Here's your shopping list for the week. Monday is sunscreen, beauty products, ice cream, and beer – unless you like craft beer, in which case you should wait until Thursday. Tuesday is for wine, unless you prefer rosé, in which case Wednesday is your day. Wednesday is also the day for coffee, avocados, and other produce. Thursday is for cleaning products and quinoa. On Friday, you buy snacks, bread and hot sauce – and you never shop on the weekend at all.
This seemingly random shopping list would actually save you the most money on those items based on an analysis of 65 million purchases by the shopping app Ibotta. Since its inception in 2012, Ibotta has provided cash-back rewards to shoppers that purchase select products at major retail outlets and grocery stores. As of November 2017, Ibotta expects to hit the $250 million mark in customer cash-back rewards.
Because of their extensive database of purchase information, Ibotta is able to assess the days of the week when, on average, certain products are at their lowest and highest prices. For example, that Thursday quinoa purchase will tend to cost you 15% more if you buy on Monday instead – and, for goodness' sake, don't buy your avocados on Sunday or you're likely to pay 25% more.
How does Ibotta get this information? It comes from you and your fellow consumers, as you redeem your purchases by showing receipts as proof of purchase – thus confirming the price and the day of purchase.
Ibotta has been growing in popularity due to its purchase offers, wide acceptance, and relative ease of use. Currently 274 stores are supported by Ibotta, including many major retailers and grocery chains across the US. You may also link store loyalty cards from any one of Ibotta's preferred partners to increase your benefits.
Once you have downloaded the Ibotta app and registered, simply log in to find offers on various products. Some are retailer specific, while others may apply to any retailer on the Ibotta list that carries a particular product.
The offers section will show pictures of products, with the amount of cash-back rewards you can earn listed under each product. Tap on the "Earn $" bar to see the various tasks associated with each product and the amount of rebate associated with each task. Tasks are relatively simple – anything from participating in a quick survey to watching a short video to commenting on the product. You can complete as many of the tasks as you want on that particular product and accumulate the accompanying cash-back rewards.
When you complete a task or tasks on an item, that item is added to your Ibotta checklist. Rewards are earned when you purchase the item at one of the Ibotta-supported stores. To redeem the rewards, simply provide Ibotta with the proof of purchase by selecting the store under the "Redeem" tab. The instructions will appear to show you how to submit a photo of your receipt and scan the product's bar code.
Ibotta will then verify the purchase and store the rewards in your Ibotta account. Once your rewards reach the $20 threshold, Ibotta will deposit your rewards money into your PayPal or Venmo account.
Ibotta may also be used with mobile in-app purchases from apps like Hotels.com, Booking.com, iTunes, Groupon, and even eBay.
You may find Ibotta to be a win-win situation. Ibotta gets good information on prices and optimum times to buy, and you get significant cash-back rewards for performing simple tasks and shopping at supported retailers. You may even save enough to splurge periodically – like buying your avocados on a Sunday.
If you want more credit, check out MoneyTips' list of credit card offers.