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How to Make Money While Spending It

How to make money while spending it. That sounds odd, doesn’t it? It sounds like something my mom would say after a trip to the mall – “I saved $200 today!” My response is usually “how much did you spend to save $200??” This concept of making money while you spend it is not going to get you rich but if you’re already planning to make a purchase you might as well see if you can save some money while doing it, right?

The World of Ebates

Enter Ebates. It’s a third party site (and app) that allows you to earn cash back on purchases – in other words, make money while spending it. For example, Amazon makes a deal with Ebates to offer 10% cash back if customers apply an Ebates promo code to their Amazon purchase. Amazon gets more business since people are getting cash back, Ebates makes money from Amazon by sending more people their way, and you get to earn cash back. It’s a win-win-win situation!

make money while spending on ebates

Cash Back Offers

Right now there’s a lot of post-holiday double cash back offers. If you’re going to use your Christmas money to buy some new workout clothes or that gadget you’ve been eyeing, why not check Ebates to see if there’s a cash back offer for that store? For example, I won a gift card to Athleta this past summer but waited to buy anything until after I had my daughter in November so it would help motivate me to get back in shape.

Before I made my purchase I checked Ebates. They had a 6% cash back offer so I applied their promo code. This obviously didn’t make me rich but it basically covered the tax I would have paid. To make saving money even more fun, Ebates shows you any coupon codes or deals stores are currently offering so you don’t even have to Google them or go through the store’s website – an even easier way to make money while spending! You also get $10 just for setting up an account and you can earn $100 for every 3 people you refer.

make money while spendingAvoid Shipping Costs

Another way to make money while spending is to avoid shipping costs by routing your online purchases to the store. For example, my sister got her husband “Settlers of Catan” for Christmas, but instead of buying it at the store she went through Ebates, got the cash back option, and opted to pick up the game at the store to avoid shipping costs.

There are many stores on Ebates that you probably frequent like Target, Macys, Walmart, and more. If one store is doing a double cash back option, you could save more in the long run by making a purchase from a specific store if multiple stores have the product you’re looking for. For example, if Target and Kohls both carry the Kitchen Aid mixer you want but Target is offering 5% cash back and Kohls is only offering 3% you can go through Target to get the mixer.

Watch Out for “Up to” Promises

As a warning, there are a few drawbacks. For some stores like Amazon, you’ll see “up to” 10% because this offer is only for certain categories, not all items on Amazon. Also, you also can’t use a credit card that offers cash back options since it’s like double dipping. This means you can’t use your Chase Freedom card to get 5% cash back and then get another 5% cash back at Target through Ebates. Do one or the other but you can’t do both.

Always Check for a Promo Code

Some would call me cheap, others would call me frugal, but one of the many ways I save money is by never making a purchase online until I’ve Googled a promo code – it’s one of the simplest ways to make money while spending. Instead of Googling a promo code now I just check Ebates before making a purchase. Similar to credit cards that offer cash back, I don’t advocate spending money JUST for the cash back bonus. Think of these opportunities as a nice perk, not a money-maker. For example, if you are planning to purchase a flight for spring break or do some house renovations this year then check Ebates first to see if you can earn some cash back on a purchase you’re already planning to make!

Do you currently make money while spending it?


AUTHOR Derek Sall

Derek has a Bachelor's degree in Finance and a Master's in Business. As a finance manager in the corporate world, he regularly identified and solved problems at the C-suite level. Today, Derek isn't interested in helping big companies. Instead, he's helping individuals win financially--one email, one article, one person at a time.


  1. Great post. I really love ebates and have “earned” nearly $2,000 in cash back using them over the years. Highly recommended!

    Thanks for your post.


  2. I started reading that and thought of all the times I “saved” money while spending it, but then I asked myself “Did I really need it?” No!! but why not, it only cost me $1 or $2….if I added up all those $1 or $2 I would have a few, but then I wouldn’t have had as much fun getting those items I pulled off soooo cheap!! lol!! I know this sounds a little strange, but I “give back” at garage sale time, clean up my clutter and maybe some of those deals I got too, and make a couple hundred dollars, probably for the next round of deals. Sorry for my tangent…. I wanted to add, I do see a big difference now in how much we get back by using a 2% back card instead of the 1% that we were using. We use credit for about everything, no balances of course, that would be losing money, but use a 2% card and well…..nice little return on all those purchases!!!

    • Thanks for the comment, Janice. Like we both said- using cash back opportunities are great as long as you aren’t spending just to get that cash back.

  3. Great tips! I love using ebates, promos and cashback rewards CCs for as much as possible!

    • I like them too as long as it doesn’t take extra work. I was told about Swagbucks and tried it out but I had to do so much to just earn a few bucks!

  4. I have use ebates with a reward credit card without a problem, you most certainly can “double dip”.

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