As a consumer advocate, I don’t review or link to anything I don’t benefit from myself. I’m sharing how I save money with Rakuten. If you never used Rakuten, you can get started with $10 cash back.
How much can you save with Rakuten?
One of the best ways I save money when shopping online is by using Rakuten ($10 back on your first order). You may remember Ebates? Rakuten acquired that company back in 2014 and gradually renamed the online shopping savings service. I saved over $650 between April 2017 and November 2019.
Save money in stores and online
Rakuten also works to get cashback on purchases in some brick and mortar stores. For example, if I buy cat food in a PetSmart store I get cash back. This feature requires linking the credit card you use to make an in-store purchase to the Rakuten mobile app. Credit card data is safely stored in a secure, PCI-complaint encrypted environment.
If you allow notifications on your phone from the app, you’ll know what the store you’re shopping in offers for deals and the cashback rate.
How to use Rakuten online
You can either shop online at Rakuten.com to see deals, or use the Rakuten Cash Back Button browser plugin (Chrome / Firefox), or the mobile app to shop on your phone. All methods show you the percentage of your purchase you would receive as cash back as well as any sales and promo codes. Accumulate cash back and each quarter your rewards cash gets deposited into your PayPal account or you’ll get a check in the mail.
As long as you earn over $5 in the three-month period, you get paid. If you earn under $5 (practically impossible if you shop online much) the amount rolls over to the next payment cycle so you can build on it. You never lose your cash rewards. Don’t have a Rakuten account? Here’s $10 to ensure you get cash back the first quarter you make a purchase.
Rakuten finds sales for you
On top of getting cash back, Rakuten lets you know when there are sales when you use the browser plugin. Navigate to your favorite online store that participates with Rakuten and if there are any sales, the purple “R” on the plugin flashes red. Click on the “R” to see available deals and the cashback amount. When you go to check out, Rakuten will automatically apply the best promo codes to save you money on the spot.
You can also sign up for the Deal of the Day email or get notifications from the mobile app. Daily deals I like to use are for double cash back, 20% off promotions and others at my favorite online shopping stores. Well, except for Amazon, which doesn’t participate in Rakuten’s program. Ebay does, as well as Walmart.com and tons of other common online shopping spots.
How to save even more with Rakuten
- Rakuten currently works with over 2,500 stores. Set up Favorites in Rakuten to see deals from the online shopping sites you prefer at the top of the deals list.
- Every day at least one store offers double cashback. If the retailer usually offers 4% cashback, you get 8% back if you place an order that day.
- Rakuten special events offer some amazing cashback percentage deals! I earned over $50 back during a 20% cash back event that included some amazing sales. I spent quite a bit to get that kind of rebate but I bought items I needed or had been planning to buy when on sale.
You won’t really be saving money if you allow Rakuten to convince you to buy things you don’t need just because of the rebate/sale combo. Make responsible buying decisions and use Rakuten wisely and it can be a great addition to your budgeting strategy.
Keep a gift list or your personal wish list and use Rakuten when one of your favorite online shopping sites is having a blow out sale. You will save significant amounts of money.