The other day while shopping at Target, I was in complete awe of the person in front of me who checked out a cart with goods worth at least $50 for only $2.84!
Now this post is nowhere near that level of couponing skill, but it's the next best thing: a really easy to save money shopping online with a pretty clever Rakuten hack. Learn a really simple way to maximize your money by layering deals (that don't involve any coupon clipping!).
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The two money-saving methods we'll be combining for double savings:
First, what is Rakuten?
Rakuten (formerly called Ebates) is a website that gives you cash back for shopping at any of the thousands of participating merchants. They get a commission from the merchant for purchases made through their site. To entice buyers like you and me to go through their site, Rakuten gives you part of that commission. It’s a win-win!
How do you earn money through Rakuten?
First, create an account, which is really easy to do. First-time users can get $10 in a gift card or cash back after their qualifying purchase.
Next, select a merchant and check what kinds of purchases qualify for the cashback.
Click on the Shop Now button, and the merchant's website will open in a separate window. Rakuten automatically tracks what purchases you make to determine how much your cash back should be and posts it to your Rakuten account.
Caption: After creating an account, find a participating merchant from the search bar at top or use the All Stores dropdown on left. Additional cashback bonuses can be seen in the menu bar towards the bottom.
On top of that, Rakuten sometimes offers other cash back bonuses at select stores. A while ago, I took advantage of $5 off $25 at Macy’s, so I got extra money IN ADDITION to the cash back percentage. Be sure to check what the current offers are as they change from time to time.
Caption: See percent cash back available and click the Shop Now button to be taken to the merchant's website to complete your transaction. Cash back terms list what are and aren't eligible for cash back.
And what is Raise.com?
Raise.com is an online gift card marketplace. If someone doesn't want a gift card, they can sell it to Raise at a discount to get cash. After Raise verifies the card, they resell it for slightly more than what they bought it at, but often times the price is still less than the card's actual retail value. Wins all around again!
How do you save money through Raise.com?
Explore Raise's vendor list to see how much of a discounted rate you can get for a gift card. You don’t need an account to see what’s available, but you’ll need to create one in order to buy a gift card. First-time users, use this link to get $5 off your first purchase!
Steps on how to save money shopping online the easy way
Now let's get to the fun stuff of getting yourself a good deal with this Rakuten hack! Here is how to stack Rakuten and Raise.com together to earn two bonuses for the price of one.
Step 1: Find what you want to buy online
If you already have something in mind that you want to buy online, go ahead and see where it’s available. Otherwise, you can skip this first step if there is a go-to place that you know you'll be shopping at in the near future, and you just want to get a jump start on taking advantage of promotions or discounted gift cards from Raise.
(Example: blanket and bed sheet set from Bed, Bath, and Beyond for $75)
Step 2: Check if a gift card for your choice merchant is available on Raise.com
If you aren't ready to buy anything, you can still stock up on a discounted gift card now if it's available. Then later, when you need to buy something from that store, you already have the gift card on hand.
(5% off a $50 gift card, score!)
Step 3: Log onto Rakuten and select Raise.com as the merchant
Rakuten will display a list of which specific stores that have gift cards listed on Raise.com will qualify for an Rakuten cash back bonus.
(Great! Bed, Bath, and Beyond is on the list!)
Step 4: Click the SHOP NOW button on Rakuten and purchase the gift card through Raise.com
After Rakuten opens a new window that redirects you to Raise.com, add a gift card to your cart and check out. If this is your first time making a purchase on Raise.com, you'll get a $5 discount. You won't see the discount in your cart, but it will appear during the checkout process.
(Happily purchase Bed, Bath, and Beyond gift card)
Step 5: Go back to Rakuten and select the merchant that you intend to buy your product/service from
Hey, if Rakuten wants to reward you for shopping online, why not take them up?
Go back to Rakuten to see if the site you now have the gift card for also offers cashback through Rakuten.
The chances are pretty good they do too, which means you are earning cash back twice from Rakuten on the same product you ultimately want to buy: once when you bought the gift card through Raise and a second time when you use the gift card to actually buy the item.
(Select Bed, Bath, and Beyond as the merchant and get redirected to the Bed, Bath, and Beyond website.)
Step 6: Complete your purchase with the gift card you bought from Raise.com
Pat yourself on the back for some offer-stacking well done!
(Smile some more as the amount of cash back goes up)
Step 7: Rinse and repeat
Get rewarded again and again...there's no limit to how many times can you do this!
Let's calculate the savings
Going back to the example purchase I made at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, here’s the breakdown of what I earned:
+$5 Raise.com rewards for first-time purchase
+% discount off Bed, Bath, and Beyond gift card from Raise.com
+% cash back from Rakuten for Raise purchase (not to mention any extra cash back for the final purchase from Bed, Bath, and Beyond)
=OVER $20 in savings!
In just 15 minutes, I saved myself $20 on something that I was ALREADY going to buy. This Rakuten hack to double your cash back earnings through Rakuten as well as save more with discounted gift cards from Raise.com is a such a clever yet still totally legitimate way to save money shopping online that isn't even a hassle. Wins all around!