How to Make Money While Shopping Online

October 8, 2013

I make the majority of my purchases online. With coupon codes and free shipping, it’s hard to find a better deal in a brick and mortar store. In the midst of all my online shopping, I stumbled upon a few ways to actually make money by buying online.

If you consistently shop online and you are not using Ebates, you are losing out on cold, hard cash. Ebates is a free Web site that offers cash back on the purchases you make online. All you have to do is start on the Ebates Web site, click the link to the store at which you want to shop, and complete your purchases as you normally would. You then earn a percentage of your total in cash back. Once you reach $25 in cash back for the quarter, Ebates will mail you a check. Ebates earns a commission from stores it is affiliated with (they partner with over 1,500 sites) and shares that commission with you.

Swag Bucks
This is a free portal where members can earn virtual dollars, called “Swag Bucks.” You can earn Swag Bucks by searching the Web, shopping online, taking surveys, watching videos, playing games, and voting in polls. Just start on the Swag Bucks Web site or download the Swag Bucks toolbar. Once you earn enough Swag Bucks, you can redeem them in their rewards store for a multitude of different gift cards.

OpenTable is a free Web site where you can make reservations at approximately 28,000 restaurants across the country and in Germany, Japan, Canada, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. Certain reservations will earn members Dining Rewards Points if they initiate the reservation through OpenTable’s Web site. Simply make a reservation online, show up, and eat. Once 2,000 points are accumulated, they can be redeemed for Dining Cheques that can be used at any OpenTable-affiliated restaurant. 2,000 points will earn you a $20 Dining Cheque.

Credit Cards with Reward Points
You can “double-dip” in the cash back if you use a credit card that has rewards points in conjunction with the Web sites listed above. My favorite card is the Rewards Visa. I buy an embarrassing amount of things from Amazon and this card offers 3x points on all purchases. Plus, it gives 2x points on gas, restaurants, and drug stores and 1 point for every dollar spent everywhere else. You can then redeem these points for future Amazon purchases.

An Example:

We were recently in the market for a new bathroom vanity. After some research, we decided to buy one at Home Depot. While I could have bought it in-store, I decided to look online to see if there was an opportunity for cash back. Turns out, I could purchase the exact same vanity through and have it ready for me to pick up at my local store. I was able to go through Ebates and use my Amazon card to pay for the transaction.

Vanity: $419.00

Ebates offered 3% cash back at Home Depot: $12.57 cash back

Amazon Card: 419 points = $4.19 cash back

Total Cash Back: $16.76

I was able to put nearly $17 back in my pocket just by purchasing something I was going to buy anyway using Ebates and my cash back credit card.

Have you managed to make money while shopping online? Tell us your story!