This Woman’s Made $230 With Ibotta. And the App Just Got Way Easier to Use
“It kept us from living on Ramen.”
That’s according to Colleen Rice, The Penny Hoarder’s email marketing specialist.
She’s also a huge fan of Ibotta, an app that gives you cash back on purchases from your favorite stores.
Rice has been using Ibotta since 2013, and has earned $233.72 back so far.
“We were so broke when we first moved to Florida,” she says. “It’s really helped me a lot.”
Although she’s made it through that tough time, she still uses the app religiously. She loves that she’s earning money on something she’d otherwise be doing (spending money).
And the app isn’t just for groceries, though she loves deal-stacking at Publix and Target.
Rice also uses Ibotta to earn cash back at places like Jo-Ann Fabrics (when she went through a jewelry-making phase) and Hotels.com, where she earned about $45 back.
“If you can make anything a challenge, I like that,” she says. “Plus it’s more portable than coupons, and it introduces me to brands I’d otherwise not try.”
Take paper towels, for example. Before Ibotta, she only bought Viva, but if there’s a $5 rebate on a pack of Bounty… why not?
And when we told her Ibotta released a big update on May 24, she was over-the-moon stoked.
That’s because The Penny Hoarder got a sneak peek and let Rice in on a secret: The new version of the app is awesome.
Ibotta Review: 3 Key Improvements to the New App
Don’t get me wrong: I enjoyed using the old Ibotta app — mostly because I could earn money back. In fact, the average user earns $30/month, according to the company.
But due to the number of available rebates, the design was a bit cluttered.
Then, you have to individually scan the items’ barcodes, and then your receipt to get your cash back.
It really wasn’t that difficult, just extra minutes — the ones that feel so valuable when you’re racing through the aisles or putting your groceries away.
Here are the major changes we’re stoked to see.
1. It Takes Half the Time to Earn Rebates
Ibotta has implemented new receipt-capture technology, which processes receipts in real time for many retailers.
Plus, it automatically finds the rebates you’ve unlocked and selected in your receipt. If it misses any, you can also go in and select the rebates, then scan the barcodes.
This was one change my editor excitedly reported back to me. “It was much easier somehow,” he said. “It finds rebates you mark in the app in your receipt automatically. Pretty cool.”
2. You Can Save Your Favorite Stores, and Recommendations are More Relevant
Ibotta’s old app had “featured stores” in its app, but they weren’t necessarily where I shopped.
Now, Ibotta will pick up my common habits and shopping venues and bring me the most relevant featured content so I can save even more. It also arranges the most relevant rebates for me.
Plus, I can add store favorites. When I do that, I see my favorites and the rebates right on the app’s home screen and don’t have to go scrolling.
3. The Navigation Bar is More Organized and Intuitive
Before, I had to tap to see the navigation bar, which wasn’t very well organized (that’s just my Type A personality).
But now there’s a sleek navigation bar at the bottom of the window. There, I find these options: “Featured,” “Find Rebates,” “Redeem,” “My Rebates” and “Account.” It’s easy to find, and I don’t even need to explain what each means.
Ibotta has also upgraded the search functionality in the app to make it faster and easier to find the offers I’m looking for.
Don’t Forget: Ibotta is for More Than Just Groceries
It’s easy to associate Ibotta with groceries because that’s how the app came about. But it’s constantly adding more partners, including non-grocery retailers.
Here are a few of the more unexpected retailers that offer cash back when I wrote this article:
- Groupon: You can earn between 2% and 10% back on Groupon purchases, a platform that’s already helping you save (like on pizza). You’ll max out at $30 back on any one order, but that’s not bad!Here’s an example: Right now, with Groupon I can get 47% off two beer flights and two souvenir pint glasses at a local brewery, totalling $19. With Ibotta, I can earn 3% cash back on that total, as well.
- Hotels: If you’re traveling soon and booking a hotel, you can earn some big bucks back; hotels aren’t always (or ever?) cheap. With HotelTonight, you can get 3% cash back and 4% cash back at Hotels.com.
- Sam’s Club memberships: Signing up for a new Sam’s Club membership card? You could get $10 back through Ibotta.
- All the alcohol: Ibotta has a ton of offers for beer, wine and liquor from restaurants, grocery stores and gas stations. This ranges from $5 back on a case of Bud Light to $2 back on a bottle of Seagram’s gin. There are even food and drink combinations you can receive cash back on from your favorite restaurants and bars.
- Pharmaceutical needs: Need makeup? Vitamins? Hair products? Flea medicine for Fido? Scroll through Ibotta’s “Pharmacy” options, and you’ll likely find anything you’ve ever needed.
- Jo-Ann Fabric: Jo-Ann has some specific cash-back offers through Ibotta, such as $1 back on certain brands of yarn, but it also offers 10% cash back on any in-store purchase. Pair that with the store’s awesome coupons, and you’re rolling in the savings!
- Hallmark: This is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of during the holidays. If you spend $10 at Hallmark, you’ll get a $5 rebate.
There are plenty more non-grocery deals, but this gives you an idea.
Also, there’s a special right now for 25 cents back on anything with the “Any Item” rebate. So why not?
If you’re interested in checking out the new version of Ibotta, go ahead and download it. Once you claim your first rebate, those fine folks will drop $10 into your account.
Sponsorship Disclosure: A huge thanks to Ibotta for working with us to bring you this content. It’s rare that we have the opportunity to share something so awesome and get paid for it!
Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s a little too excited for the new release of Ibotta.