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  • Post last modified:January 13, 2021
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Are Cash Back Apps Worth It?

At the start of 2020 I decided to start a spreadsheet to track my progress with each of the receipt based apps I currently use. I wanted to see what six months of cash back apps yielded me. Was the 5-10 minutes per week I put into snapping pictures of my receipts actually worth it?

Four of the six I keep track of have been posted about already in my 12 Ways to Make Extra Money in 2020 series. The other two are coming later this year. They’ll be included in my 12 Months of Cash Back Apps post at the beginning of next year to sum up my activity from 2020.


Ibotta is the first cash back app I’ve ever used and the first cash back program I decided to review this year. I joined in 2016 and my level of commitment to snapping receipts has varied over the years. Although I’ve been more diligent this year with it, earnings have still been a bit slow personally.

Six Months of Cash Back Apps: Ibotta Screenshot

As a review, Ibotta rewards you based on your purchases of certain brands from participating retailers. If you purchase from the participating retailers regularly, your earnings will increase quickly. However, if you don’t use those brands or shop at those specific retailers, it may take longer. This has been the case for us, as we are avid Aldi shoppers, and while they are now partnered with Ibotta, we buy their brand for most items, not name brand.

For the most part over the years I’ve taken advantage of the periodic “Any Item” reward. With this reward you can get between 10 and 40 cents back on any item on a grocery receipt. They will also do “Any Item” with bananas, or bread, yogurt, even beer, vodka and dog treats. Some are available at any retailer, some at specific retailers. Offers vary from item to item.

Six Months of Cash Back with Ibotta

Six Months of Cash Back Apps: Chart showing monthly earnings using the cash back app, Ibotta.

The number on the left is my lifetime earnings, the number on the right is what I currently have in my account that I have yet to withdraw. This is what is has been earned over the last six months.

My goal is to see what I can get towards the end of the year and pull out in December to use toward some Christmas gifts perhaps.

As you can see throughout the first part of 2020, the earnings are $8.86.

June was by far the biggest earning month, with a $3.46 earning. This $3.46 consisted of the Three Bottles of Suave Body Wash for $2.19 deal. That’s just about the price of one single bottle, and this being an example of how you can combine resources to get the most back on items you already need and purchase.

Another part of June’s $3.46, was something I’m not sure many people know about: using Ibotta while shopping at JoAnn fabric. The deals vary in percentage back between 5% and 20%. If you buy a lot of craft supplies and notice something is the same price at JoAnn as it is at another retailer this comes in handy. You know you’ll get some money back from Ibotta shopping at JoAnn making the item cheaper there. For June the 5% percent in my account back was $1.86.

Get Started with Ibotta

If you are interested in using Ibotta, be sure to sign up for an account. Use our referral code: fjbktuu for any possible sign up bonuses at the time you see this post.

Six Months of Cash Back Apps: Teamwork with Ibotta

We get a little bit back from Ibotta as well as a thank you. You’ll also be a member of our team! Not sure what that means? Check out the posts below on how to make the most of Ibotta and the multiple ways you can earn.


In February I wrote about Swagbucks. I joined Swagbucks in June 2015 but didn’t learn of the ability to earn SB (Swagbucks) through receipts until late 2019. Prior to then I had just earned them through surveys, daily polls, and a plethora of other ways you can read about below.

Swagbucks Logo

As a review, Swagbucks is a website, a multitude of apps, and even a trivia game. You have the most options available to you to earn in your free time. This also makes Swagbucks one of the most time consuming programs I use, but with anything your earnings depend on the time you put in.

The above mentioned methods of earning SB were great, but moreso when I had free time. When the option of earning a few SB here and there with receipts became available, I made sure to download the app.

The Swagbucks Answer app (and others) are available for iOS and Android, more information can be found here. You earn at most 2SB per receipt and not all receipts are eligible.

Within the Answer app, you can also answer the daily poll which will give you 1 SB per day.

The usual cashout amount for SB is about 1 SB being equal to one cent. So for the purpose of this post we will stick with that. Some rewards are available for a lesser cashout value, or even more. But we are keeping things simple.

Six Months of Cash Back with Swagbucks

Six Months of Cash Back Apps: Chart showing monthly earnings using the cash back app, Swagbucks.

As you can see here, I started this year with 667 SB and ended with 1022, that’s a little less than $4.00 earned over the last six months.. During that time I did answer a few surveys in January for SB, but for the most part I claimed receipts and answered the Daily Poll.

While writing this post, I logged into my account and saw that my June 30th, lifetime SB earning was 7754 (so then beginning of year = 7399). I had previously cashed out my SB for money to my paypal account and two gift cards. This is a great way to get some free holiday decorations, or put money onto a bill if you’re a little low on funds. Like Ibotta, I’m going to keep the money in here going and see what I end up with at the end of the year, or around the holidays.

Did you know Swagbucks partners with some airlines, and hotel chains? When it is safe to travel the country and everything is opened back up, I may exchange my SB for some giftcards for our travels.

What would you do with your earnings? Let us know in the comments!

Sign Up with Swagbucks

If you are interested in checking out Swagbucks to earn a little (you get sign up bonuses and profile bonuses, they’re very giving to new members), then click here.

