Shopping for the holidays can be a costly endeavor — but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, you can easily save and make money when shopping this year.
From mystery shopping to using cash-back websites, GOBankingRates rounded up the best ways to make money while shopping for the holidays, many of which require nothing more than the click of your mouse. If you want to put more money back into your pocket this holiday season, keep reading to find out how you can make money while you shop.
Sign Up to Mystery Shop With BestMark
Apply to become a mystery shopper with BestMark, a mystery shopping and market research company that pays you for shopping at select retailers and filling out a survey afterward.
Each assignment comes with specific parameters, and surveys must be completed on time to receive compensation. Your goal as a mystery shopper is to observe and report on the quality of customer service. Depending on the retailer, you could get paid in the form of cash, reimbursement for dollars spent or both.
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Use Mobee to Mystery Shop
Mobee is a mystery shopping app that makes it easy to get paid while shopping. Just open the app to find “missions” near you — there might even be a store that was already on your holiday shopping list.
When completing a mission, you’ll need to answer some questions. Once completed, you will be credited points within immediately, which can be redeemed for gift cards and prizes.
Get Price Drop Rebates for Free With Paribus
Sign up for Paribus, and you might be able to get your money back if there’s a price change on an item you purchased online at certain retailers. If you’re eligible for a price adjustment rebate, Paribus will make a claim on your behalf, and you get to keep 100 percent of the savings.
To get started, link Paribus to your email where you receive your online shopping receipts. Then, the app will identify if your online purchase is eligible for a price adjustment.
Shop Online Through MyPoints
When you shop online at any of the 1,900-plus stores — such as Kohl’s, Staples, Target and Sephora — available on MyPoints, you will receive points for your purchases. The number of points you receive per dollar depends on the store. Points can be redeemed for gift cards, travel miles or cash via PayPal or a Visa prepaid card.
Shop and Earn Money With RetailMeNot
Sign up for an account, and visit the site’s “Cash Back” section. Then, click on a cash-back offer that will automatically redirect you to the retailer’s site. Shop as you normally would, and redeem your cash-back rewards from your RetailMeNot wallet within 15 to 20 days of your purchase. Keep in mind many cash-back offers come with a minimum spending amount you must reach to be eligible for cash back.
Make Money With Coupon Cactus
Not only does Coupon Cactus offer online coupons you can use to shop, but the site also gives you cash back for making purchases. Coupon Cactus gets paid a commission when you make a purchase on a merchant’s site and shares a percentage of its commission with its customers in the form of cash back. The site has coupons for about 4,000 merchants, including Walmart, Target and Amazon.
Get Cash Back With Extrabux
Get money back every time you shop using Extrabux.com. Sign up with your email address, click on any of the 6,000-plus online stores available through the Extrabux site, and receive cash back when you shop. Extrabux will pay you via PayPal, a gift card or by check. You can also donate your cash back to charity.
Shop Through Ebates.com
Before you start shopping online, head over to Ebates.com or download the app. Once you’re online, browse the list of 2,500-plus available retailers — Macy’s, Best Buy, Walmart and more — on its site and shop online as you normally would. You’ll receive cash back on your order by check or via PayPal.
While there are many apps and online promo codes you can use to get cash back, don’t forget about old-fashioned coupon clipping. Check your local paper and mailings for flyers that could contain cash-back offers at your favorite holiday shopping retailers.
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Use Shopkick to Earn Gift Cards for Yourself
You can earn rewards with the Shopkick app, whether you’re shopping online or in-person. To earn points when you shop in-store, scan the product’s bar code, purchase it with the credit card linked to your Shopkick account and submit the receipt through the app. You’ll also earn points for select online and mobile purchases.
Shopkick points can be redeemed for gift cards at Starbucks, Target, Sephora and more, so you can treat yourself when you’re done with your holiday shopping.
Shop With a Cash-Back Card
Earn a cash rebate for all the money you spend on holiday gifts when you use a cash-back card. Some cards give you more cash back than others, but be aware of your card’s interest rates and fees. If you have a high credit card balance, the interest you owe can outweigh the cash back you received.
Find Cash-Back Offers Through Your Bank
Some banks partner with specific retailers to offer you cash back when you shop in-store or online using the bank’s credit or debit card. For example, Bank of America users can check for BankAmeriDeals currently available through an eligible credit card or debit card. Click on available offers to add to your account, and when you shop at the specified retailer, you will receive a percentage back.
Join Store Loyalty Programs
If there’s a store you shop at frequently but you’re not a member of its loyalty program, you’re likely missing out on free money. Many of the best loyalty rewards programs offer rewards, cash back and gift certificates to shoppers who accumulate points with purchases.
For example, the JCPenney Rewards Program gives members a $10 reward for every 200 points earned. Best Buy’s rewards program awards points depending on how much you spend, and it gives you a $5 certificate for every 250 points earned.
Open a Store Credit Card
Some store credit cards give you cash back and rewards. When you shop with your Nordstrom credit card at Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack and Nordstrom.com, you receive 3 points for every dollar spent. And every 2,000 points gets you a $20 Nordstrom Note.
Meanwhile, the Costco Anywhere Visa gives you 4 percent cash back on gas, 3 percent cash back on restaurant and travel purchases, 2 percent cash back on Costco and Costco.com purchases, and 1 percent cash back on all other purchases.
Again, remember these cards might have high interest rates, so keep that in mind before opening one.
Become a Personal Shopper
If you really want to make money while shopping, look into becoming a personal shopper. The median pay for a personal shopper in the U.S. is around $11.50 an hour, though some shoppers can earn about $20 an hour, according to PayScale. It’s recommended that shoppers have organizational, customer service and time management skills.
Click through to see 33 free things that are only a click away.
More on Holiday Savings
- 30 Gift-Giving Ideas for Tight Budgets
- 27 Things to Do With Those Unwanted Holiday Gifts
- Moves to Get Ahead on Holiday Shopping
- Watch: Secrets to Saving Money at Target
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About the Author
Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and People.com. Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert.