So I finally decided to write my Ibotta review.
I talk about Ibotta a lot on this site.
I used to clip coupons for maybe a month before I gave up. It took too much time and the hassle of remembering to bring coupons to the store just wasn’t worth it to me.
Don’t get me wrong, some people really love couponing and find value in it. But coupon clipping isn’t for me.
That’s when I discovered Ibotta and it changed the way I do my grocery shopping.
What is Ibotta? A Quick Overview
If I had to give a one sentence explanation of what Ibotta is here’s what I would say:
Ibotta is a free app that gives you cash back on in-store (and online) purchases on certain items.
It took me too long to realize that Ibotta stands for “I bought a”…🤦♂️
Ibotta works at a bunch of different stores. Pretty much any regional grocery store is on it! Whenever I browse for stores, I don’t even recognize most of the store names. Ibotta also works for non-grocery stores too like Best Buy and some online stores like Amazon.
Here’s a quick list of some (not even close to all) stores that Ibotta supports:
- Home Depot
- Best Buy
- Whole Foods
Ibotta is like couponing without the hassle.
But even if you’re an avid couponer, don’t write off Ibotta right away. You can actually combine the savings from your coupons WITH the cash-back from Ibotta for even more savings!
Here’s a quick summary of how Ibotta works:
- Download the Ibotta app for free ( 👈 use that link for an extra $10 when you sign up!)
- Open the app and browse for offers (rebates) that you would use
- Add the offer to your redemption list (for easy access later)
- Go shopping at your favorite grocery store and keep your receipt
- Upload your receipt
- Get paid
- Redeem your cash via PayPal or Venmo once you earn $20 in cash back
It’s really simple and steps 2, 3, and 4 can actually be done in any order. That is, you can go grocery shopping and afterward hang out on the couch and see if any of the items you bought qualify for a rebate.
The Ibotta app is super easy to use. And unlike many other money-saving apps, Ibotta is well-designed and functional.
How does Ibotta work? My step-by-step process
Now that you know what Ibotta is and kind of how it works, I’ll show you the step-by-step process I use to save money with Ibotta.
The easiest way to understand the next steps is to download the app and follow along!
1. First, I create my meal plan and grocery list
Creating a meal plan is one of the best ways to save money on groceries. I normally go grocery shopping on Sundays, so I make our meal plan for the week Sunday morning and create a large grocery list of stuff I need to buy.
I do this without looking at Ibotta or looking for coupons. This way I’m not tempted to buy things just because there’s a rebate for the item in Ibotta!
2. Then I browse Ibotta for rebates
Once I have my grocery list, I normally sit on the couch and watch an episode of whatever I’m currently watching.
While watching, I browse through Ibotta looking for rebates on items on my grocery list.
You can search for an item by name or browse by store.
Once I find an item that I plan on buying, I add it to my Ibotta list. You do this by clicking the big red plus button next to the rebate.
Sometimes the app will make you watch a 15-30 second ad or do a quick quiz to unlock the rebate. I normally just pay attention to my show when that happens.
This whole process takes me around 5 minutes. Sometimes I “pretend” to take longer so I can watch more of my show.😉
3. Next, I do my grocery shopping
I take my list in and get all the stuff as fast as possible. I pride myself (not sure if I should haha) on knowing where pretty much everything is in my local Dierbergs.
While in the grocery store, I don’t even open Ibotta. I just do what I normally would do.
4. Then, I redeem my rebates
Once I’m back home I unpack my groceries. Some people like to redeem their rebates right away.
I don’t (normally I’m in a rush to get dinner on the table by then).
Since the receipts are good for a few days before Ibotta doesn’t take them anymore I like to put my receipts on the coffee table. Then, whenever I sit down to relax, read a book, watch a show, I take a minute or two and redeem them first.
Redeeming is easy, you just choose the offers that are on the receipt you’re about to upload. Next, you scan the product’s barcode with the app. Then take a quick pic of the receipt with the built-in camera on your phone. And viola! Done!
