Did you know there's free money out there you could be earning, both online and in stores? Just a little extra effort can save you money. Here's how.
Earn Rewards By Logging In
You've probably heard of UPromise, the rewards-for-shopping program that can help earn savings for college. It's really great, but if you don't have an education to fund, consider:
Related: How to Get Things for Free
Sign up with your e-mail address or sign in through your Facebook account to start earning cash back (yes, cash!) whenever you shop in its "online mall" of 1,000-plus e-tailers (such as Walmart.com, Target.com, and BarnesandNoble.com). Even better: If you get a friend to join and she makes a purchase, you earn rewards because she shopped through the site. (Don't worry, she's not sharing her bonus - the company just takes a smaller cut of the commission it earns from the retailer for referring shoppers.) A product search lets you check to see if what you want to buy is available at one of its stores. Once you've racked up enough credit, Loyalese pays you through Paypal or Mastercard prepaid cards.
Your Own Credit/Debit Card Rewards Program
If you have a points-earning card, you can often earn more points by logging into its rewards site and clicking through to retailers. (Some programs only require you to register your card for the bonus program, no extra log-in required - check the card's website.)
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Earn Points For Running Errands
New on the scene, a couple of free smartphone apps (for iPhone and Android) let you rack up credit toward gift certificates and other rewards when you're out shopping. We like:
By using your phone's GPS, this app gives you points for simply walking into participating stores (Best Buy, Macy's, Target, and many Simon Malls included). You can get more by using the phone's camera to scan barcodes of products sold inside. Once you've earned enough, redeem them for gift cards and merchandise. Bonus: The app also works as a sort of mobile circular, alerting you to discounts, deals, and other in-store promotions.
This app works similarly, but is more product-driven - you earn credit for barcode-scanning participating products (including Tyson chicken, Seventh Generation household products, and Energizer batteries). Once you've "checked in" at the grocery store, drugstore, or mall, the app directs you to find products in its database.
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While there's no harm in signing up for multiple programs, you'll see the most benefit if you pick just one and stick to it. Also to be aware: You are giving up some of your privacy by sharing your shopping habits, so weigh carefully if you're OK with marketers having this info before you begin.
- By Amy Roberts
What rewards programs do you use that really pay off?
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