Ninja cashback techniques for Amazon, Walmart, and more
by Randy Gingeleski
4 minutes to read
Quick, effective techniques for cashback you probably haven't thought of. Amazon, Walmart, and more. 🗡️🗡️🗡️
You know this isn’t a “saving money” blog. I make a healthy wage in software security. I’m generally tactful on spending. And I have no shortage of ideas on making more.
It’s reflected in the posts. Hustling like that is often easier than saving. Two hours freelancing or two hours clipping coupons? My roommate walks across town for the kinda-cheaper grocery store. I don’t believe in that.
This post is about systematic cashback from retailers you actually use. There’s a little bit of setup, then you it’s virtually effortless.
Amazon Prime credit card
This was my first credit card, when I was a college student with little money. The requirements must be lax because my yearly income was like $20K.
There’s no annual fee, and cashback is paid in Amazon credit. The rates - as of this writing - are below.
|Category||w/ Prime||w/o Prime|
|Amazon.com, Whole Foods||5%||3%|
|Restaurants, gas, drugstores||2%||2%|
On Prime day you often get double or better these rates. And they also apply to Whole Foods.
Do you grocery shop at Whole Foods? Do you have Amazon Prime and buy a lot on there? This card is a no-brainer, even if just to pay for stuff at those outlets.
You’ve probably heard of Ebates but maybe weren’t sure about it. Basically, their website is a portal. Going through it on your way to an online retailer enables cashback on what you spend. This ranges from flat rates to percentages (1-15%).
You can receive cashback via check or Paypal.
Forget to go through the portal when you buy something? There’s a Gmail integration which will automatically attribute your eligible receipts .
What about in-store shopping? Works there too, albeit for a smaller number of retailers. 8% back from Aeropostale, 5% from Express, 8% from GNC… more general examples below. You can either link your credit card to Ebates or submit receipt ID numbers later.
The credit card link is similar to the numerous dining rewards clubs out there. You link your credit card and get a percentage back from certain restaurants. I wouldn’t worry about it not being on the up-and-up.
Example #1 - Amazon is eligible for 1% cashback on many categories. Click through Ebates, buy something, pay with your Amazon Prime card, and that’s 6% back. Assuming you are a Prime member too.
Example #2 - my girlfriend knew I was buying an air conditioner online. She sent me her Ebates referral link, then I bought the unit for $150 from Walmart. The cashback was almost $11.
There are some bonuses for referrals like that. When you refer a friend, they get $10 after their first purchase and you get $25.
Sign up for Ebates here and we’ll both get those bonuses. You are my virtual friend.
Discounted gift cards
For larger purchases, definitely look into this. A number of websites sell gift cards at a discount. You get the code almost instantly via email.
Raise.com is the biggest player in this space, and arguably the best. These examples use real rates from their site. However, searching “buy gift cards” will turn up their competitors as well.
Example #1 - You’re buying new summer clothes from H&M. You plan to spend a couple hundred dollars. You can get a $230 gift card for $190 - almost 18% savings.
Example #2 - You want to buy $500 in concert tickets from Stubhub. They’re two really good seats. On Raise you can buy five $100 cards for 3% off - saving $15 for a few minutes’ work.
Example #3 - Raise can save you 3-4% on Airbnb too. I’m using it for a Calgary trip the first weekend in June. On $500 you’ll save about $20.
This method can potentially stack with Ebates. Chaining any of these methods like that is powerful savings.
I’m not one to spend a lot of time to save money.
However, these methods take a few minutes and apply to major retailers. They’re worth the setup for savings that add up over time.