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 sites, 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, find out about your best options for getting cash back.
Last updated: Nov. 25, 2019
Get Paid To Shop at Your Favorite Stores With Field Agent
Turn your shopping trips into an opportunity to make cash with the Field Agent app. Download the app to find “jobs” that you can complete at retailers like Target, Kohl’s, Best Buy and Walmart, and get cash when you complete them. Jobs can include mystery shopping and auditing, which involves taking photos and answering questions about displays and products that you see in stores.
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, or if your item is delivered late. If you’re eligible for a price adjustment rebate, Paribus will make a claim on your behalf.
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.
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 Nordstrom Rack.
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.
Shop Using the Drop App
“A lot of people don’t know about Drop as it’s still relatively new, but I just love how easy it is to use,” said Dylan Houlihan, founder of Swift Salary. “You simply connect your credit card to the app, select your favorite stores, and that’s it. From then on, you’ll earn points automatically each time you make a purchase at one of those stores. No receipt scanning, no activating offers — just shop and earn.”
In addition to earning points from the preselected stores automatically, you can earn additional points for shopping through the app and for referring friends. Points can be redeemed for gift cards for Amazon, Netflix, Starbucks and more.
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, which can be redeemed for gift cards and prizes.
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Effortlessly Earn Cash Back With Dosh
You can earn cash back without any effort when you use the Dosh app. Simply link your credit and debit cards to the app and when you use these cards to pay at one of the supported stores, you’ll automatically get up to 10% cash back on your purchase. You can then transfer the cash to your bank account, PayPal account or donate it to charity.
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 10,000-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.
Earn Cash Back With Ibotta
You can earn cash back at over 300 retailers with the Ibotta app when you shop in-store or online. To earn cash back in-store, add offers through the app, scan your receipts, and you’ll receive your cash within 24 hours. You can also shop directly through the Ibotta app and you’ll earn cash back on eligible purchases. Additionally, you can link select loyalty accounts directly to your Ibotta account to earn cash back automatically.
Sign Up For Earny for Extra Price Drop Protection
Earny is another app that claims a rebate on your behalf when a price drops on a purchase you made at any of the 15 major retailers they cover, which include Amazon, Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Costco and Nordstrom. Simply link the email account where you get your shopping receipts and Earny will start tracking prices for you.
“It’s a great way to make sure you’re getting the best deal even after you’ve made your purchase,” said Natalie Graham, a budget expert and founder of GoFromBroke.com.
Shop Online Through MyPoints
When you shop online at any of the 2,000 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 or cash via PayPal.
Get Cash When You Shop With Gift Cards With Raise
Raise is best known for selling discounted gift cards, but you can also opt to pay face value for gift cards and get rewarded with cash back in the form of Raise Cash. The cash-back option is available for top retail gift cards including Walmart, Lowe’s and Macy’s. Use the gift cards to pay for your holiday gifts, then use the cash back to buy discounted gift cards to use on yourself.
Shop Through Rakuten
Before you start shopping online, head over to Rakuten 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.
Get Cash for Your Receipts With Receipt Hog
No matter where you shop, Receipt Hog wants to know about it. The market research app rewards you every time you take a picture of a receipt, either with coins or the chance to win coins with a spin at the Hog Slots. Coins can then be redeemed for Amazon gift cards or cash via PayPal.
Turn Your Receipts Into Gift Cards With ReceiptPal
ReceiptPal operates much in the same way as Receipt Hog, but it makes it even easier to earn rewards by allowing you to link your email account to get credit for e-receipts automatically. You can also submit paper receipts too to ensure you get credit for all your holiday shopping receipts this season. Points can be redeemed for gift cards, and you’ll also have the chance to win cash through weekly sweepstakes.
Shop and Earn Money With RetailMeNot
RetailMeNot has become a go-to destination for money-saving promo codes, but the site also has numerous cash-back deals.
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 45 days of your purchase.
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.
Get Rewarded To Shop Online With Swagbucks
Swagbucks members earn SB points for every dollar they spend at over 1,500 retailers — including Amazon, Walmart, Target and Starbucks — when they shop through the Swagbucks website or app. SB points can then be redeemed for gift cards at top retailers like Amazon and Walmart, or you can redeem them for cash through 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.
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 three points for every dollar spent. And every 2,000 points gets you a $20 Nordstrom Note.
Meanwhile, the Costco Anywhere Visa gives you 4% cash back on gas, 3% cash back on restaurant and travel purchases, 2% cash back on Costco and Costco.com purchases and 1% 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 $11.60 an hour, though some shoppers can earn about $16 an hour, according to PayScale. It’s recommended that shoppers have organizational, customer service and time management skills.
Turn Your Shopping Into Investment Funds With Acorns
Acorns can automatically invest your spare change from your shopping purchases when you opt-in for automatic Round-Ups. You’ll also get extra funds invested into your account when you shop with your linked credit or debit card at one of Acorns’ over 350 Found Money partners. These partners include Barnes & Noble, Nike, Sephora and Walmart.
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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.