Some people love shopping so much that they figured out a way to make money at it. Secret shoppers report on quality while personal shoppers buy things on behalf of their clients. But doesn't being told when and where to shop or buying stuff for other people kind of take the fun out of it?
Luckily there are apps that give you money for shopping where and when you want. Many of the apps on this list will help you put more money in your pocket for things you intended to do anyway.
Swagbucks is an online rewards system. People receive Swagbucks (points) for shopping online, watching videos, searching the web, playing games and answering surveys. Then they can redeem the points for gift cards to Starbucks, Amazon, Home Depot, Barnes & Noble, and several other locations.
You can earn gift cards worth $5, all the way up to $25. The exchange rate is 1 cent = 1 point, so you must accumulate 2,500 points to earn a $25 gift card. Earning points seems time-consuming, after watching one movie trailer, I was sent a message stating that I needed to watch five more videos to earn to two points. When shopping online through the app, you can earn anywhere from one to 10 points per dollar that you spend. The average survey pays 75 points.
Here's a special deal only available to my Komando.com readers: You will automatically receive 1,000 Swagbucks points, earning you a $10 gift card as a sign-up bonus. Then you will earn 1,200 points within the first 30 days.
As a new user, this will give you enough points for a $25 Amazon Gift Card as soon as you achieve your bonus (2,200 Swagbucks points = a $25 Amazon gift card).
You can also earn 1,200 points quickly by completing a 5-10 surveys or all at once by discovering one of their many trial offers. You'll be able to watch a few video clips a day and get there in no time.
iBotta is an alternative to saving all your old, crumbled up receipts. When you download the free app from the App Store or the Google Play store, you get to choose from thousands of products offering rebates. These rebates may be anywhere from 25 cents to $5 cashback on a particular item. Of course, the more items you buy the more rebates you can redeem.
After you've selected all the items in the app that you wish to buy, head over to the store and purchase the things on your list. To redeem the cashback offers you must use your phone's camera to scan the barcodes and take a picture of your receipt. Within 48 hours, the redeemed money will be available in a PayPal or Venmo account. Or you can put your savings onto a gift card to redeem later.
iBotta has partnered with several major retailers including Walmart, GNC, Macy's, and TGIFriday's to provide these rebates. So you can select rebates for items you already buy that are being offered by places you already shop. And, right now new users can get a $10 welcome bonus.
3. Field Agent
Field Agent is a way for businesses to collect information to help them better serve their customers. People who use the app can earn money for taking surveys and completing tasks. Tasks include things like checking the price of a product or taking a photo of a store's display. The businesses use this feedback to improve their products and services.
Once you download it for free from the App Store or Google Play store, give it access to your location (just while using it) so that it can locate nearby tasks. You select tasks on a first come, first serve basis and you have two hours to complete them. It's most convenient to select tasks at places you already planned on going to or that happen to be near your destination.
Once you're done, submit your information to their site and Field Agent will pay you via PayPal. Expect to earn $2 to $12 per task.
Also, when you complete tasks, you will see your Field Agent score go up one point. The higher your Field Agent score, the more higher-paying jobs you will see. Failure to complete a task will result in three points being deducted from your score. If for some reason you can't complete a task, you have five minutes to cancel it without penalty.
ShopKick is also a rewards system and it's great for people who really love to shop. People earn Kicks (points) for simply walking into a store, looking at items they're interested in, using a credit or debit card to pay, and scanning receipts. Then they can redeem the points for gift cards to Target, Best Buy, Nike, Toys R Us and several other retailers.
The free app is available to download for Apple and Android users. Before you start earning points, you must pick a reward to work toward, which you can change at any time. The list of reward options ranges from 100 points for donating money to the American Red Cross to 1,875,000 points for a moped.
According to Coco Jones, the head of marketing and PR at ShopKick, the amount of points you earn per completed action varies from store to store and product to product. She says you can earn anywhere from five to 10 points for browsing through products within the app, 15 to 200 points for walking into stores, 10 to 75 points for scanning items on your phone, and 50 to 500 points for uploading your receipts. If you link a credit or debit card then that's an automatic 200 points.
The exchange rate is about 250 points per dollar, so you would need to earn 1,250 points for a $5 gift card. One way to earn a lot of points at once is to refer your friends, you can earn hundreds of points for inviting them to use the app.
You must allow the app to access your location (only while using it) so that it can refer you to deals and offers nearby. Also, make sure you redeem your points before the gift card offers expire.
eBates is great for people who love to shop from the comfort of their own home. Once you open the app, you can view a list of featured deals or search for deals on a list of all the participating retailers. When you select shop on a deal, you're transferred to the retailer's site. Going through the app to purchase things online is how you get the discounts.
The savings here are two-fold. Retailers offer deals like 25 percent off, free shipping, or $5 off when you spend $40. Then on top of that, each deal has an additional cashback incentive. eBates offers you anywhere from one to 28 percent cash back on your purchase. This cash back is collected in an account through the app. You receive quarterly checks or online payments.
You won't be able to access the money whenever you want, instead you will receive your cashback through quarterly payments. You can choose between a check in the mail or a deposit to a PayPal account. Since it's not an immediate payout, you could use it as a savings account.
The free app can be used on Apple and Android phones and tablets. It also works for Apple Watches. They're offering a $10 bonus just for joining in the form of a Walmart gift card or $10 cashback.
So just to recap, iBotta and ShopKick is helpful when you want to shop in person at malls, grocery stores, and other physical locations. Swagbucks and eBates are helpful when you want to shop from home via online sites. Field Agent can be used online and in person, you can complete tasks in nearby locations or take surveys online.
Also, iBotta, Field Agent, and eBates reward you with cash in an account, whereas Swagbucks and ShopKick reward you with points that you trade in for gift cards.