By Steve Lobell
You should not be shopping online if you do not understand cash-back sites and shopping portals! I’m sorry, but you just shouldn’t.
Shopping portals and cash-back sites are probably the easiest and quickest way to save money on practically any purchase you make online. If you’ve ever found a great deal online through a blog or deal aggregator (like SlickDeals or DansDeals), you’ve probably clicked an “affiliate” link. What this link does is track the purchase you made back to the referring site, and gives them a small to moderate commission if the sale is completed. Now, as a general matter, when a person makes a commission on a sale, I have no problem with it. There is no reason for a person not to be compensated for his work.
Where this doesn’t hold true, at least for me, is when I could have gotten that extra 6% or 7% myself had I been told how by the deal blog or aggregator. There are websites known as shopping portals and cash-back sites that take only a small percentage of the sale and give the rest back to you by check or PayPal. All I would have needed to know is that a particular deal could be bought through one of these. That’s our mission at Dealspin. If we can find a way to get you that extra 6% or 7% through a shopping portal or cash-back site, we’re thrilled. Our job is to keep you informed of any possible way to save you money. (All we ask is for your support and that you read us daily . . .)
A couple of weeks back, we did a post about the various membership levels at Costco. In that post, we had a great deal for a Costco Gold Membership purchased through Living Social for $55. If you had followed our steps in that post for how to maximize shopping portals, you would see that you can actually save an additional 6% on top of that $55. All you would have had to do was click through to Living Social from a website called Ebates, one of the larger cash-back sites. And if you follow these steps for every purchase you make online, you will notice how quickly these little “rebates” can add up.
The first site I always check before making any purchase online is EVReward.com. They will tell me exactly which cash-back site will save me the most money for any given website. Let’s say, for example, I was going to shop at Banana Republic. I would just type in “Banana Republic” at EVReward, which would quickly tell me that MRRebates, another big cash-back site, is going to give me an additional 3% on my purchase, which I could stack with all of the other great savings constantly offered at Banana Republic.
It would also tell me that Chase’s great Ultimate Rewards shopping portal is offering 3 points per dollar. I would then have to decide which one of these I’d rather have (you can’t have both, unfortunately). As I value Ultimate Rewards Points at 1.5 cents a point, I would probably choose that option, but I think many people would probably choose MRRebates at 3% back, as it’s a straight cash rebate. Assuming that were the case, you’d click on the MRRebates link and you’d be redirected to their site.
Once on the site, you’ll need to sign up for an account with each of these companies, if you don’t have one already. Once you do, just click “Shop Now,” and your purchase is tracked!
Note: If you then go back and re-click on the link to the item or sale through the blog or aggregator, it will knock out your Ebates tracking link, so make sure to open the link to the deal itself before you start your search at EVReward. The click that is most recent is the one that will be tracked.
That’s really it. Every few months or so, remember to request your cash-back rebates from the sites you’ve used, and the money will be sent to you via check or PayPal fairly quickly.
Overall, these portals and cash-back sites are really great ways to save additional money, and it’s really a shame if you don’t educate yourself on them a bit, as the savings really do add up.
If you have any questions about these portals or cash-back sites at all, feel free to comment on our site, Dealspin.com. v