Money for nothing: cashback websites

Once upon a time and long, long ago, in those heady days when I had a regular income and no children, I used to do pretty much all my Christmas shopping on one day.

I’d book a day off work and make a list of everyone I needed to get presents for. Then I’d start at one end of Kensington High Street and head down to the other, buying presents, cards and wrapping paper as I went. I didn’t allow myself to come home until I had something for everyone. By the end of the day my feet would be exhausted, my brain would be scrambled, my hands would hurt from carrying the bags, and I’d collapse into a cab to get me home. But at least it was DONE.

Nowadays I have less money, work fewer hours and rely on the internet for any shopping outside Hadleigh. Making the most of a smaller budget involves a lot more time and planning and less shopping, but if I’m going to buy anything online, it does mean I can take advantage of cashback websites.

If you haven’t come across them before, I’m talking about websites like TopCashback and Quidco.

I’m all in favour of saving money, and to me cashback websites represent money for nothing, because I get money back for buying stuff I would anyway.

Basically if you want to buy something online, go to their website first, check if the retailer is listed, and then click through from their website to the website you want, and you’ll get credited with a percentage of the money spent.

Fancy infographic on how cashback websites work, in case my version sounds like gobbledegook

I’ve earnt pretty small amounts shopping on websites like Boden, the Book People, Baker Ross, Boots, the Body Shop and even retailers that don’t begin with a ‘B’ (eg The White Company, Homebase, House of Fraser, Hotel Chocolat, Sainsbury’s and flights from Thomson).
You can also earn significantly larger amounts buying things like car insurance, household insurance and car breakdown cover.

I think you can also sometimes get cashback when buying things in an actual real life shop, by downloading an app, taking a picture of your receipt and sending it in, but my phone is so ancient it can’t cope with apps or even picture messages so no joy there.

Both websites are free to join, although you can pay something and then benefit from higher payouts. Personally I prefer to stick to the money for nothing side of things.

The cashback can take several weeks if not months to come through, but then you can choose whether to have it transferred straight to your bank account, or get paid up to 5% more if you take the money as a voucher or gift card for a specific retailer like Boots or Amazon.

But all the little amounts, the 50p here and a couple of quid there, do mount up.
I’ve been using TopCashback for about 3 years now, and have earned more than £300 in cashback – just from buying stuff I was intending to buy anyway. I still shop around, compare prices and try to buy things in sales, but once I’ve found a good deal it’s great to get an additional fillip of cashback.

One caveat: usually you can’t combine a cashback website with a voucher code from elsewhere, so do check how you can save the most. A 10% off voucher code is always going to be a better deal than earning a couple of percent via a cashback website.

And no I haven’t been sponsored to do this post, but I thought that cashback websites were worth mentioning at a time when people might be doing more shopping than normal.

However, if you sign up using either of these links, and go on to earn some cashback, they might even bung me a bit of cash at no cost to you:

TopCashback

Quidco

But if you’d rather not do it that way, you can still find the websites at www.topcashback.co.uk and www.quidco.com.


Have you ever used a cashback website? Worth the effort or too much effort?

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2 Comments

  1. 8th December 2015 / 8:19 pm

    I use both Quidco and Topcashback too. I don't have a fancy phone but I use the scanner for the receipts for the grocery deals on both sites and earn an extra £3 ish every month for things I would have bought anyway. Every week or so they give you a free grocery item which is a nice bonus. Clicksnap is on Quidco and Snap&save is on Topcashback. I'd earn a lot more if they allowed the own brand items I usually buy : )

    • 9th December 2015 / 1:08 pm

      Ooooh interesting, I do actually have a scanner. Shame that I too buy a lot of own brand items. Just had a look at my supermarket receipt from yesterday, where I bought more than 50 different things but only 6 were branded, and 3 of those were for a children's birthday party.