In the age of rewards programs and consumer incentives, it has become relatively normal to expect some sort of rewards program or partnership from major brands. Even if you aren’t involved in brand-specific rewards programs, there are a few ways to earn and save some extra rewards and money on your everyday purchases. Here are a few of our favorite apps to help you get the most out of your spending.
If you’re looking to earn rewards for purchases you make every day, Drop is a good way to start. Drop partners with some of your favorite brands and allows you to earn points for every purchase you make with a linked credit card. Signing up is simple; just download the Drop app, pick some of your favorite brands like Target, Dominos or Apple, and link a credit card to your account. Every time you use your linked credit card to make a purchase with one of your registered brands, you’ll earn Drop points. Now, it does take a while to accumulate points because you only earn points with certain brands, but Drop does offer bonuses and promotions to help you stock up even faster. You need at least 5,000 Drop points to start redeeming them for gift cards, and it costs 5,000 Drop points for a $5 gift card. It’s not a huge payout and it’s certainly not a quick-rewards program, but earning Drop points on purchases you’ll make anyway is the rewards equivalent of putting on an old jacket and finding a $5 bill in your pocket. It’s definitely better than nothing!
Ibotta functions a lot like Drop, except instead of redeeming points for retailer gift cards, you can actually get cash back by completing promotions. Simply sign up for Ibotta and add your favorite retailers from the approved list and then select offers from those retailers. Then, when you’ve made a purchase that qualifies for the advertised rebate on Ibotta, you have one week to submit your proof of purchase. You can either manually enter information about your purchase from your receipt or shop online by selecting your desired retailer from Ibotta and making purchases through the retailer’s app. When you earn a rebate, you can find that cash in your account within one to two days, and once you’ve earned at least $20 in rebates, you can put that cash into your PayPal or Venmo. You can also opt for a gift card if you’d rather put your rebates towards a specific retailer. Again, it’s similar to Drop but with Ibotta, you earn cash rebates by completing retailer-specific offers.
It seems to happen to you every time: you made a purchase with a major retailer, and then the item goes on sale the next day. With Earny, you can actually get that difference refunded back! Here’s how it works: Earny searches your inbox for receipts with major retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Target, Macy’s and more. It can track price trends and refund the difference from 14-90 days after your purchase, depending on the retailer’s price protection policy. Earny also claims the price protection policy offered by your credit card, if applicable, which covers purchases that don’t have a price protection policy from the retailer. Additionally, Earny offers price protection for hotel purchases as well as exclusive user-only discounted rates on hotel stays. As far as price protection apps, Earny is a comprehensive and beneficial choice.
This one isn’t a rewards program, but it’s a great introduction to micro-investment and functions as a convenient set-it-and-forget-it side account. Acorns is pretty well known as a “roundup” app, meaning it analyzes purchases from your linked credit cards and accounts and will round up that purchase to the next dollar (or more) to put that into a separate account for you. Most folks on a moderate budget wouldn’t miss those extra few cents per purchase, and those pennies can add up quicker than you’d think. However, Acorns doesn’t just throw those pennies into an account and close it off; instead, Acorns will invest those pennies into a combination of government and corporate bonds as well as large, small, emerging, real estate, and international stocks. Furthermore, you have the option to choose how aggressive or conservative you’d like your micro-investment profile to be. If you’d like to rely heavily on government and corporate bonds, you can go conservative. On the other hand, you can invest most heavily in large company stocks with an aggressive portfolio. If you don’t want to put too many of your acorns in one basket, go for a moderate and well-balanced profile. Whatever you choose, Acorns is a great introduction to micro-investing and is a nice way to put away a few cents on the dollar every time you spend and ultimately make some extra money from your investments.
What are some of your favorite money-making apps?
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