Paper receipts may feel like nothing more than a lot of extra clutter in your purse, but you can turn those currently useless slips into a little extra cash to pad your wallet for your next shopping spree. Here are my current favorite money making services for submitting your shopping receipts:
1. National Consumer Panel
Because you need to scan almost every item you purchase, National Consumer Panel (NCP for short) is not only a great way to earn rewards, but also a good way to track your cash flow. The recent addition of their mobile app makes it easier to track you purchases and lets you redeem your points instantly for gift cards. Surveys and bonus points for submitting at least once a week help you reach your goal faster. We’ve been using the app for a little less than a year so far and just traded in our points for a $25 Amazon gift card.
2. Ibotta & Checkout 51
Ibotta and Checkout 51 are both smartphone apps that offer cash rewards for purchasing certain items. When you reach a certain amount, you can cash out your rewards. Ibotta offers a long list of ever-changing items and I’ve cashed out $40 since I started using them a year ago (I often forget to use it for several weeks so my rewards haven’t grown as quickly as they could). Checkout 51 is similar and I prefer their interface, but for now I’ve given up on them due to a short list of eligible items and not including store brand items on the list. Brand rebates are great if you plan to purchase those items anyway, but often store brand items still have the lowest price.
3. Receipt Hog
I’m new to this one so I can’t say how long it takes to cash out, but Receipt Hog is one of my favorites so far. All you do is take a picture of your receipts and earn reward points or free spins on the prize wheel. No list of eligible products to remember, no barcodes to scan. Just snap a picture and you’re done!
4. Wal-Mart Savings Catcher
Not only do they offer low prices, Wal-Mart will price match competitors and pay you back the difference if you overspend. Every receipt has a barcode and QR code at the bottom. Enter the barcode number online or scan the QR code into the Wal-Mart Savings Catcher app on your smartphone. That’s it! Within a few days any available refunds will be added to your account and when you’re ready you can load them onto a Wal-Mart gift card.
While you technically don’t need a receipt for this app, I couldn’t resist mentioning Shopkick. It’s by far the most fun money-making app I’ve used, and you can cash out for gift cards at lower denominations than previous apps, making your rewards feel like they add up faster.
All you need to do is open the app when you’re in an eligible store and you’ll get points for visiting. Scan the barcodes on certain items throughout the store and you’ll receive extra points (and look slightly crazy in the process, but you get used to it eventually). Occasionally certain items offer bonus points for purchasing them (don’t forget to scan the receipt!) but it’s optional. It’s essentially free money for shopping. I often redeem the points for $2 – $5 gift cards at Wal-Mart, Target, or Starbucks to cover my morning latte or pick up a random grocery item for a recipe.
A lot of stores and restaurants offer survey opportunities on the bottom or the back of the receipt. Sure it’s time consuming, but you can get free food and entrees to win prizes. Lately I’ve challenged myself to take more receipt surveys to maximize my savings.
If you have a favorite app or tip for maximizing your earnings while shopping, I’d love to hear it! Drop me a line in the comment section.