What would you do with an extra $3,500? That’s how much money I’ve made since I started using Ibotta to earn cash back on my grocery purchases.
I’ve been a member since May 2014 and have learned that maximizing cash back requires a strategy. Let me explain…
Ibotta Review: Earn the Most Cash Back on Groceries
Some people are missing out on cash back by not planning. They shop for groceries and then open up Ibotta after they’ve returned home to see if there are offers that match the purchases they just made.
If this is your Ibotta strategy, you may only redeem one offer a week and have 25 cents to show for it.
I’m writing this post to share my method to earn the most cash back with Ibotta. Follow these steps and you can easily make an extra $250 to $500 a year. Let’s get started!
(If you’re just here for a referral code, click here to jump ahead.)
Table of Contents
- Make a grocery list
- Open the Ibotta app and search for offers
- Check for bonus opportunities
- Go back to your grocery list and note Ibotta items
- Go to Fetch Rewards and look for matching offers
- Use Ibotta’s barcode scanner at the store
- Don’t forget your receipt
- Withdraw cash when you reach $20
- Refer your family and friends
- Use Ibotta for more than just groceries
1. Make a Grocery List
My weekly grocery shopping starts with making a list. I’m not big on coupons (you can use them in addition to Ibotta), but I do check my supermarket’s app for the weekly circular.
I write down the items I need before I check Ibotta so that I don’t add things to my list just because there’s a rebate or coupon.
However, I remain flexible with my shopping list. For example, if almond milk is on my shopping list but Ibotta has an offer for oat milk, I’ll buy the oat milk if it’s a better deal.
2. Open the Ibotta App and Search for Offers
Next, go to Ibotta and select your grocery store from the home screen. Find your store under “Recommended retailers” or scroll down a bit further to the category list and click on “Grocery.” That will take you to a list of in-store and online retailers, including options for grocery pickup and delivery.
Once you select a participating store, you’ll see a long list of cash back offers. Start with these categories if you’re in a hurry:
- New Offers
- For You
- What’s Hot
- Best Value
- Buy It Again
- Any Item
When you find an offer that you like, click on the plus sign to add it to your account. Sometimes Ibotta will require you to complete a task like watching a short video or answering a poll question. Ibotta offers are updated on a daily basis, so check back frequently and click “New Offers” for the latest.
All of the offers that you add to your account will be saved under “Your List” to keep track of them.
3. Check for Bonus Opportunities
Once I identify the Ibotta items I want to buy, I check for bonus opportunities. Find these by clicking on the “Bonuses” tab along the bottom of the app. There are typically several ways to boost your earnings.
Here are some examples of bonus offers that I’ve completed:
- $2 for redeeming 5 offers
- $3 for redeeming 7 offers
- $5 for redeeming 10 offers
4. Go Back to Your Grocery List and Note Ibotta Items
After I’ve added Ibotta offers to my account and checked for bonus opportunities, I go back to my original grocery list and simply mark “Ibotta” next to items that qualify for rebates.
The purpose of this step is to stay organized so that you don’t forget to buy items that are eligible for cash back.
5. Go to Fetch Rewards and Look for Matching Offers
My final step before heading to the store is to check another grocery rebate app called Fetch Rewards. It usually has several dozen “Special Offers” that may overlap with Ibotta rebates.
Fetch Rewards doesn’t make you unlock offers or scan any barcodes — just upload your receipt to earn rewards.
I’ve had Fetch Rewards since January 2018 and have already earned more than $1,000 in Amazon gift cards. Like Ibotta, the app typically has a sign-up bonus. Get the details here.
Since these apps owned by separate companies, you can upload the same grocery receipt to both of them!
To learn the pros and cons, read my comparison of Fetch Rewards vs. Ibotta here.
6. Use Ibotta’s Barcode Scanner at the Store
Once you get to the grocery store and start adding items from Ibotta to your cart, open up the app and use the barcode scanner to make sure that they qualify.
If you pick up the wrong size or quantity, you won’t get the cash back. Don’t get burned!
7. Don’t Forget Your Receipt
When the cashier asks if you want a receipt, always say yes! After you get home and unpack your groceries, immediately upload your receipt to Ibotta before you forget about it. You may also have to scan some barcodes.
Earnings are typically added to your account within a couple of hours, but it could take up to 24 hours. From my experience, earnings are usually deposited quickly.
Depending on where you shop for groceries, you may be able to link your loyalty card instead of uploading a receipt. When I tested out this feature with Publix, I found that it missed some of the Ibotta offers that I qualified for. That’s why I prefer to upload receipts manually instead of linking loyalty cards.
8. Withdraw Cash When You Reach $20
Ibotta gives users multiple gift card redemption options after they reach $20, but I always take the cash.
I have my earnings transferred to a PayPal account so that I can quickly move it to a high-interest savings account where my money can earn interest.
I should mention that you can now link a bank account with Ibotta to receive your cash back, but I don’t do that. They don’t need my bank information, and PayPal works just fine. Venmo is no longer an option.
9. Refer Your Family and Friends
New Ibotta users can earn $5 when they upload their first receipt. Previously, the welcome bonus was up to $20.
When you invite family and friends with your referral code, Ibotta will typically reward you with a few bucks.
10. Use Ibotta for More Than Just Groceries
Most of the $3,500 that I’ve earned with Ibotta has come from grocery purchases, but the app has expanded over the years to include cash back offers from other retailers.
From the home screen of the app, you’ll find “Online Shopping” offers from 250+ retailers. Many of these deals will provide cash back if you start your shopping with the Ibotta app. It works the same way as Rakuten (formerly Ebates) and TopCashback. The cash back from Ibotta’s mobile offers can take longer to process.
Meanwhile, Ibotta has launched a Chrome browser extension for when you’re shopping from a computer. It offers cash back at hundreds of retailers, plus exclusive offers for grocery pickup and delivery.
Finally, there’s a discounted gift cards feature that used to be called Pay with Ibotta. Once you link a payment method with Ibotta, earn cash back instantly at select retailers just by paying through the app.
Before you take advantage of this feature, make sure that Ibotta’s cash back percentage is higher than what you’d get with a rewards credit card.
Ibotta and Fetch Rewards Referral Codes
Ibotta and Fetch Rewards have helped me earn cash back on my grocery purchases for years now. According to an Ibotta commercial that I saw recently, the average user earns $150 cash back in a year. By shopping with the strategy I’ve outlined and using my other tips to save money on groceries, you can do even better! Here’s how to get started:
- Use my referral link to sign up (no code needed)
- Download the Ibotta app and redeem an offer
- Collect your welcome bonus
- Use my referral link to sign up
- Enter referral code MICHAEL
- Collect your 2,000 bonus points with the first receipt scan
Want to save even more on groceries? I like to pair Ibotta and Fetch Rewards with rewards credit cards to lower my grocery bill. The top card awards up to 6% back at U.S. supermarkets. Learn more about my strategy here!