Be sure to check out the other posts in my ABCs of Frugal Living series!
Rebate apps are the newest form of couponing, with Ibotta being one of the biggest. I’ll be honest: when it first came out, I wasn’t too impressed, because I never bought any of the kinds of items needed to get cash back. The app improved after a time and I got more excited about it, especially after the “Any Brand” rebates came out, and I actually started earning money from it!
I’ve learned a couple things about Ibotta in my time of using it, and I want to show you how to get the most out of Ibotta so you can maximize your cash back potential!
Get friends on board
Having your friends on the Ibotta app brings you closer to the many bonuses you can unlock each month! Under the Teamwork tab, you’ll see the Teamwork Levels and how to level up. To get to Level 2, you need to redeem 15 rebates (The “Any Brand” rebates don’t count, unfortunately), and your team has to earn at least $6.00.
The $6.00 is the easy part, at least for me, but I can never seem to find 15 rebates to redeem each month! Maybe I’ll try harder next month to see what happens.
You can also invite your friends to join Ibotta with your unique referral code. When they sign up, they receive a $10.00 welcome bonus, and you receive $5.00! The more friends you have, the better chance you’ll have to level up each month.
Check the app before you shop
To be honest, I was bad for awhile about checking Ibotta before my grocery trips. Then this past weekend, on a whim, I opened the app and saw there were 2 huge bonuses that were super easy to get, and I was able to earn almost $10.00 in cash back! I’ll explain in detail below.
That was proof to me that I need to be checking Ibotta way more often, because now I know the potential for huge savings! In addition, you never know when you’ll find a rebate for something you were going to purchase anyway!
Take advantage of all the “Any Brand” offers
This is one of my favorite parts of Ibotta- being able to buy any brand of a certain item to receive a small amount of cash back. The “Any Brand” offers include things like gallons of milk, eggs, bread, produce, cheese, cookies… they’re all worth something small, usually $.25 each, but that can really add up if you buy those every week.
Like I said above though, you can’t use these “Any Brand” offers on the teamwork levels or bonuses, but you can still earn $1.00 or more each week just through the “Any Brand” offers!
Try to get the bonuses
Now, I’ve found the Teamwork levels to be a little too much work because of all the rebates you have to redeem. However, some of the bonuses are pretty easy and so worth it! They involve redeeming only a couple rebates, and the payout can be big, like 2 or 3 dollars.
Here’s a scenario that happened just this weekend, that earned me a ton of money!
Before my Meijer trip, I opened the Ibotta app and saw there were two good bonuses available: the Weekend Warrior bonus, where you earn $2.00 when you redeem two rebates; and the Awards Night 2017 bonus, where you earn $5.00 for redeeming 3 rebates. I looked at all the available rebates, and found a few items that I wouldn’t mind buying, like yogurt, a yogurt drink, and a Luna bar.
Here’s how the scenario worked out:
- 2 Chobani “Flip” yogurts: $.75 rebate
- Drink Chobani yogurt: $1.00 rebate
- Luna bar: $.25 rebate
- Red onion: $.25 rebate (Any brand offer)
- Scan any receipt offer: $.50 rebate
Total rebate: $2.75 for the items, plus the $2.00 and $5.00 bonuses for redeeming 3 name-brand rebates! A total of $9.75 cash back– I’d say that’s pretty amazing! And I paid $13.00 for everything in the picture above, so after the rebates, it’s like I only paid less than $4.00. If you play your cards right and catch the right bonuses at the right time, you can earn some serious cash.
Consider buying some items just to get a rebate/save money
I’m not usually a fan of buying something just to save money. I have to tell myself, “Just because you have a coupon doesn’t mean you need to buy it!” However, I make two exceptions:
- I wanted to try the product anyway
- I’ll get the item for free/as a moneymaker deal if I buy the item
So in the case of the above items- the yogurts and the Luna bar- I wanted to try these items at some point, and knew I could get a great deal, so I went ahead and bought them for the rebates. I’d encourage you to do the same, as long as 1.) you don’t go over your grocery budget, and 2.) you actually use the item.
If you’ve been hesitant about trying Ibotta, I totally recommend checking it out and trying it for at least a month. If you don’t know where to start and need help figuring out deals, check out KrazyCouponLady’s website. You can filter the deals by Ibota rebates, so you’ll be able to see any great deals happening at the moment, which store to go to, and how much you’ll pay. Once you get in the groove, it gets a lot easier!
Are you a long-time Ibotta user or a complete newbie? I’d love to hear your experiences; leave me a comment!
Monday 6th of March 2023
Very interesting read! -Daniel (email@example.com)
Friday 28th of February 2020
Yesterday I bought the Motrin brand Ibuprofen (50 ct) for $5.99 at Food Lion and got $1.50 cash back for a total of $4.50 for 50 ibuprofen, or 9 cents a tablet. Then I went home and got online and Walmart had Equate Generic Ibuprofen (100 ct) for $3.88! (or 3.8 cents per pill). This is NOT a deal! The only way you can make money with this app would be on things like bananas, or the .25Cents "any brand" rebate, Everything else is all brand name and will actually cost you in some cases to spend twice as much even after the rebate! Now I am still new to this app, so there might be other ways to make it worthwhile, there ARE a few name brands that I absolutely will not part with, but so far I had to spend 70 cents more for half the nunber of ibuprofen i would normally buy...
Friday 28th of February 2020
Oh gosh! Yeah, I hate when certain items are like that. I'm not sure which couponing website does Food Lion deals (Maybe Stockpiling Moms or Krazy Coupon Lady?), but follow their sites because Ibotta does have really good deals at times. You just have to know when and how to take advantage during a sale!
Thursday 30th of January 2020
I earned over $50 my first 2 weeks! This was for groceries that we would buy anyway! I love this app!!
Thursday 30th of January 2020
Girl, that's awesome!! I just looked through my app to see what I can use this weekend. =)
Tuesday 30th of October 2018
I been using it for over 3 years and it has been great. If you think of it as a piggy bank that you can empty when you get to $20.00. Then you are more patient to gain little by little. Two weeks ago I cash out at $25.00 and now i already have $9.85. One day my husband bought charcoal and steak to bbq, i didn't check ibotta until after he bought it and there was $2.00 off that brand of charcoal and $4.00 off ant steak, instantly $6.00.
Wednesday 31st of October 2018
That's awesome, Suzie! It does take awhile sometimes to earn that $20, but I love being able to cash it out for Sam's gift cards. =)
Sunday 20th of May 2018
The introductory bonuses (welcome referral bonus, mobile shopping bonus) seemed like a great extra upon first glance, but then I discovered that "any item" and "any brand" purchases don't count toward them. This makes it significantly more tedious and time consuming to earn those bonuses, especially since I simply don't need the vast majority of offers that aren't labeled as "any". In reality, I'd need to spend money on things I don't need to hit that bonus, which means I'd essentially be wasting money.
The mobile shopping bonus is the most exasperating because I've yet to find a store offer that is not labeled as "any." It would be ridiculously time consuming to find a non-any store that sells something I actually want/need, so I've given up on that one.
Ibotta may be practical for other people, but it doesn't mesh with my spending patterns, so is turning out to be more trouble than it's worth. I think I'll pass on this cash back program.
Monday 21st of May 2018
You're right; I hate the fact that the "any" offers don't count toward bonuses! There aren't a lot of offers I'd take advantage of; but sometimes there are a few gems I can stack up that'll earn me $5.00+. =) It's definitely slow!