Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Holiday Miracle? Ebates Review (The Good, The Bad and The Ugly)

Because when I was out of work in 2013, I got pitched every potential pyramid scheme imaginable, my guard and bullshit radar are constantly on high alert for "too good to be true" situations. This was always the case with Ebates. I had heard about it several times (both from friends and on the daytime TV Juggernaut) ...and even signed up for it once several years ago and let it go idle. It just seemed like another source for junk mail and not worth the trouble, so I never made the time to set it up. [Tangent: Even though that "extra time" was literally 5 minutes. I AM THE WORST!]

Then Christmas hit, and I went into full online shopping mode. After posting on Facebook about how I like to spend black Friday anxiety-free and sans pants by shopping online, a little angel named Kristine sold me on Ebates. [Tangent: You may remember Kristine from this guest blog as the girl who is going to be on Portlandia next season! She is good people and would never lead me astray. It wasn't like she was trying to sell me candles or plumping mascaras or essential oils, she was merely recommending a site where I could make some coin back while shopping...so I bit the bullet and went for it.] 

I used Ebates throughout the holiday season [Tangent: Though I was kicking myself that I didn't start using it earlier. I could have made BANK with my black Friday purchases from Ulta, Kohls and JCPenney!] and I am definitely a fan, but there are definitely some super great and just meh things about it, so I thought I should share so you can decide for yourself whether you are gonna jump aboard the Ebates bandwagon. Also if you are gonna board this train, use my referral link (or the button in the right margin) because it throws a little cash my way. [Tangent: That was Garth Brooks level Shameless right there.]  

If you have never heard of Ebates, it's basically a gateway site where you pass through to online shop. TONS of stores and sites are on there (Nordstrom, Amazon, Target, Old Navy, etc etc and over 1800 stores ad infinitum). When you click on the shop, it gives you all the coupon codes for that particular retailer and tells you what percentage you can get back on your purchases (usually between 2%-6% but sometimes higher).  I made about $30 in a matter of a few days....which is pretty good for spending money. Here are the Pros and the Cons that I have found so far.

Pros
  •  There's an APP! This really saved me from having individual store apps on my phone and made me more likely to use it [Tangent: My laziness is real!]
  • It gives me all the potential deals available at a glance! I loved this because it allowed me to unsubscribe to individual store email lists. I feel like I no longer need to be barraged with emails from Old Navy and Victoria's Secret, because I can see them all in one space. 
  • It gave me $10 just for using it the first time. FREE MONEY!
  • So far, it seems to work!
  • They work for non-traditional websites too...like I was extremely surprised that I could get money back for any spending I did on Expedia, Groupon and ancestry.com 
  • Effort is minimal. [Tangent: As I have mentioned just 4 sentences prior, if it's a lot of extra work- it's not usually worth the couple dollars to me. i.e. I will never be an extreme couponer.] After you set up your account, it just means you click on Ebates or login to the app first instead of going directly to your favorite sites. 
  • Perfect if you shop a lot online. Like seriously, if you buy even a couple things online a month, it could be worth it.  
  • Referral Program is top notch.  Although I'm still new in the game, you can make $100 for signing up just a handful of people. That's completely attainable...so ahem...sign up

Cons 
  • It's a little unpredictable. The percentages change from day to day. This is kind of a pro and a con. One day I got 12% back from my Macy's purchases, and the next day it was down to 6%. When you see a good deal, jump on it. Around the holidays, and periodically through the year, they will have a whole section of stores offering double cash back.
  • There is a good deal of junk emails that will come your way from Ebates. They send at least one-a-day, which is a little overwhelming for this email hoarder.  However, if you download the free App, you really won't need these emails. You can unsubscribe, which I would totally recommend.  
  • Money isn't instantaneous. It's not like you shop and your percentage magically goes into your bank account. The money accrues and they send you a live check or send to you via paypal whenever they do their "big fat payouts!" The next one is in February.  I don't mind this because I would rather get chunks of money instead of a few dollars and cents hither and yon.

With all those gift cards that will surely be burning a hole in your pocket, I thought now seemed as good a time as any to sign up. If it seems like something you may be into, use my link! I wouldn't jerk you guys around; this is legit!

What great ways to save have you found this year?
 Does anyone have any online shopping horror stories? 
I wanna hear it all!!!  
 

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