How I made $101 in 1 week by doing practically nothing


Us Bacons are on a budget.  Most people are, I suppose, but this is a fairly new commitment for us.  We have gone through periods of extreme saving throughout the span of our marriage, but never quite had details set in stone to stick to.  It’s hard to fully follow through with something when you don’t have specific goals in mind.

So the second week of January (we were a little behind the curve on timing), we sat down and budgeted every dollar (thank you, Dave Ramsey). Our short-term goal?  Pay off debt.  Our long-term goal?  Buy a house in the next 3-5 years.

Naturally, we are looking for any and every way to save.  I saw a friend of mine post about a rebate app on Facebook, and I would have never guessed that within about 1 week I would have made $101… and not even off rebates.

To disclaim from the front end, no one is paying me to review this app or to promote it.  I just really am impressed with the concept of the app and how simple it was to make money.  Additionally, there really are no “catches” or “hidden fine print”.  If there were I would not have the nerve to post this!  I have explained below how to use the app and to make the most money off of it.  *Disclaimer over*

The app is called Ibotta.  When I first learned of the app, I was hesitant to even download it because we shop mostly Aldi (a post on how much I’ve come to adore Aldi over time coming soon…) and Aldi is not a supported store for Ibotta rebates.  However, they have nearly almost any other grocer and pharmacy you can think of.  There are many from all over the country.  Specifically in Chicagoland, they have rebates from Walmart, Mariano’s, Jewel, Meijer, CVS, Walgreens, Target, Whole Foods, the list goes on…

Although they didn’t have the store we shopped at the most, I decided to download the app anyways to check it out, since we do occasionally go to Jewel, and live about 4 blocks from a CVS pharmacy.

I was pretty amazed at the rebates I was finding.  The lowest I could find was $0.25 and the highest was $6.00  They carry rebates for tons of standard grocery items, types of alcohol (I’ve noticed those have the highest rebates), medicines, baby products, cleaning supplies, and more!  They even have rebates on Seventh Generation products and Hyland’s baby products (such as Nighttime Tiny Cough Syrup, or Tiny Cold Teething Tablets).  [[Side note- I will disclaim that I have noticed that some rebates come and go.  So while these are current rebates available, by the time you read this I have no guarantee they will still be available.  I was very sad that I only had 1 opportunity to earn $1 back from Ben & Jerry’s icecream!]]

Anyways, check out the app yourself if you’re curious to see some of the rebates they offer.  But I have included 2 screenshots so you can get a (small) sample of the vast amounts of rebates available.  I will then explain how to use/earn with the app.



How to use the app for redeeming rebates:

After downloading and signing up (WHICH… STAY TUNED TIL THE END FOR $10 FREE CODE), search any store for rebates, or search for any specific product. You can see the search bar in the pictures I posted above.

From there, click on the rebate you would like to redeem.  This (for example) will pop up.  Click “Unlock $x.xx Cash Back” (insert whatever the rebate amount is for “x”)



Occasionally they will ask you a random poll question such as (in this scenario) “When do you and your family most enjoy eating a bowl of cereal?”  Options: For breakfast, as an afternoon snack, for dessert, while watching tv.  (If you’re curious, I legitimately enjoy eating cereal in all of these scenarios.  But I choose “for breakfast” to appear to be normal…)




From here, you can see that the rebate has been unlocked.  Also note the expiration date of the rebate.  You must use it before this date (each expiration is different).



(repeated for emphasis)


**EDIT**- Ironically after being so emphatic someone informed me that they have been able to use receipts retroactively (in other words, did not unlock the deals before purchase).  But I also know two people that have tried this thus far and it has not worked.  So feel free to try it- no guarantee it will work though!


Anyways, moving on.  Next, do your shopping.  BE SURE TO SAVE YOUR RECEIPT.  I was not in the habit of this until very recently, so this takes some extra effort on my part.

