Tips for Saving with the ibotta app

Wait! Don’t throw those receipts away! There may be cash back on them!!

Ok, so if you know me in real life, or even on Instagram , then you are aware that I am currently a wee bit obsessed with the ibotta app! OK, ok, A LOT obsessed! I actually joined back in 2014, but at that time I regretfully didn’t take the time to get the hang of it and now I am kicking myself for those 5 years of missed savings! I started using it in earnest in late June 2019, and in the 2 month period since then I have earned over $200. And this savings is CASH BACK. YES, real life cash you can Venmo or PayPal to yourself, or take as any number of awesome gift card options, like Amazon, Target, Zappos, Whole Foods, amongst many others!

I am sharing this “how to guide” since in my short experience with the ibotta app, I have noticed that people seem to have a tough time getting started, but it is actually pretty easy to use, and totally worth the effort! Since they often offer a $20 welcome bonus you need to get up to speed before you start so you are ready snag some big savings!

1: SIGN UP and join my team here. This link includes my embedded referral code, but in case you get asked for it again it is 6s5xiq. Sometimes it drops out if you sign in using Facebook and you will get asked for it again. If you join my team you will benefit a little bit from my purchases and me from yours, as together we work towards teamwork bonuses. That’s a win win for us both! Boom! If you connect to your Facebook account then all of your Facebook friends on ibotta will also be on your team, so you will be in good company right away.

2: DOWNLOAD the ibotta app from the App Store and sign in. Open the app and follow along below to get a feel for using it. Trust me, you will catch on quickly.

3: GET STARTED BY CLIPPING digital coupons within your favorite stores inside the app. See photo above for the home page showing my frequented retailers.

To clip you hit the red “+” symbol for the item (blue arrow in screen shot above). The clipping action is part of the “get” for the retailers. They gain a little advertising moment as a small blurb about the item may pop up as you clip. You may even learn a little something new about things you already use. Winning!|

Only coupons you “clip” are active. The red “+” symbol will change to a green check mark to show your coupon is now active (green arrow in screen shot above). Some coupons allow multiple uses indicated by an icon at the bottom of the item which will read LIMIT 3 or LIMIT 5, (red arrow in screen capture above).

The first time you clip coupons it will feel like it is a long list, but once you have done it initially, you can then just go in once or twice a week and review the New Offers tab. Any coupon you clip will apply to all stores offering it.

If you are looking for a specific item there is a search button in the top right corner of the app.

There are tabs for categories at the top of the coupons list.
Clipped active coupons will appear in the bottom banner called “Your List” within each store. You can review them there before or while you are shopping.

4: FOR IN STORE SHOPPING:
After shopping make sure no new coupons have come in and then hit redeem. You will then take a photo of your receipt inside the app and hit finish. The app will automatically recognize most if not all of the offers that apply. If you think there are missing items it will give you the option to add more items with easy instructions. Once you have completed the receipt scan it will either immediately give you the savings, or it may sometimes take a short while to process the savings. Receipts can be redeemed for up to a week from the date of purchase, so get in a habit of redeeming them when you unload your groceries. You can view your total savings under the Account tab.

Some stores now offer linking of loyalty cards so that redemption of your clipped coupon occurs automatically at store checkout. In that case just make sure you clip any relevant coupons BEFORE your shopping trip to get the most bang for your buck.

5. FOR ONLINE SHOPPING:
You must enter the online store FROM the ibotta app, and you must add the items to your cart from ibotta. Any items already in your cart before entering ibotta will not count towards cash back or bonuses.

Online retailers may offer coupons to clip, but most offer a percent cash back. For example at the moment Amazon is offering 3% cash back on all purchases, and eBags is offering 11% back. These numbers will vary with promotions. FYI these percent cash back purchases do not count as “offers” towards bonuses. Once you get in the habit of entering the app for your online purchases the cash back savings will really add up.

Online purchases may take up to 14 days to appear in your account. Cash back credit for returned online items will reversed and subtracted from your account.

6. BONUSES:
Here is where you will make a big percentage of the cash back! Of the $200 I have earned so far, $76 of it was from bonuses!

When you join you will likely have a WELCOME bonus worth $20 if you redeem a certain number of “offers” within 14 days of joining. Some important terms to understand. An “offer” refers to the clipped coupon items. It is important to know that “any item” coupons do not apply as offers, and if you buy multiples of an item only 1 of that item will apply as an offer toward the bonus. Online purchases do not count as offers unless there are specific coupons offered on the retailers ibotta page.

So far I have noticed that I typically get a “weekend warrior” bonus just before the weekend and I sometimes get a “mid week” bonus offer as well. Bigger bonuses seem to drop around holidays. As I am writing this blog post 2 big Labor Day bonuses just dropped. 1 is a $10 bonus for in store purchases, which would be easy to achieve if you were planning a Labor Day gathering, and the second is a $10 bonus for a cumulative $200 in online purchases from their many retailers. I will keep this in mind for the future as I JUST made a big purchase from Vitacost earlier this week and I should have held out knowing they would drop a big bonus for Labor Day, just like they did earlier this year for July 4th. I am anticipating more of the same types of bonuses for upcoming holidays.

There are also bonuses for referrals, which is a double win because you will be building your team when your friends join and your friends will be introduced to a way to save money with receipts they are just throwing away. The typical referral bonus is $3, but there are sometimes larger incentives. You will only earn the referral bonus once your friend has signed up using your referral code and redeemed a qualifying offer, which again would not include “any item” purchases or non offer related online purchases. Your referral code can be found under Account>Invite Friends. I have found that email invites work better than text invites since the referral code is imbedded in the email link, but must be manually entered from the text link.

7. PAY with ibotta: Some stores are now offering additional cash back for using the app to pay for your purchases. You can link your Apple Pay or a credit card to the app for payment. The ibotta app generates a gift code that is scanned when you enter the total amount of the sale. I did this for the first time the other day at Whole Foods and it was actually quite easy and my cashier was even familiar with the drill. I literally JUST got a notice that, due to overwhelming demand, Pay with ibotta is currently unavailable while they work on some updates, but I will revise this section when it becomes available again, with more details on the new format.