Frugal Friday: Reward/Cash Back Programs (Guest Post)

Since I have not done Frugal Friday in awhile I thought I would kick start it again with a guest blog post from my friend, Beth.  Beth has her own blog about frugal living, couponing, being a mom, and running.  She also has worked in the school setting as a Guidance Counselor so she knows how often teachers try to save money so that they are able to purchase more for their classrooms.   You can check out her blog at Frugal Running Mama. Enjoy!  ~Caitlin


I LOVE to save money. And I love to earn money back on things I purchase. I've been a member of several different reward/cash back programs for awhile and I've found some I like and really trust.

  Shopkick: This is a fun app on my smart phone and I love it! You earn points for walking into certain stores, scanning specific items, and looking through what they call “look books”. You can redeem your points for gift cards to several different stores. You cshopkickan also earn kicks if you register your debit card with the app. I don't usually do this, but my sister did it and loves the extra points she gets. Sometimes you get notifications of bonuses available for spending certain amounts, or with extra kicks for certain stores. It’s pretty easy to get kicks, especially if you go to the stores that get you kicks on a regular basis. I will normally have to wait a few days to get kicks for Target because I go there so  often. I can still earn for scans, but just not kicks for a few days. I think they limit the amount of kicks you can earn each week in each store. If you are having trouble getting an item to scan, or if it keeps saying the barcode doesn't match, take a photo of the item and the barcode and email it to customer service later. Normally they will credit you the kicks you missed out on and then they can update the item in the program so that it will scan better for other people. They are very nice and responsive when you are having trouble, so just shoot them an email with questions or concerns.

  Viggle: This is an app on my smartphone that I use when watching anything on television. It works on shows that you are watching on the live or on the DVR, but not Netflix or movies. If you are watching a prime time show at the time it is airing, you can sometimes do trivia and earn more points. The awards shows that are on a few times a year have a  lot of points for trivia! You open the app and “check in” by letting your phone listen to the television. Make sure there are no other noises- especially talking or crunching on snacks. Since I watch TV anyways, I might as well earn points doing it. You can also complete offers to earn more points, so I look through these every few weeks to see if there is anything I am interested in. They offer a wide variety of rewards, some things "sell out" but usually come back the next month. So if you don't see something you want, just wait a week or two and check again.
  SwagBucks: This is a rewards site where you earn points for all kinds of things! You can take surveys, search the internet, watch videos, play games…there are so many things  you can do! I use it as my everyday search engine for EVERYTHING. When I want to go to my email, I type the address in SwagBucks. There is an app where you can watch videos for points. It takes a few videos to get points, so it's something I do if I am bored, or I let my daughter watch the kid videos and earn points. You can earn all different gift cards with your points, I usually go for the $5 to Amazon or $5 to Starbucks.

  Ibotta: With this app, you buy certain products, and you earn cash back on them. You scan your receipt for the approved stores and when you get to $5, you can request payout via PayPal. Just recently they emailed me saying one of my store cards can be registered so I automatically earn cash back on qualifying purchases without having to upload a receipt. I check this app about once a week to see what I can earn. In order to earn the money, you have to do a few things for each item. Usually it's watch a video, share on Facebook or learn a fact. It only takes a few minutes to go through and decide which items you want and do the required actions.

  Receipt Hog: This is the newest one I was told about by a friend. After you shop, you take a picture of your receipt to be uploaded and you can earn money back. I just uploaded my first receipt and am waiting for it to process. I am hoping this one is a really good once since most of the items I buy are natural and there are no coupons or cash back options for many natural items. Right now, this is only available for iPhone but you can enter your email on the website to be alerted when it is available for other mobile devices. 

  Nexercise: You can earn points with this app for doing exercise. I am really bad at remembering to open this when I start a run, but my friend does it and I just set it to send me alerts when she starts, to remind me to use this one! You can earn gift cards and special coupons with this app.

jingit-logoJingit: This app started out as an online earner, but now that I have a smart phone I have connected my account. When you earn money on this app, you can spend it at or you can register to have them send you a Jingit Debit Card that you can use for purchases. You can earn money for watching videos, you can purchase items and get cash back on the app, scan items at stores. If you choose to have the debit card sent to you, they charge you $3.00 from what you earned for the card. This is a one time charge. There is also a fee if the card is inactive for 90 days. $2.00 will be deducted from your balance for inactivity. So, if you are going to use this app a lot, get the card and  use it often. It does require you to enter your SS# to get the card. This is offered through USBank, so it's up to you if you want to try this one or not. I currently have about $5 in my app and am waiting until I get more to apply for the card. I am also considering using it for music since I am always looking for new running music. You can download it through iTunes. I'm sure there are other apps out there that I will find soon, but for now, these are the ones that I am using to earn money/gift cards. What is your favorite way to earn?

Check out more of my writing at Frugal Running Mama! I write about living frugally, running and being a mom. 



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