If you’ve read my book titled The Doomsday Prepping Crash Course: The Ultimate Prepper’s Guide to Getting Prepared When You’re on a Tight Budget, you know that I’m a big fan of finding ways to save money when shopping for prepping supplies.
Today I’m going to be telling you about a method that I discovered last month to get what I consider to be free money that I can use to buy prepping supplies for my family. Don’t worry, I’m not going to try to peddle some “get rich quick scheme” to you. I am, however, going to show you what our family is doing and it really does work.
How I Discovered This Program
I’ve been seeing a program called eBates advertised on TV lately and out of curiosity, I decided to look it up to see what it was all about. To tell you the truth, I thought it was going to be one of those gimmicks like the penny auction fad that is going around. I’m very pleased to tell you that I couldn’t be more wrong.
Let Me Tell You How It Works
Here are the simple steps that we’ve been using to get free prepping money:
- We signed up for a free Ebates account by clicking here: Sign up for Ebates. All we had to do was provide our email address and pick a password to sign up. We didn’t even have to give them our credit card number or anything like that.
- We logged into our new Ebates account and browsed through all the stores that are affiliated with their program.
- We found a store that we already wanted to buy something from and we discovered that Ebates was currently offering 2% cash back on anything that we bought online at that store. We clicked on the link to go shopping at that store while we were on the Ebates website. This took us to the store’s website.
- We searched for what we wanted to buy and purchased it on the store’s website. The item that we bought was $80.62. This store offered free shipping or free in-store pickup. We chose to pick it up in the store.
- After making the purchase, we checked our Ebates account a few minutes later and $1.62 was in our account!
- We made several more purchases buying things in different stores that are in the Ebates program over the next week or so. A few days ago, they sent us a check for $11.62 for doing nothing more than buying stuff that we were going to buy anyway. That’s why I call it free money! (Update: Make sure you read this entire article to see how much we’ve actually earned in cash back rewards since originally writing this article!)
Ebates Has Tons of Stores in Their Cash Back Program
There are plenty of stores to shop at through this program. At the time this article was written, they had over 1,800 stores to shop at.
It’s worth pointing out the percentage of cash back at a particular store may change from time to time. For example one day, I woke up and there was an email in my inbox letting me know that a store was offering double their regular cash back amount that day. I then bought something that I had already planned on buying at that store and got double the amount of cash back.
You Never Have to Give Ebates Your Credit Card or Bank Account Information
At first I was reluctant because I didn’t want to give them my credit card number but I never had to. All the purchases you make are actually made on the store’s website. Here’s how it works:
- You log into Ebates before you being shopping.
- You select the store that you want to shop at.
- You click on a link on the Ebates website to shop on that store’s website. If you buy something, that store’s website notifies Ebates that you made a purchase and tells them how much you spent so Ebates can figure out how much cash back they owe you.
- Once a quarter (so four times a year) they will send you a check in the mail or deposit the money they owe you in your PayPal account. You do have to log into your account and provide them with the necessary information before they can pay you. I suggest doing this at the same time you set up your free account so you don’t forget to do it later. For example, I chose to have them mail me a check so I had to enter my first and last name as well as my mailing address. Then they sent me an email with a link in it that I had to click on to verify that when they send me checks they’ll actually be sending them to the correct address.
Where the Money Is Coming From
The stores that are part of the network pay Ebates a commission each time they send a customer to them who makes a purchase. The stores are happy to pay this commission because they got a customer to buy something and they didn’t have to spend any money on advertising. Ebates then splits the commission with you. It’s as simple as that!
By the way, I wondered if various items might cost more if I bought them this way so I checked the prices on some items on my computer by going through Ebates first. Then I went to the same store’s websites on another computer that had never been used with Ebates and the items that I checked were the exact same price.
But Wait, There’s MORE!
They also have a program that they call “Tell-a-Friend” that makes it possible for you to earn even more money. For example, if you tell one friend about Ebates AND THEY SIGN UP THOUGH THE LINK IN THE EMAIL THAT YOU SEND THEM, you earn $5. If you refer 2 friends, you earn $50. If you refer 3 friends, you earn $100.
3-13-16 Update: Please note that since writing this article back in December of 2015, I’ve learned that they change their referral incentives from time to time. They have what they call “Bonus Periods”. For example, right now, the current bonus period is from 1/1/2016 – 3/31/2016.
When you refer friends, make sure they don’t visit the Ebates website any other way than by clicking on your link otherwise you won’t get the credit for referring them. If they have already checked out this program before but they didn’t sign up, have them clear the cache on their computer before they click on the link you provided them. They do have to make a “qualifying purchase” of $25 through Ebates for you to get the credit for the referral.
This Really Is a No-Brainer
I’m not the type to jump on “make money online” programs but this one really was too good to pass up. As a matter of fact, everyone I’ve told about it wished they would have signed up already. For example, when I told my son about it he said, “I wish I would have known about this before now, I just spent $200 on my wife for Christmas at JCPenny and they are offering 10% cash back at that store today.”
If you’re on the fence about whether you should sign up or not, consider this. You’re going to spend money at these stores anyway. All you have to do is place your order online instead of in the store and you get money sent to you in the mail four times a year. Why wouldn’t you want to do this?.
We’ll be using the cash back that we get to buy prepping supplies but you can spend it on whatever you want. I sincerely hope this article ends up helping you out and that you start getting checks in the mail as well!
3-13-16 Update: I wanted to pop back into this article and let you know that we’re still really happy with Ebates. Here’s a screenshot from my account that shows that we’ve been members since 12-11-15 and so far we’ve earned $207.67 in cash back! I can also confirm that they really do send us checks.
Some of this money has been earned by shopping online and some from referring other people to Ebates.
We’ve really changed our shopping habits as a result of being a member of this program. We ALWAYS check online first to see if there’s a store that is offering cash back on items that we would like to buy.
If we can’t find any, we look to see if there is a similar item that we can buy that we can earn cash back on.
The bottom line is that we’re LOVING this program!