When you arrive home, click the “verify purchases” option within the app.  You should be able to then select all of the rebates you have unlocked.  Sometimes will have to scan the barcode of each item, sometimes you will not.  If you do have to do this, this should take you about 2 seconds per item, because it matches the bar code very very quickly.


Your last step is to scan your receipt (which you will see an option for).  For some stores, you just scan the QR code for the receipt.  Mariano’s has a very cool option where you just link your card to the app and you don’t even have to scan the receipt since your card automatically tracks your purchases for rebates.


Now, please note that you must hit a balance of earning a minimum of $20.00 before cashing out with PayPal or Venmo.  If you prefer a gift card to a retailer, you must wait until hitting $25.  This doesn’t take very long to do, especially after first signing up.  You can choose gift cards from Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, Express, iTunes, or a few other options.


How did I earn $101 in a week?  Upon signing up through my friend’s referral and redeeming my first rebate, I received $10 free.  That’s already halfway to cashing out at $20.  If you sign up in the month of January, you can get an additional $2.  These are redeemed through the “Bonus” section of the app.  As I just mentioned, the $10 free does not come through until you redeem your first rebate within 30 days **EDIT- this rule has since changed.  The new rule is that you must redeem your first rebate within 14 days**.  So basically, you can start with $12 free once redeeming your first rebate.  That’s already 60% of your way to being able to cash out at $20.



Then, I redeemed some more rebates over the course of the past 9 days.  But the most lucrative thing that I did with this app was to SHARE IT WITH OTHERS.  Get your own referral code under the “invite friends” tab and put the link on your facebook page or text it to friends.  I can honestly say before this I had never once in my life promoted an app.  But with each referral, the person you refer gets the free $10, and you receive $5 once they redeem their first rebate.  So they get $10, you get $5.  Everyone wins!  Who doesn’t want to save on groceries?  And who doesn’t want $10 free dollars?  I have shared this app with quite a few people, so that is where I made most of my money the last 9 days.  It took VERY little effort on my part.  And you’re not inconveniencing anyone or asking them to do you favors.  You are benefiting them by giving them $10 from your referral, in addition to the hundreds of rebates they can unlock to save money on everyday items.

Here is a screen shot of some people who used my referral code and the money they got back from rebates.  As you can see, someone saved as low as $0.50 in one shopping trip, while someone else saved as high as $9.25 in one shopping trip.  Amazing!



So if you would like to try Ibotta to save on groceries and pharmacy items, use this link with my referral code for the $10 free!  Then we both can save.  If you have any questions, comment below or contact me directly.

And YES, I have successfully redeemed my $101 with no fees.  I had it sent $71 to my PayPal on Saturday (two days ago) and the money has already come through.  Today I sent an additional $31, which is still pending.

So that, my friends, is how I made $101 in 1 week.

GET THE APP HERE (includes my referral for the $10 free)

BY THE WAY, If you liked this article, please subscribe to my blog!  I will only send emails when I post a new blog post (which is 1-2x a week).  I never want to clutter people’s mailboxes with unwanted emails; just want to share my writing with those interested!  You can subscribe by either the box in the sidebar of this page or by clicking HERE.

How I made $101 in 1 week by doing practically nothing! SUPER easy way to earn cash by making the most out of an app.
Get cash back on groceries


46 thoughts on “How I made $101 in 1 week by doing practically nothing

  1. Colette says:

    I also like to save as much as the next person and I don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer but using an app that supports non organic and GMO laden products, as well as accepting advertisements from the soy industry seems counterproductive to a healthy lifestyle. Not saying I didn’t see a couple organic options, but saving a few cents while supporting an industry who effectively is to blame for countless diseases??? The soy industry? For real? I choose health over saving a few bucks at the POS!

    • Mallory Bacon says:

      Thanks for the feedback. The app in no way claims to be an app for healthy lifestyles or organic-only/GMO-free choices (although as you mentioned, they do have some options). The app is solely for rebates. But yes, if you don’t support some of the things they support, please don’t use the app.

