Recession Mama Michele Ashamalla: I've written about cash back before -- the basic idea is that you go through one website (a portal) to shop at another website. The first site gives you a percentage of your purchases back in cash as a thank-you for using them (they are getting paid by the website where you shopped).
For instance, I just went to Mrrebates.com and saw that they were giving 30 percent back for shopping on entertainment.com. I needed a new Entertainment Book, so I clicked through the link. Their books were $10 off and free shipping. Also, additional books were $15 each. I paid $25 for my book and $15 for an additional, so $40 was what I spent at entertainment.com. Now, for spending that $40, I got credited $12 to my Mr. Rebates account, which I can request as a Paypal credit or check in the mail. So, those two books, which retail for $70, ended up costing only $28.
The major cash back sites are Ebates, Mr. Rebates, Big Crumbs, Fat Wallet, and the new, very major player, Bing. Some of the sites allow you to use coupon codes and Bing does not, but what it does is sometimes give large cash back amounts at stores that don't generally do that. Rewards as high as 20 percent or 30 percent at eBay, Target, Walmart, and Dell have been reported. Here's the thing, though. Other sites keep their cash back pretty steady, but at Bing, percentages can change hourly.
Once you sign up with a Windows Live ID, you can check their participating stores and the corresponding cash back, but sometimes searching an item can give a different, larger cash back amount. At the time of this writing, eBay was listed as 8 percent cash back, but if you searched for "Wii console," it came up on eBay with a 15 percent cash back. Click through and you'll get 15 percent back (confirmed by the banner at the top of the page) on whatever you buy, using Buy It Now and Paypal within the next 30 minutes. Buying at Target and Walmart through Bing aren't as restrictive. Search Slickdeals.net for the latest deals at Bing -- other people are cruising the 'net so you don't have to...
A former state deputy attorney general and current stay-at-home mom, Recession Mama Michele Ashamalla has three kids and ten years of experience stretching one salary to cover the necessities and more. She's all about saving money whenever you can, so you have it to spend on whatever you want!