Cashback: save as you spend, and bank a nice bonus.
Fancy getting paid to go shopping? Welcome to the joys of cashback.
I’m a big fan of getting money back on spending I’d do anyway, so I’m keen to make the most of cashback during my October saving challenge.
Even for someone like me, who avoids buying much of anything, and always aims to spend less when I do, it’s still possible to earn a bit extra.
On Day 4 of my October savings challenge, I claimed the cashback from food shopping via the Shopitize supermarket cashback app, and discovered the joys of Shopmium and free chocolate (check out all the details here).
Then on Day 8, I finally saw an incentive that made me sign up for the cashback website Quidco.
Basically, if you want to buy something online, check the cashback websites first, see if the retailer is listed, and then click through from the cashback website to the website you want.
Buy as normal, and then – kerching – you’ll get credited with a percentage of the money spent.
Admittedly, the money doesn’t materialise immediately. Sometimes you have to wait weeks, or in the case of insurance contracts, months, before the money shows up.
Also, remember that cashback isn’t guaranteed. Sometimes your claim gets rejected, or the money just doesn’t show up. I have to remind myself that cashback is a bonus, not to be relied on until it’s actually in the bank.
However, once cashback is confirmed, you can pick and choose how to claim you money. Usually you can opt for cold, hard cash in your current account or PayPal account, or get a bit extra by opting for a giftcard or voucher for somewhere like Amazon.
I wrote about cashback websites last year, and how the small amounts here, there and everywhere do add up. You might earn the odd pound shopping for clothes or toiletries, but for the chunky payouts think bills and banks. You are more likely to earn big bucks in cashback when signing up for gas, electricity, mobile phones, landlines, broadband, pay TV and roadside assistance, or for bank stuff like current accounts, credit cards and insurance policies.
Apparently, on average members of Quidco earn £280 a year in cashback, and £325 at TopCashback.
Even someone as shopping-averse as me has still managed to rack up over £450 in cashback in my four years since joining TopCashback.
As ever, the trick is to earn some dosh from spending you’d do anyway, not get hypnotised into buying something solely for the cashback.
Grabbing £75 cashback on a £300 insurance policy sounds great – but not if you could get the same policy for £150 elsewhere.
Follow the freebie
I hadn’t signed up for Quidco before because I was hanging on for a decent freebie to entice me to sign on the dotted line.
Then on Sunday, I got a newsletter from Andy, a blogger over at Be Clever With Your Cash, which offered a £15 incentive for new people to sign up for Quidco and make a purchase that day. (Andy really knows his onions about making the most of your money and bagging bargains and deals, so do nip over and say hello)
A free £15 sounded good to me, so I duly clicked through, signed up and racked my brains for something I actually needed to buy.
I ended up buying a train ticket for a planned trip to London via thetrainline.com. But then I re-read the conditions, and was concerned I wouldn’t earn any cashback because I wasn’t a new customer at thetrainline.com
So I bought some of my contact lens fluid from Boots’ website, after a quick search to make sure I couldn’t buy it cheaper elsewhere. My £20 odd payment is due to generate an entire 66p in cashback.
I also had a go at claiming £1 cashback on a big bottle of milk, after Jo tipped me off about the offer via Quidco‘s ClickSnap, in a comment on the October savings challenge.
So by hook or by crook, I’ve accrued some cashback with Quidco, and now I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the promised £15 will actually show up.
Running total for the October Savings Challenge – Day 9
Save more: £16.15 from balance tidying and hoarding £2 coins
Spend less: £19.49 from ditching direct debits and maxing out supermarket vouchers
Earn more: £27.26 from supermarket cashback apps and today’s cashback from joining Quidco, Boots and ClickSnap.
Over to you
Anyone else keen on the cash from cashback websites? Or have you never quite got round to having a go? I’d love to hear!
Disclaimer: I do genuinely use cashback websites, and no-one has paid me to write this post. However, if you click on a link to Quidco or TopCashback, sign up and earn cashback, it may bring a small amount of money to the site, but at no cost to you.