  2. Chelsea lacey says:

    I’m just curious how often they update this app with new products? Is it typically the same products on here or do they constantly change ?

    • Mallory Bacon says:

      Hi Chelsea, they add new products pretty frequently. Each rebate runs for a while and then “expires” and disappears. Most of the items do make a comeback after a short amount of time (at least in my experience!) but their selection of products seems to be growing. I just opened up the app and there are currently 38 “new” grocery rebates (which you can see on the home page of the app). Hope this helps!

      • priya says:

        Hi , I just downloaded the ibotta app before few days and it works fine for sams club for me but i shop a lot from marianos and i followed the steps for rebate from marianos but i dont see any rebates coming in my account..whats wrong with marianos ?

  3. Peggy says:

    I have been attempting to use this rebate but with no success. O shop at Ingles and the recets will not photograph. Hopefully your tips will help. Any other suggestions?

    • Mallory says:

      I have never shopped at Ingles, but I know that not every store needs a receipt photographed, so perhaps that is your problem. If you have any specific questions about a particular rebate, try contacting Ibotta customer support at They have been helpful to me in the past.

  4. Karen Jendrzejewski says:

    I have been using this app since 2014. I leave the money in the account and if I have a emergency need I have it transferred to PayPal!! Wonderful app!!!!

  5. Christina (WNY Deals & To-Dos) says:

    I’ve been using Ibotta for awhile now and just love it!! It’s really easy to earn cash back and you can use manufacturers’ coupons in addition to pairing the offers with store sales. They have various teamwork bonuses, brand bonuses, and more. Next to Savingstar it is my favorite cash back app. 🙂

  6. kelly says:

    “Sometimes will have to scan the barcode of each item, sometimes you will not. If you do have to do this, this should take you about 2 seconds per item, because it matches the bar code very very quickly.

    Your last step is to scan your receipt (which you will see an option for). For some stores, you just scan the QR code for the receipt.”

    ???? scan the receipt with what scanner? a phone does not have a scanner that I know of.. can you just type in the upc or the code under scan bar on receipt? Can this app be used on a regular computer if you do not have an expensive iphone or tablet or other gadget? If can be used on regular computer and numbers input.. it would be nice/fair for people who REALLY can not afford expensive gadgets are the same people that need to save every penny… ironic to use it you have to have an expensive iphone or ipad or tablet with a data plan…. I can never afford one. I have a 15 dollar go phone with a ten dollar plan where I am one of several added to a family plan.. it calls and texts.. that is all. So I guess only rich people with expensive phones and data plans can use this app??

    • Mallory Bacon says:

      Yes, unfortunately you can only use this all with a smart phone, tablet, or iPod with photo capabilities. You can “scan” receipts by taking photos. Sorry it won’t work out for you. And not everyone that has a smart phone is rich!

    • Helen Hewlett says:

      I agree that not everyone who uses a smart phone is rich. I was going to cancel my account with AT&T and the customer service rep was so nice to send me a free Samsung 3. It was discontinued and it’s small but I can scan bar codes. Works fine for me. Thanks for the info about this app. Will check it out.

  7. Rhonda says:

    I’ve been using the app since May of last year & I LOVE it!! I transferred just over $200 to PayPal last month! I do find that sometimes I purchase things I wouldn’t have otherwise. Typically in those situations I’m stocking up while I can get $$ off & use coupons along with the rebate. If it’s something I’m going to have to buy anyway (toilet paper, detergent, etc) I might as well save money. I have had a couple of issues, but when I contacted customer support they have been very helpful.

  8. Jen J says:

    I love this app. I have been using it for almost 2 years. I have never unlocked anything before because I always forget. I have never had a problem unlocking items after purchase. Not sure why people would be having problems doing so after purchase.

