Disclaimer: I will earn a small commission for those who sign up to join Rakuten through my provided link. I ONLY RECOMMEND THIS SERVICE BECAUSE I ACTUALLY USE IT–AND LOVE IT–MYSELF! Okay. Now for the good stuff about saving money . . .
Does your life sometimes feel like a never-ending quest to keep the family budget in balance? I know exactly how you feel!
I’m always on the lookout for a discount code or money-saving measure to offset the inconvenient reality that my refrigerator keeps emptying of food and my kids keep growing out of their clothes. But I don’t just feel squeezed for money–I also feel squeezed for time. Sometimes it’s frustrating, knowing there’s probably a better discount or coupon somewhere. But I don’t have hours and hours to clip every coupon or scour ads for the best price on every little thing I buy.
Friends, this is why Rakuten has become my new best shopping friend.
Rakuten (formerly called Ebates) is a website/app that works kinda like my own personal coupon-hunter and it pays me cash back for TONS of online shops (think big names like Target, Old Navy, Expedia, Amazon . . . Oh so many many places!) For over a year, I’ve used my Rakuten account for my online shopping, and it’s saved me real money. And when I say real money, I mean an actual check in the mail every few months, in double digit dollar amounts each time! (And honestly? It would be more if I always remembered to use it.)
I’m generally a skeptic about anything that sounds too good to be true. And I know it probably sounds too good to be true that you can actually earn money back when you shop online! So I’m sharing this post as a personal endorsement of Rakuten, because:
- It’s 100% legitimate. I’ve personally cashed checks to prove it.
- It’s absolutely free. And,
- It’s helping my family save money, and I’d love for it to help you save money too!
So, since I haven’t figured out how to craft that money tree yet (if I ever do, I promise I’ll post about it!), I’m going to share a quick overview of how Rakuten works, and then offer a few tips for saving with their program.
Want to sign up for Rakuten? Click here. Then look for the “Join Now” button in the upper right corner of their site.
A FREE Service–How Rakuten Works:
Rakuten partners with a host of retailers. And I mean, a LOT of stores. From clothing to travel reservations, to restaurants, office supplies and Groupon deals…. I’m continually amazed at how many different stores allow me to earn cash back.
Rakuten earns a small commission when they send customers to these various sites. So when you sign up (for free) as a Rakuten user, they share that commission with you in the form of cash back, which gets paid by check or PayPal every three months. The amount you earn varies by store, so savings can range anywhere from 1% – 12 %. Some stores offer double cash back from time to time, so if you time your shopping right, you can save even more.
All you have to do is sign up for an account with Rakuten. Then, when you want to shop at eligible stores, you visit their site via the Rakuten app or website. (See tip #3 below for how to make this really easy using the browser button!)
Here’s the part I really love: When I’m shopping anywhere online, I can just click my Rakuten browser button, and I’ll see a list of all the discount codes available on that site for the day! (No more searching all over the Internet for a code, friends!!)
Here’s a quick example of how I save using Rakuten:
In preparation for summer, I recently purchased a bunch of shirts and shorts for my kids during an Old Navy sale. I was able to use a 25% off discount code (which I found simply by clicking the Rakuten browser button). My order ended up coming to just short of $100. Since Rakuten offers 4% cash back, I also earned an additional $4 cash from Rakuten. Now, $4 isn’t a huge amount of money, I know. But it really adds up over time when you earn from each of your online shopping trips. (Especially around the holidays, when my cyber shopping cart is on fire!)
So what are you waiting for? If you want to sign up just, click on the button below and look for “Join Now” on the upper right side of the screen. And read on for some great tips to help you make the most of your new account.
1. Sign Up Now to Earn Bonus $10!
For a limited time, Rakuten will give you $10 Cash Back just for signing up! And it doesn’t cost a cent to start an account. So if you think you might ever possibly shop at one of their partner stores, now’s a great time to sign up!
(You get paid this bonus after you make your first $25 purchase at one of their partner stores. So once you start shopping, you’ll earn your regular cash back, plus the $10 bonus. Yea!)
2. Always Check Store Participation
I feel like a bit of a broken record at this point, but I just have to point out that there are so many different online shops were you can save with Rakuten. Just last summer, I decided to give my husband an Ancestry.com kit for his birthday, and I was happily surprised to see I could earn 7.5% using Rakuten! When we were shopping for a new refrigerator, we found savings options at Sears and Lowe’s. I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea: There’s a TON of different retail partners they work with.
So when you’re about to make an online purchase, always double check at the Rakuten website to see if the shop participates in their program. (Or Grab the browser button to do this work for you! See #3 below.)
To browse their full list of partners, check out Rakuten.com and click on “All Stores.”
