First Person: Cash Back Programs Are Profitable for Me

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With two young kids, I don't like going from store to store looking for the best deal. This takes too long. Yet, I don't like paying full price. Cash back or rebate programs allow me to get a percentage of money back after I make a purchase. Unlike coupons, I may have to wait to get my money back. However, cash back programs are profitable for me. In fact, every year, I get about $175 back for my efforts.

Automatic Cash Back Programs

I shop at several online sites that give cash back after I make a purchase. Diapers.com is one site that gives me 5% back on my diaper purchases. Since it is one of the only places where I can buy sensitive diapers in bulk, this saves me money. The next time I go to purchase diapers, I will have a nice 5% credit from my previous purchase. I don't have to enter any codes and the payment is automatically applied to my next purchase. Some sites give me money back every quarter. For instance, drugstore.com, gives me 5% back for future purchases. However, the cash back can only be used for about a month. Overall, I get about $50 back a year for using these automatic cash back programs.

Click and Get Cash Back Programs

Before you go online shopping, some cash back programs require you to click a link. By shopping through the link, I can get anywhere from 1% to 20% cash back. The money goes into an account and, most likely, will automatically be sent to you through PayPal or check. A few months ago, I joined Ebates and was given a $10 Target gift card just for using the site. Along with the gift card, I have received $15 cash back in only two months. I have been a part of many click to get cash back sites. Overall, I "earn" about $100 a year just for shopping.

Rewards Programs

I'm not a huge fan of carrying around 10 cards in my wallet or on my key chain to get rewards. However, I can't pass up the savings. Although I mostly shop at natural food stores, I do take advantage of the loyalty programs at Babies R' Us and CVS. Every few months, I receive a $5 "gift card" for using my card when I shop. CVS gives me Extra Care Bucks. These receipt-like gift cards have an expiration date and I usually get between $1-$3 dollars. These types of rewards are great because I can buy anything I would like. Through loyalty programs, I receive about $25 a year.

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