuses, such as redeeming so many offers in a month or using a referral code on sign up (which are easy to find if you search "Ibotta referral code"). You can also get rewarded by giving out your own referral code or creating a team with other users to reach goal amounts. I don't give out referral codes or participate in a team, and I'm still saving a good amount of money. Ibotta is a small step I've added to my shopping errands, both online and in person, but it's been a great investment. 

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Author Details

Hallei Halter's picture

Author Details

Hallei Halter

Hallei is a 2018 graduate of Maharishi University of Management with a BFA in Creative & Professional Writing. She's currently working on a novel about people using witchcraft to clean their houses.