    • Mallory says:

      I’m not sure either. I have successfully unlocked things afterwards too with no issues at this point (I have since experimented a couple of times.) I think it may be with select retailers, or perhaps people just learning how to use the app. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

  9. Sav says:

    Just ran across this, and wanted to say that I’ve been using ibotta successfully for about a year now. I’m curious what people have complained to the BBQ about! (I’ll check in a second.) I just wanted to throw in that I never, ever unlock my rebates before shopping. In fact, I will often save my receipt for 5-6 days before redeeming, because sometimes rebates will pop up that weren’t available when I shopped! (I have been known to lose receipts, miss the 7 day window, and/or not notice that something was set to expire, though, so I can’t recommend that strategy for everyone!)

    • Mallory Bacon says:

      Oh man, thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment! That’s great that you have been using it for a year with no problems! I totally appreciate you sharing your experience with not unlocking the rebates first. I, myself, have since tried it since writing the post and it worked. But I wasn’t sure if it was true for every retailer, which is why I left the disclaimer in my post. Glad to hear you have benefited so much from the app over the course of the year!

  10. Lara says:

    Ibotta seems like a great idea. So, I did some poking around. Lots of complaints on the BBB website. Not saying to not use it, but to be aware they may dispute your rebates.

    • Mallory Bacon says:

      Thanks, Lara. I appreciate you taking the time to comment. I haven’t checked out their BBB site yet. I personally have only been using it for a few weeks, but have not had any issues so far. Hopefully that remains the case!

  11. Karolyn says:

    Great post! I’m going to look into doing this as well. I’ve got a lot of freebie/reward programs that I use to save money — it really adds up! Over the last few years Dan and I have earned about $2000 is freebies and rewards. I included some information on my blog:

    Some programs have rewards that add us faster than others. When you see the results (after adding everything together) it’s incredible! We’re also pros at saving thousands of dollars on Disney vacations (while staying on Disney property), but that’s a whole separate topic.

    I’ll be keeping an eye on your blog for new ways to save. Keep up the good work!

  12. Gwen Crispin says:

    Thanks Mallory….I’m all about saving money! One question…can you use coupons at the grocery store for cents off and then get a rebate? I will often use a store coupon and then add a coupon from the newspaper on top of that. Was just wondering if they let you “double – or triple dip”.

    • Mallory Bacon says:

      That’s a great question! I personally don’t use coupons BUT I have redeemed rebates on top of sales (ex- sale was $3 off product, and I made additional $1 off on the rebate). So that makes me think that doubling up with physical coupons would also be ok! It’s definitely worth a try! You’ll have to let me know the outcome! 🙂

    • Caroline says:

      Yes you can use in store and cut out coupons along with Ibotta…. But some of the Ibotta rebates do say there is a minimum pice to pay in order to get rebate…. I’ve not had any issues with doing this. I signed up Dec 31st and have received just over $50 back in just over 5 weeks.

  13. katelyn b says:

    Love this Mallory! We are on a strict budget too and I am obsessed with this Ibotta app! We also use to track all of our spending, it is a great resource too!

  14. Tom Matuch says:

    Thanks Mallory, sounds like a plan. I’ll give it a try. Joe & Daniel will both tell you that I am pretty good at saving a buck. Question: it might be too early to tell but will you end up buying some things you might not typically buy just for the rebate or will you find yourself switching from generic brands to name brands which might cost more in the end regardless of the rebate? (At the very least, you’ve recouped the Dave Ramsey fee.) ?

    • Mallory Bacon says:

      Hi Tom! Good question. At this point, I have tried to stay disciplined and stick to my list! However occasionally we will run to jewel or CVS out of convenience for something like eggs, for example. I normally wouldn’t buy eggs from CVS, but with the $0.50 rebate I am more willing to take the convenient route of traveling a shorter distance in a pinch. Also, I have been doing some price comparisons and it appears that some things at Walmart end up being cheaper post rebate than items at Aldi. So I may need to change my shopping strategy a bit! Let me know how you like the app. Be sure to use my referral code fsdbtsu for your free $10!

  15. Kelly Skubski says:

    Thank you for sharing this information Mallory. I look forward to your ideas and tips for getting/staying on a budget.

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