This isn’t really an alternative income source since you have to spend money to get it. If you only purchase things you would spend money on anyway though this provides a little extra money. There are two main ways that I get cash back.
The first way is through online cash back shopping portals. The ones I most commonly use include Ebates ($10 signup bonus), Big Crumbs, and My Points. There are many more out there but these are the ones I’ve used and know.
I’ve mainly used Ebates for online shopping. Their cash back is good but they only let you cash out four times a year and you have to earn a minimum of $5.01 not counting referral bonuses to cash out. This is a problem for me since don’t shop online(or offline) that much.
I’ve just started using Big Crumbs but I think it is going to be my main cash back site now. They pay on a monthly schedule. One of their big draws is that they allow you earn cash back on Ebay purchases. The other thing I most like about them is they allow you to earn money on your referral’s shopping activity. If you have a lot of referral this could be a decent amount of passive income.
MyPoints I don’t actually do any shopping through. I just get paid to read their emails and occasionally do a survey. I joined them earlier this year and it looks like I’ll make about $20 a year in gift cards from them. If I were more active I could increase that amount.
The other big way to get cash back is through the use of cash back credit cards. My personal favorite is the Chase Freedom(SM) Credit Card. I earn 3% back on my top three categories and 1% on the rest. If you wait until you have $200 cash back accumulated you will get a bonus $50 which effectively turns your cash back rate to 3.75%. I should have $200 accumulated by early next year and I’m waiting to cash out until then.
The other cash back card I use is the Discover® More(SM) Card. The trick to getting the most out of this card is to focus your purchases on their bonus 5% cash back categories. They switch these four times a year giving you a variety of categories to save money on. They currently have 5% cash back on gas which I’ve already earned my maximum amount of $20 on. I’ll now set the card aside until I can use it for the next 5% cash back promotion.
You can view some more cash back cards here.
Remember if you buy something you don’t need just to get the cash back you’re not saving any money.