My Experience with Ibotta

Or a better title, how long it took to get my $20 payoff!

Earnings from July 2018-December 2018

It took 10 months to reach the $20 threshold for redeeming my savings. Is it worth it? The reward took a very long time to see. Part of that reason is because I didn’t want to overspend. I was very conscious that I would only use the app on purchases I would normally make. It’s like I used a bunch of coupons, but I didn’t see any of the savings until it came in a lump sum. I liked using this app, it’s a little shopping game every time we bought something. Though I wish my actual grocery store participated in this savings! I shop at Trader Joe’s for most of my food so I feel like I’m missing out on a lot of savings because I don’t have other grocery stores available to me, like Walmart or Kroger.

What I like best is that it’s a combination of manufacturer’s coupons and “any item” coupons that Ibotta has available, from any grocery item, any bread, any cat food, any vitamins, etc. I don’t normally buy name brands to get the manufacturer’s coupon, but at least I know that I’ll get something back just for walking in the store.

Earnings December 2018-May 2019

As you can see from my below earnings history, I shopped a lot at Target! But I would also shop at convenience stores even though we all know they are way over priced (especially in NYC). My best use of the app was placing online orders through Sephora and eBags. There was a promotion during my purchase at eBags where I got 2x cash back or something like that. To make it extra savings, I’d first check on my Chrome Browser, using Honey to see if there were any promo codes I could have used with my purchase. If there was, I would add that to my purchase through Ibotta. I’d recommend browsing the website on your browser and/or desktop, adding things to your cart, saving the cart then logging in through Ibotta so that you don’t have to find everything through the app again. Not every purchase equaled savings though, I didn’t know that my Modcloth order of only sale items didn’t qualify for the Ibotta savings. It’s important to read the fine print. Another example, I recently bought conditioner at Target thinking there was part of an active coupon, but it turns out the specific conditioner didn’t fall under the manufacturer’s coupon because it was a newer label under that brand. That said, the fastest way to get to $20 redeem threshold is to get referrals. As you can see, that happened once. If I didn’t get a referral, this article would have been written much later when I reached the $20! BTW, here’s my referral code to get started: here.

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My least favorite thing about the app is that it tries to make you competitive with yourself or others on your “team.” There are usually monthly bonuses you can reach by spending a certain amount or shopping certain stores (like redeeming coupons through 15(!) different vendors in one month) to get a bonus cash back, and while if you’re looking for something specific to buy the app can be useful (see my eBags purchase), otherwise this encourages extraneous spending, which can lead to overspending. Don’t blow your budget for some minimal cash back. This app is supposed to save you money! Sometimes I’d go to Target spend $50 and come away with only $0.10 savings. The more you spend does not automatically mean that you save more. Further, seeing that my Facebook friends are saving money is not encouraging me to use the app more because it will send me useless notifications that are very annoying! (how do I turn them off?) In fact, I’d rather not know that people are using coupons at stores I can’t shop with (see aforementioned grocery conundrum).

Redeeming the money was very easy. You can get it back as a gift card (great for last minute gifting!), but I chose to get the money sent to me through Venmo. You can also choose other redemption methods that work best for you (i.e. PayPal). I was able to transfer $20 from Venmo to my bank the next day.

Ibotta works by having consumers submit pictures of their receipts. From their privacy policy, Ibotta shares your data on these receipts and other information to third parties, merchants and business partners, which is why it can offer the any item or specific cash back incentives. To be fair, many apps that you have on your phone collect and share data, so it’s not outrageous for Ibotta to do so. It’s like filling out surveys for money. Industries want to know how you shop and they will give you some incentives ($) for telling them about your shopping habits. Also, Ibotta has affiliate programs with retailers so they also earn money for purchases. Worth mentioning that if you don’t use your account for 180 days you may be subject to “maintenance fees on a monthly basis, the lesser of (i) $3.99 USD, or (ii) the amount then reflected in your Ibotta account.” As long as you are redeeming coupons you won’t be charged a fee.

Next time you need to make an online order, check with Ibotta to see if your purchase qualifies for cash back. Or if you’re going to be shopping at a major retailer, it’s worth seeing if there’s anything you’re already shopping for that has a coupon. I like knowing that I’m saving with purchases I’d already be making. The app is easy to use and I would recommend it to others.

My Referral Link:

My Referral Code: fckdvef

I’d love to hear from others about their experiences. Is the app worth it to you? ♥

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