We’ve all seen those extreme coupon people. The ones who end up on tv or in the paper because they bought $1,000 in groceries for 67 cents. Impressive as that may be, who has the time to figure all of that out? It’s a full-time job clipping coupons, researching deals, mixing and matching, and calculating up the right mix. Not to mention, you’ve got $1,000 in groceries, but is it even food you like?
If you’re not into the minimalist lifestyle all the compulsive clipping, I just mentioned, I don’t blame you. I’m not here to tell you that you should be. But the truth is, you are probably missing out on a lot incredibly easy money. From cash back to receipt redemption, to digital coupons there are a lot of opportunities to keep more of your money, get some back, and even earn residual income.
According to Statista, the average American spends $2,912 annually on entertainment, $1,434 on apparel and services, $9,826 on transportation, and $7,316 on food every year. That’s $21,488 per year on things that could be earning you cash back.
Let’s say conservatively that you earned 2% cash back on all that. You would be getting about $432 per year. That may not sound like much, but if you’d been doing that for the past 10 years and investing that cash back you would have well over $6k earning you income right now.
A Deeper Dive
So, let’s take it a bit deeper here. Some say credit cards are the enemy, some swear by them. The truth is, if you use it responsibly and pay off the balance in full each month, they are generally an income tool. I’ve managed to get one with an incredible cash back of 5%, which is hard to find, but if you can even do 1-2% its well worth the trouble in my opinion.
Many people know Swagbucks as a survey site and its still very heavy on surveys, but it has a lot more to offer. A LOT. But what I’m going to focus on here is the cash back. For almost every online venue you can think of, Swagbucks has a cash back program. You just install the Swagbutton on your computer or visit the retailer through Swagbucks website, buy what you want, and get cash back. Now this is in the form of swagbucks (SB), which are redeemable for giftcards or straight up cash. So, say you spend $50 at Walmart and get 1% back, then you get 50 swagbucks which are equal to $0.50-$0.65 depending on your choice of card.
Take it a step further with swagbucks, you can also scan your receipts and get at least 2 SB, but often much more. For example, I recently got 150 SB ($1.50) because there were bananas and bread on my receipt.
Ibotta isn’t a guaranteed deal every time you shop. It’s select products and if you’re not careful the cash back can tempt you to buy things you wouldn’t otherwise buy. That’s not saving money, that’s spending. However, if you find something you would buy anyway you can get cash back. One example for me is some supplements and deodorant last week earned me $4 back. My total purchase was only $15 so that was awesome.
I’ve written about this one a few times and I can’t believe more people haven’t hopped on this. Fluz offers some crazy cash back from time to time. I’ve seen 35% cash back on everything from X-Box Live to Uber Eats in some cases – granted it doesn’t always last long. The general norm across the board is about 2% in my experience.
The cool thing is that you can invite others and if they join from your reference then you get a 10% bonus on their cash back for life. Now, don’t think that’s some kind of crazy windfall though. To put it into perspective, if your friend spent $1,000 and got 2% cash back that would mean you get a bonus that month of 10% of $20, which would be $2. Still, its passive income and that’s a step closer to never having to work again.
This is probably my favorite plug-in for Chrome. I’ve not earned any cash back from it, but it sure has saved me a lot of money. At the checkout it can take its wealth of discount codes and run through them to find you the one that will benefit you the most. Some times its free shipping, sometimes its nothing, but on occasion I’ve had up to 50% off some of my purchases.
Finally, once you have squeezed the cash back and discounts as dry as you can with nearly no effort, you can get a little extra out of your receipts. As I mentioned, Swagbucks will give you at least 2 SB and often much more. Coinout will also pay you for your receipts. I’ve not pinpointed the rhyme or reason as to how its calculated. I’ve gotten $0.01 and I’ve got $0.20 off of a single receipt. Usually its $0.02-.03 though.
Fetch is another good receipt app. Generally, you’ll get what translates to about $0.02 per receipt, but sometimes it’s a lot more if something they are promoting is on your receipt.
Dabble is a fantastic app for some quick easy money. Granted, its not a lot, but its quick and easy, which is my second favorite way to make money. The first being passive income. Dabble has a feature much like the previously mentioned apps that allows you to upload receipts for roughly $0.02 each or more if you’ve purchased select products.
The absolute best thing about all of this is that every bit is stackable. Its rare that a purchase falls into the best of every single category, but there is usually a really good overlap. For example:
Say you want to buy something from Amazon and you have a credit card that pays 2% cash back. Well, Fluz is offering 2.25% back, and Swagbucks is offering up to 4% back. So, you spend $100 (on something you were going to buy anyway).
You get $2 from your card, $2.25 from Fluz, and $4 from Swagbucks. You then upload your digital receipt everywhere and get $0.02 from Coinout, Fetch, and Dabble. You’ve got $8.31 back and now you can invest it and make that start earning you more income.
That’s just one purchase. Imagine how much money you would have if you did this every time you bought something?
This one isn’t really stackable with anything other than your credit card cash back, but it can still save you a ton. The GetUpside app can save you up to 25 cents per gallon on fuel, 45% on snacks, and 22% cash back on some convenience stores. Its super easy to use
Its More than Extra Money
Everybody loves having some extra cash, but this is more than just that. Its extra life. If you follow my passive income articles, then you are probably someone who understands the value of freedom. The idea of not having to wake up early and go to work is great. Not because you’re lazy, but because there is so much more to life than stocking shelves, sitting in an office, or leading presentations. Its hard to even know who you are when you’re so busy filling a role in a job sometimes.
This isn’t your overnight ticket to early retirement. But I encourage you to consider this, to retire you need to determine your monthly need and make your monthly passive income match or exceed that need.
If you can lower your need by even one percent, then you are instantly closer to full financial freedom. Moreover, you can compound that. What if you took that same one percent and put it into something that would generate passive income? And what if that passive income continued to compound and grow?
The real question is, do you want financial freedom, or do you just like the idea of financial freedom? Its never going to fall into your lap, you have to make the first move.