June 19, 2014

moderate couponing: how I earn money with Ibotta...

How I Earned $125 from Ibotta | yourwishcake.com
This month, I hit a grand total of $125 earned from Ibotta, and I figured it would be a good time to put together some sort of how-to post for those of you who are interested in how you can do the same! I've been consistently using this app for 9 months now, and have managed to earn a rather nice bit of money, so it's something I recommend for anyone with a smartphone and a weekly shopping list.

I started using this app soon after getting my fancy-pants iPhone late last year. At first, I didn't use it all that often, because at that time the selection of rebates seemed to be fairly limited and I wasn't about to buy something random just to get a $1 rebate. However, I'm glad I stuck with it, because as time has gone by, this app has been beautified and perfected, and as a result, has been a pretty awesome money-maker for me. At this point, I use it at least once a week—often times more.

Here's a quick run-down on how this app works:
  1. You download the app, sign up and browse through the rebates they currently offer from the stores you shop at. They now go beyond grocery items, offering rebates for movie tickets, from online retailers, at restaurants, as well as a few other options.
  2. You choose the rebates you want, adding them to your list by completing a basic activity (most often, it is a poll or a quick blurb on the product that you will read).
  3. You purchase the item at your preferred store (just be sure it is one listed within the app).
  4. Return to the app and select "Redeem" from the menu, which is where it will walk you through the quick-and-easy process of scanning the barcode of the item (from your phone), submitting a photo of your receipt (also from your phone) and waiting on your rebate to be approved (it has never taken more than a few hours for a rebate to be verified for me).
  5. Cash out the money you earn! Once you earn $5 you can transfer to Paypal (which is what I always do), but you can also transfer earnings to Starbucks, iTunes or Regal gift cards.
Here are a few ways I've had success with this app:


I'd say up to 40% of my earnings have most likely been referral credits. You receive $5 for every person who signs up for Ibotta using your referral link and redeems at least one rebate. Not too shabby, right? (I made my husband sign up, because I was like, "Hey! Free money. Let's do this thing.") And beyond family and friends, if you love the app and have a rather large social network, definitely share your own link to earn a bit here and there. Because I use this app all the time, I don't feel awkward sharing my referral linkage—it's a nice little perk to help someone save money and end up getting a little back myself!


I recently earned an extra $5 bonus by redeeming 10 of the Safeway-exclusive rebates they are currently offering. I do almost all of our weekly grocery shopping at Vons (which is the SoCal version of Safeway), and many of the items they were offering ended up being things I bought anyway (score!). Also, I was able to purchase some specific items a couple different times, getting a rebate each time—that way I didn't have to try to purchase 10 different items. They often offer other bonuses for completing rebates for specific brands, or for doing a certain amount of rebates each week.

Any-Brand Deals

Ibotta has been doing more periodic any-brand deals (rebates for milk, bread, orange juice, etc.) and those are a favorite of mine. These are things almost everyone buys, so to get a little money back on these things (without having to stick to one specific brand) is kind of awesome. Right now they have a .25 rebate for a gallon of milk, any brand—and this rebate has been reposting every week, so if your family drinks a lot of milk, be sure to add this rebate to your list!

Combining Coupons + Sales + Rebates

There have been several times when I have found an item on sale at Vons, have had a paper coupon for the item, and have also been able to use an Ibotta rebate. Most often, this makes an item free, but there have been times that I have essentially been paid to buy an item because the Ibotta rebate ends up being more than I actually paid in-store! Once that happens, you may be addicted to searching for these sorts of deals. Fair warning.

Hopefully this helps out those of you who have been curious about how Ibotta works! If you haven't yet done so, feel free to use this link to download the app for yourself. I'll receive 5 buckaroos once you complete your first rebate. (Thank you in advance!) If you have any questions or want to share any of your own tips on this app, please leave all that goodness in the comments!

Affiliate links included in this post. Yep, yep.


  1. So cool! I just signed up and I'll be using it soon on groceries. PLUS!! I am about to buy a new digital camera and it just so happens to be Panasonic, and there's a deal on Ibotta for $10 back on a $100 purchase. Woohoo! :-)

    1. Hurrah for perfect timing! That's awesome. <3

  2. Do you only shop at Vons/Safeway? I have been using the app and have accumulated a bit of money, but I am nowhere near $125.
    I shop at three different stores and can't use Ibotta at the Co-op or Trader Joe's, so that reduces my chances of too a minimum. I still thinks it's worth having it though. I always check if I can 'save' a little bit here or there :)

    1. Yes, we do almost all of our shopping between two stores: Vons and Costco. I keep thinking I want to look into shopping at a co-op for certain things, but I need to do more research! I've also wanted to try doing a CSA, too…as much as I don't want to pay more for groceries, there are certain things I want to start getting straight from the garden (so to speak).

      And a lot of my Ibotta earnings (probably 40% or more) have been referral credits, and now that it's $5 for each person who signs up and redeems at least one rebate, that is quick money!

      I need to check out Checkout 51, too…I've seen so many people mention it. Do you have a referral link you can email me? :)

  3. I use another app - Checkout 51 - which redeems items from any store (as long as you can load up a receipt). You might want to check this out, too.

  4. I use Ibotta...I love it but I haven't generated that much savings from it yet. I started sometime this year. I probably have about $20 in lifetime savings. Still trying to figure out how to earn more money quicker. I tried sending out my referral link but I don't think it reached many people. I'm thinking of creating a blog and writing a post about it. Not sure what to else to do. Any suggestions would be appreciated.


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