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You ever have one of those moments when life just gets to be too much and you just feel completely overwhelmed. That was me and my fiancee. We decided that we needs a break from it all. We need to just get out of town for a few days and just relax, see some sights, just do something different. Problem was we don’t have throw away money – what those in the finance game call disposable income. I mean we do OK, but not let’s just jump up and go to Tahiti money. (I’m sure a lot of you can relate.) We decided to go to Chicago. You see I’ve never been there, which is really silly when you think about because I literally live 3 hours away. We hopped on the computer on Thursday and we’re on the train on Friday Morning at 6 AM.
This trip was a trip of firsts. I have never been to Chicago, I have never been on a train, I have never been on a river cruise… I have never done a lot of things. Needless to say I was SUPER FREAKIN’ EXCITED!!! Now in all my excitement I wanted to be practical on how we spent our money on this trip. In an attempt at being a little budget savvy I hit all the deal sites. Looking for savings… because why pay full price…. and something magical happened. Something that used to annoy me more often than not. I looked at the upper right of screen and the Ebates toolbar was giving me cash back on the already great deals I found.
If You’ve never heard of Ebates it is a website/app/toolbar that lets you get cash back on your everyday online purchases, and select in store purchases when you link your credit/debit card to your ebates account and activate certain offers. It’s like magic. Shop and get a little money back. Are you going to get rich? Of course not. Is going to pay your bills? Nope. I look at it like this, if you were going to buy that sweater anyway why not get a little money back?
How to Use It
Ebates is extremely easy to use. There a few ways to use Ebates but the first thing you need to do is open an account. It’s all free and pretty simple. Basic info – name, address, email etc. Then you can search and shop. It look like this.
The first thing I usually do is go to double cashback. Because I have no brand loyalty. LOL If I want to buy Winter Clothes I shop around and see who has the best deal on said winter clothes. You’ll then see the offers available at each shop.
Hotels.com was giving 4% back, but is now offering 6% cash back, it was the same when I booked my hotel room. So I decided to check them out and see what they had to offer me. t they have so I click on the link and it takes me to the main page for Hotels.com on Ebates – giving me a rundown of all the promotions offered.
I decided to go ahead and just book with the Inn of Chicago as it was a great price and close to all the attractions I wanted to visit. Now with travel companies, Ebates won’t credit you account until after the trip has ended, just to make sure your plans don’t change. I wouldn’t be too worried about it as Ebates only send a out Big Fat Checks every few months, There is a schedule on the site.
maybe you can’t remember to go to Ebates.com and get cash back on your purchases, never fear. There is an extension for people just like you and me! My first stop in deals was Groupon and this is how I remembered to use ebates in the first place. When you download the ebates extension in Google Chrome every time you got to a website that offers cash back you’ll get a pop up like this. (BTW this is what Groupon is currently offering in cash back – so yeah winning!)
You just simply click the BIG RED BUTTON and activate your cash back. Then no matter what you buy from that site – your getting cash back. I just love that! There’s also an app in the app store and in Google Play. (With the holidays coming up I think it is absolutely insane to shop online and not use Ebates.) You’ll get email notifications from Ebates telling you the actual dollar amount that has been placed in your Ebates account based on your purchases.
So breakdown I got $13.72 back on my hotel and $8.10 back from Chicago Explorer Pass I bought off a Groupon. This Pass was a life saver as we got into 3 attractions for one flat price. So basically I paid $135 on groupon -8.10 Cash back so I paid $126.90. Full price adult Admission to the Shoreline Lake Cruise, Architectural River Cruise, and Big Bus Tour -$220. I literally saved almost $100 by combining Groupon deals and Ebates. Winning!
Now am rich – absolutely not! But when your counting every penny – make sure your getting the most bang for your buck!
Sign Up for Ebates with this link and get $10 automatically – no purchase required.