REVIEW: Editor earns $25 on app during a few months’ grocery shopping

Ibotta is an app designed to give consumers money back for items they purchase. Ibotta works with major retail stores such as Walmart, Kroger, Target, H-E-B and Walgreens. The app also has major online retailers such as Amazon, Hotels.com, Etsy and multiple online major-brand clothing stores.

For in-person shopping, Ibotta has a list of offers on items that range from a head of lettuce to kitty litter. The items in the offers tab change daily, and many of the offers last for a week to a month.

After choosing the offers you want, go shopping! Be sure to save your receipt because this is how you will get money back. Ibotta works by scanning your receipt and matching deals with items you chose from the offers list.

It seems like a gimmick, but it is truly that easy. Find offers, shop and scan. I like to use Ibotta for grocery shopping. I find that to get the most money out of a shopping trip, check the deals on the app before heading to the store.

The app can be slightly misleading occasionally, so be sure to read the fine print on the offer before throwing an item in your cart.

Say for instance you need Nesquik chocolate powder because you’re an adult who loves chocolate milk. There’s an offer on Ibotta for $1.25 back on Nesquik and you think, “Yes! I can drink like a child but save money like an adult.” You go to aisle four in the Walmart Supercenter and there it is—Nesquik. You grab the “lower sugar” option because it’s a little healthier, and it comes in an 18.7- ounce cannister. That’s a lot of chocolate powder for one person. You wouldn’t need, say, a 35.5-ounce cannister because you don’t drink that much chocolate milk anyway.

Once you get home, you unpack all the groceries and pull out your receipt and scan it with the Ibotta app. Sadly, you do not get $1.25 back from your shopping trip because Ibotta was only offering that rebate on the 35.5-ounce cannister and not your 18.7- ounce cannister.

I do not use the Ibotta app as much for online purchases because it is like pulling up a browser on a website that works better in its own app. This makes it frustrating to shop on another retailer’s site.

Amazon for example only has certain items available for rebates. Ibotta will not give money back for any item on Amazon. This leads to searching endlessly for a product you might need or want.

Some stores have their entire site up for cash back. For example, JCPenney is a store that offers 1.5 percent cash back but might not be valid if you use a coupon at checkout. All online orders take 90 days to get cash back because that is the period of time that you could return an item. Rebates will not be given on returned items. Again, this only works if you launch JCPenney from the Ibotta app.

I’ve earned a little over $25 while using the app, and it’s been a few months. If I used the app more wisely, I probably could have doubled that amount. The money accumulates slowly, but I’ll take free money even if it does take a long time to earn it. Cash is given in $20 intervals and can be given through PayPal, Venmo or an assortment of gift cards.

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