3. Get the Browser Button!!!
Yes, I gave this tip three exclamation points. Here’s why: I didn’t do this right away, and I missed earning cash back because of it because I don’t always remember to visit the Rakuten site before I shop. If you install the Rakuten browser button, you’ll be automatically reminded to use your Rakuten account every time you’re shopping at an eligible store!
So when you visit an eligible website, a box will automatically pop up, letting you know what the cash back offer is and giving you a button to click so your purchase will link to your Rakuten account. I don’t know about you friends, but I need this kind of reminder–and I’m so glad Rakuten makes it easy to remember!
And as a nice bonus, clicking the browser button will also give you a list of all the discount codes currently available on the site you’re shopping at, so there’s no need to hunt all over the Internet for discount codes! Since adding the browser button, I’ve been able to save a lot more because I actually remember to use my Rakuten account AND I have quick access to all the sale codes I need.
Here’s how you grab the button: At the bottom of the Rakuten home page, in the menu that appears in a black box, look under “Tools and Services.” Just click on “Rakuten button” and you’ll be directed to all the info you need. It’ll only take you a minute: And it will save you a bundle!
4. Tell Your Friends and Earn A Referral Bonus
Right now, Rakuten will give YOU a $25 bonus for every friend who signs up from your referral and starts making purchases. That’s a pretty awesome deal. (Again, I know it’s legit. Because I totally got my parents to sign up and earned the bonus.)
Once you sign up and log in, you can click on the “Refer and Earn $25+” button to get the details. And Rakuten makes it simple to refer friends: You can either send an email directly through their site, or you write a personal email to your friends and fam and use a referral code that they’ll give you. So tell your mom, your daughter, your sis, your friends and coworkers . . . well, you get the idea. Share a great money-saving idea, and earn a little money in the process: That’s a win-win for everyone!
5. Think Big (Purchases)
Most of the time, I save with Rakuten on smallish purchases like clothing or books or household supplies. But you can actually use Rakuten for big-ticket items like appliances, furniture, sports equipment, and technology too. With partners like Dell, Samsung, Amazon, and Best Buy, you could save a bundle when it comes to purchasing appliances or tech gear. Or you could earn cash back for that new patio furniture or sofa at places like Overstock.com, Pier 1, and Target.com. Buying new camping gear or a new treadmill? You can earn cash back with Dick’s Sporting Goods, Cabela’s, Bowflex, or dozens of other sporting good partners.
So next time you head out to shop for those big-ticket items, make your final purchase online using your Rakuten account so you can earn a nice little cash back check!
6. Don’t Forget Travel!
If you aren’t the camping sort, then you probably end up booking a hotel or vacation rental from time to time when you want to travel or visit family. Great news: Rakuten partners with a huge variety of hotel chains and general travel sites like Expedia and Hotels.com so you can earn a little cash back on those travel expenses too. (And hey, if you ARE a camper, make sure you check out their sporting good partners to save on all your gear!)
My family rarely flies, so we haven’t taken advantage of airfare cash back, but I’ve noticed that Rakuten has several airline partners, as well as car rental companies that offer cash back too. So next time you plan to travel, keep your Rakuten account in mind. You might save a bundle.
7. Don’t Buy Things You Won’t Use
Friends, there’s a temptation with a program like this: When you see all those fun stores listed on a site like Rakuten, it can make you just want to shop, shop, shop. But here’s the deal: I’m not telling you about this program because I want to help you shop more, or tempt you to buy stuff you don’t really need. I just want to help you save on the things you’re already buying.
So please don’t sign up and go on a crazy spending spree: That’s not what I’m about. Using Rakuten should be about earning cash back on items you were going to purchase anyway.
If you have decent self-control and can resist offers that don’t apply to you, Rakuten will be an awesome program for you. Go ahead and sign up today! But if you’re the kind of person who gets easily sucked in to buying unnecessary items by discounts and deals, then maybe this program actually isn’t for you. You want to choose the offers that fit your family, rather than getting sucked into stores and purchases you never planned. And all that cash back won’t really save you a penny if you’re spending on things you didn’t really need to begin with.
8. Grab the App
I will admit that I don’t use the Rakuten app much myself. (I generally shop on my computer, so the browser button is my buddy.) But if you shop by phone frequently, the Rakuten app will help you investigate cash back deals and keep track of your Cash Back and spending all in one convenient place. Just search for “Rakuten app” or “Ebates app” in your app store of choice and click to install.
Hopefully these tips will help you make the most of your new Rakuten account. If you’re ready to sign-up, I’d be tickled if you use my referral link by clicking below. I hope your family will be blessed in a simple way as you earn a little cash back with Rakuten!