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Ever since I decided to cut the nonsense and make this blog all about frugal living and saving money, ways to save on food has become a central theme. This week, we have an Ibotta review – one of my favorite apps to save help you save a sizable amount on your grocery budget!
How Ibotta Works
Ibotta is a cash-back app that rewards you just for buying the things you would have bought anyway. If you’ve made it this far, you already know that Ibotta is great for saving on groceries, but did you know it works with lots of other retailers, too?
Yup, you can also use the app to get cash back at stores like The Gap, Petco, Target, and The Home Depot. As Ibotta continues to expand its portfolio, more and more stores are letting you get cash back.
And that’s still only a few of the retailers that are now supported. See the full list here.
So, how do you get cash back by using Ibotta? Let’s find out.
How to Use Ibotta
There are several ways to get rewarded for using Ibotta. You can earn with Ibotta by:
- Using the browser extension
- Shopping online through the Ibotta app
- Using Ibotta when shopping in-store
- Linking loyalty accounts
- Submitting receipts
If you thought scanning in your receipts is the only way to earn with Ibotta, you are sorely mistaken! Needless to say, they want to make it as easy as possible to get cash back.
I don’t know about you, but I find it a bit cumbersome to fumble around with receipts all the time. The fact that there are lots of ways to get cash-back with Ibotta nowadays is a huge plus in my opinion.
And now, let’s take a closer look at each of the ways to earn with Ibotta.
Using the Browser Extension
If you aren’t familiar with using browser extensions, it’s super easy. In fact, this might be the easiest way to earn cash back with Ibotta today.
To get started, just head over to the Chrome Web Store and install the Ibotta Browser Extension:
It’s not exactly fully automated, but it’s pretty easy nevertheless. You’ll have to add a payment method and verify your phone number. You’ll need to do so by receiving an SMS to your phone (messaging rates apply and all that jazz).
How the Ibotta Chrome Extension Works
Once you complete all the initial setup (which only takes a few minutes), head over to the website of one of the supported retailers. Then follow the steps below:
- As soon as you arrive, click “Get Cash Back” on your Ibotta browser extension, then continue shopping like you normally would.
- When checking out, click “Ready to Pay” and indicate the total amount of your purchase (including taxes and shipping).
- Then, click “Buy Gift Card.” That amount will be charged to your credit card. Then, use the info for the gift card you bought to pay for the purchase on the retailer’s website.
When the retailer uses your purchased gift card, you’ll earn cashback on the amount – the same amount you normally would when shopping with Ibotta!
As you can see, it’s not an automated process and it could probably be a bit more intuitive, but I still prefer this way to having to manually scan in receipts.
Shopping Online Through the Ibotta App
Another way to use Ibotta is by using the app. This is one of the easiest ways to earn cashback with Ibotta because it requires very little extra work on your part.
To get started earning cashback with Ibotta this way, just go to Find Offers at the bottom of the Ibotta app, then tap “Onlien shopping.” At this point, it’s very straightforward – everything you see in the online shopping tab is eligible for online discounts.
And there’s no scanning in receipts – since you’re already browsing the online shopping section of Ibotta, you earn cashback automatically.
Most retailers here will offer 1%-5% cashback, but I did find one offering 7%. Not bad for doing almost nothing!
Using Ibotta When Shopping In-store
Using Ibotta when shopping in-store is the method with which most of us are familiar. To do so, you add offers to your list, do you shopping, then scan in your receipts afterward.
That’s pretty much it, right? Hold up. Not so fast.
Pay with Ibotta
Ibotta now offers another way to earn cashback when shopping in-store: Pay with Ibotta.
If you are familiar with apps like Apple Pay and Google Pay, Pay with Ibotta is similar. Just link a payment card to the app, and you are ready to pay using Ibotta.
However, the way it works still has a caveat. When making your purchase, you must add the total amount of the order and then show the cashier a QR to scan. Once that is done, you’ll be all set.
Linking Loyalty Accounts
After you link your loyalty account to Ibotta, you’ll be able to get cashback on all eligible purchases at participating stores without having to scan in your receipts every time.
You do still have to add eligible offers before shopping, however.
Last but not least is the way you might already be familiar with when it comes to using Ibotta.
To earn cashback this way, you find eligible offers on the app before shopping, add them to your list, then scan in your receipts after you shop.
And, remember, this doesn’t just include groceries anymore!
Is Ibotta Legit?
Yes, very much so. Based in Denver, CO, Ibotta has been around since 2011. It is a rapidly-growing company and has 650 employees.
In addition, as of 2019, the app has been downloaded over 30 million times and more than $500 million in cashback has been rewarded to customers.
The app is available on both iOS and Android. On the Apple Store, it currently has a 4.8 rating with over 836,000 reviews.
Given these impressive numbers, it would appear that Ibotta is definitely legit. I see no reason anyone should not be confident when using it.
Currently, Ibotta is only available in the US.
When Does Ibotta Add New Offers?
Firstly, let me say that there is not really a straightforward answer to this question. Despite having an entire help section about offers, Ibotta doesn’t specify how often they are added.
With that said, let’s go into a bit of detail about what offers are and how they work.
How Do Ibotta Offers Work?
When you think about “offers” in terms of getting some type of reward, you might think of completing a task and earning points for it. There are many offers sites that let you do this.
But that isn’t exactly what “offers” are in Ibotta’s terms.
According to Ibotta, “An offer is an amount or percentage of cash back that you can earn by completing a specific action.”
Okay, so far that sounds the same as what I described above. But, upon further examination, we see what this means for Ibotta:
“Ibotta has a variety of Online Shopping, in-store, and Pay with Ibotta offers for every type of shopper.”
So, for Ibotta, “offers” are just rebates Ibotta is offering on different items. I popped into the app and looked at them. Here are a few examples:
As you can see, offers are just different cashback amounts you can earn at different retailers at the time. And note that you will have to match your purchases against these offers.
Again, it would be nice if the process were a bit more automatic, but, per Ibotta’s documentation, you must do so manually.
According to the link above, successful redemptions are generally available within 48 hours.
Overall, Ibotta has a lot of opportunities to save on purchases and supports a huge variety of retailers. You may think it’s all about groceries, but over 300 retailers are supported, including Target, Walgreens, and Amazon.
Despite all the different ways to save, though, I feel Ibotta could be a bit more intuitive. That is why it doesn’t get a perfect 5/5.
I feel the app could be a little more automated with fewer manual steps needed in order to get cashback. In particular, having to find offers ahead of time is a pain. Since so many popular retailers are included, it would make sense if it could automatically find eligible offers at the places you shop and then apply them.
Although Ibotta isn’t perfect, it does offer a lot of different ways to save money at a lot of different stores.
The bottom line: Ibotta is a convenient way to save small amounts of money that can really add up over time. I would recommend it to anyone looking to save some extra money.