What are Cashback Sites and Can They Really Save You Money?

Today, everybody is shopping online, even those people who found the process a bit dodgy when it first became possible. Now, shopping online is a way to take the drudgery out of everyday shopping so we can free up our personal time for things that are not fighting crowds, sitting in traffic, or standing in line. Shopping online is no longer iffy; it’s easy and even rewarding. There are a number of best coupon sites, sites that save money for a whole community, and cashback sites. But is joining a community and giving away what seems like it might be a lot of personal information worth it? How do the cashback sites work, and can they really save you money, or is the benefit too good to be true?

What are cashback sites?

They are a relatively new idea in online shopping, but they are based on the idea that the more people who are interested in purchasing the product, the cheaper the cost can be. Retailers want to build their customer base, and people aren’t going to shop online unless it is better overall than shopping in the stores. Online shopping means that the retailer can sell stock without having to pay to keep it on display, and they can reward the customer for shopping.

How do they work? Here is an example

Nadine hears that there might be health benefits if she drinks at least one cup of water a day from a copper water bottle. She needs more information, but she thinks it might not hurt to find out. She looks around in a few stores in the neighborhood where she lives and finds many lovely water bottles made out of plastic, glass, or stainless steel at a variety of price marks. When she asks if any are made from copper, the answer is ‘hmmm, interesting question…have you tried online?’ So, she heads home and does a quick google search for ‘copper water bottle,’ and she finds some beautiful copper vessels along with the information on copper’s health benefits that she was looking for. She finds a bottle that she wants, but before purchasing it, she makes a note on paper of what she has decided to purchase, and closes the site.

Then she goes back, logs into her cashback site, and finds a link to the store. Now she has a coupon for a discount, or for free shipping, and an idea of the percentage of cash she can expect to be credited, and she purchases the items she wants. When she gets enough money in her account, she can withdraw it. The amount will increase with the more she purchases, and it also will increase as she builds her community by referring her friends. When her network grows, she gets commission on her friends’ purchases and on her friends’ friends’ purchases.

So, this is the way it works, and it does work, but like everything, don’t be disappointed if you don’t get rich overnight. It is not likely that the promises of many of these sites are as great as they claim to be; however, as long as you are not expecting them to be your primary source of income, they shouldn’t disappoint. Discounts of 75% and double-your-money cash back will be the exception, not the norm.

Here is some advice to remember

1. If you are buying things online anyway, it doesn’t hurt to keep an account at a cashback site. Just don’t pay money to become a member and don’t be seduced by any one offering a signup bonus.

2. Don’t expect the money to start coming in tomorrow. It can take a few months before you see your first reward, and it might not be as big as you were expecting. But when it does come, take it as soon as you can. When the money is yours, withdraw it. It’s only available as long as the cashback site exists.

3. Don’t buy things just for the reward you think you might get. Cashback sites are only good for things you were going to buy anyway, even if you weren’t a member.

4. Don’t worry that the cashback site can’t promise you a specific amount of money on a specific date. It’s all variable. Worry if they make you a guarantee.