There is also the option of the SwagButton which will watch for deals online to earn you a percentage back of your purchases in SB! If you are interested downloading that for your computer web browser, click here!

Be sure to use the code llc156 at signup for any signup bonuses they may have going on. We get a little bit back from Swagbucks as well as a thank you.

Check out the posts below on how to make the most of Swagbucks and the multiple ways you can earn.

Checkout 51

In April, I reviewed Checkout 51. While it appears Checkout 51’s earnings are slower, the rewards for the products they partner with are greater than other apps.

Six Months of Cash Back Apps:  Imagine from Checkout 51

As a review, Checkout 51 gives cash back for very specific participating brands and it also has a cashback option for gas purchases which I don’t see with other programs/apps.

Checkout 51 is very direct with their rewards and product details. During the spring when everyone was at home just about all the time at the start of Quarantine, they were giving rebates back on essentials like bread and eggs. What a great idea. We definitely participated when purchasing those items.

Six Months of Cash Back with Checkout 51

Six Months of Cash Back Apps: Chart showing monthly earnings using the cash back app, Checkout 51.

As you can see, I’ve earned $1.76 with Checkout 51 over the last six months. That $20 will be quite welcome when the day comes.

Currently (July 2020) there is a rebate available for $2 back on Suave shampoos and conditioners, along with $1.25 back when you buy two Five Star Products. This is a great deal for back to school! Even though school may be virtual for many this year to start, notebooks will still be needed!

Checkout 51 is unique in that it has a cash back program for gas that you’ll want to check out. This is super helpful especially now with everyone heading out on their socially distant vacations!

Six Months of Cash Back Apps:  Man Getting Gas Earning with Checkout 51

Start Earning with Checkout 51

Checkout 51 is available on iOS or Android: click here to sign up today! Be sure to use the link to take advantage of any signup bonuses they may offer when using the referral link. We get a little bit back from Checkout 51 as well as a thank you.

Check out the posts below on how to make the most of Checkout 51 and the ways you can earn.

Fetch Rewards

Fetch Rewards is the app I most recently joined, but has quickly become my favorite. I wrote about it just last month in June, 2020.

You won’t need to select specific deals in order to receive rewards. Fetch Rewards also takes more types of receipts than the others, including home improvement stores!

Six Months of Cash Back Apps:  Fetch Rewards Screenshot

As a review, Fetch Rewards is super easy. Like the above mentioned programs, they partner with different companies to give rewards back, what they call Fetch Points, for the purchases you make. Unlike the other programs, you don’t have to select them beforehand, the app will figure it out for you.

I’ve already cashed out one $10 gift card for Amazon, below you will see that I’ve earned since then.

Six Months of Cash Back with Fetch Rewards

Six Months of Cash Back Apps: Chart showing monthly earnings using the cash back app, Fetch Rewards.

In terms of 1,000 Fetch Points being equal to $1.00 this shows that I went from around $6.50 to $14.82. This is an earnings of around $8.30 for the last six months.

The biggest jumps in points I had were in January and June. These were due to some health and beauty purchases we made in January while we were on a trip and needed some essentials we forgot, and in June from the Suave Body Wash post mentioned above.

I feel like with Fetch allowing a connection to e receipts that I earn way quicker. We only grocery shop once a week, maybe just at one store, maybe at three; but we do shop at Amazon a lot. Well, Matt shops at Amazon a lot, so having our account connected has been beneficial. It only averages out to about 2 1/2 cents per receipt but that’s okay. I’m not doing anything extra to earn that.

Six Months of Cash Back Apps: Woman Grocery Shopping
Photo by frankie cordoba on Unsplash

Like Swagbucks, Fetch Rewards gives a plethora of options for reward cash outs. I’m excited to see where I’ll be rewards wise at the end of the year and what reward I will choose to cash in on.

Get Started with Fetch Rewards

Fetch Rewards is an app available for Android or iOS. Just search in the Google Play or Apple Store and download.

Be sure to enter in our referral code XN1RG so you get 2,000 points ($2.00) when you scan your first receipt! Also we get a little bit back from Fetch Rewards as well as a thank you. Check out last month’s post listed below on how to make the most of Fetch Rewards and the ways you can earn.

Six Months of Cash Back Apps: Summary

That’s it. The first six months of cash back apps for 2020.

All together, my 5 or so minutes a week has brought me approximately $22.47. $22.47 I got back for little to no work at all. The most time I spend is recording any rewards earned in my spreadsheet.

I’m excited to see what the rest of he year has to offer and will try to look at a few more of the partnering brands to catch some extra deals if I am in need of that item or will be soon. Don’t buy anything you don’t need. It’s slow going for the most part, but you’re not wasting money on things you don’t actually want.

12 Ways to Make Extra Money in 2020.

Coupon/Sales/Money Related Posts

Are you using any of these apps? Will you be downloading any of them after reading this post? Let us know in the comments below.

What do you think will be the featured apps or programs for the rest of this series? Check back to see if you guessed correctly!

Do you follow us on Pinterest? Here are some quick links to the pins for the above mentioned posts for your convenience!

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