Don’t worry the Ibotta app walks you through each step thoroughly. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to take multiple pics of a super-long receipt. It’s amazing how well they can mash those pics together.
5. Finally, I get paid
Once I redeem my rebates, it takes 48 hours for the cash to hit my account. Basically free money!
When I hit $20 in Ibotta, you can cash it out via PayPal or Venmo. I still don’t have a Venmo, so I always choose PayPal.
Is Ibotta Legit? How does it make money?
Yup, don’t worry, Ibotta is as legit as it comes.
In fact, Ibotta has raised $85 million dollars in funding! A scammy company or company with no real value doesn’t raise that much money…
But you’re probably wondering:
How does Ibotta make money if they’re giving us rebates for shopping?
Ibotta works on an affiliate marketing model. Which basically means that companies and retailers pay Ibotta to promote their products.
Then, Ibotta pays us a part of their commission. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.
Is Ibotta safe to use?
This is another common question that people ask. The answer is yes, Ibotta is completely safe to use.
The company that owns Ibotta is actually Denver’s largest consumer technology company! They spend lots of resources to make sure that your private information is safe.
I’ve linked a bunch of loyalty cards to Ibotta and I’ve never had any issues.
My Ibotta Review: the Pros and Cons
Now that we have all the facts out of the way, here’s my subjective Ibotta review:
What I love about Ibotta
- It’s a free app that saves you money! Everyone who uses Ibotta wins – the retailers, the consumers (that’s you), and the company itself. Everyone gets a slice of the pie.
- While there are a lot of brand name items on Ibotta, they also have a few “any brand” promotions. For example, right now you can get 25 cents cash on ANY brand of milk. Everyone buys milk, so it’s easy money.
- The money back on alcohol is high! You can save up to few dollars on a fifth of liquor or a six-pack of certain beers. In fact, I recently had to buy 12 bottles of champagne for a wedding shower. Ibotta had a $2.00 back rebate on a certain brand of Champagne. You better believe that I saved $24 on my champagne!
- Ibotta uses dollar amounts instead of points. Most money-saving or money-earning sites and apps use points. And it’s always hard to tell exactly how much they’re worth in the moment. Ibotta uses dollar amounts, so there’s no room for deception.
- Ibotta likes to hold challenges pretty often that can net you extra cash fast. For example, right now they’re hosting a “Make it Mobile” challenge where you get a bonus $5.00 if you purchase something online via your phone at specific retailers. It’s perfect if you’re planning on ordering something online anyway.
- If you’re ever confused or not sure if the product you want to buy qualifies for an offer, there’s a barcode scanner in the app that lets you scan products in the store. It’ll tell you if it qualifies for the offer. This way you KNOW if you’ll get the reward before purchasing the product.
- You can combine Ibotta deals with physical coupons and store sales!
What I dislike about Ibotta
- When I first started using Ibotta. I would buy things JUST because there was an offer for cash back on the app. This led to wasted money and food. Now I don’t even look at Ibotta until AFTER I do my grocery shopping.
- Your receipts are only valid for a few days after the purchase date. I sometimes get lazy with my redemption which means I can no longer redeem offers on the expired receipt 😔 The easiest way around this is to upload your receipt as soon as you get home.
Overall, I highly recommend Ibotta to anyone who is looking to save more money or to cut down on their grocery bill.
Is Ibotta worth it?
Again, Ibotta is perfect for those of you who are looking to save more money in your daily life.
Ibotta is a great alternative to clipping coupons if you’re like me and hate how long it takes to find the right coupons.
For one grocery trip, I spend about 5-6 minutes on Ibotta and save anywhere between $1.50 to $10.00!
Ibotta is well worth the effort.
Even if you already clip coupons, Ibotta can help you save even more!
You can stack Ibotta with physical coupons! Which means double the savings.
How much have you made with Ibotta? Any secrets or hacks you’d like to share? I would love to hear from you in the comments below!