Imagine this – you’ve made the decision to purchase something. Go you! But what if you could get a little bit of a discount or extra cash given to you for that purchase with minimal work from yourself? Absolute no brainer, right?
Today is about one of the easiest ways to do just that, and I’m constantly amazed about how few people take advantage of what is quite literally free money. This is one of my favourite easy tips that really can make a considerable difference to your finances over time – personally I have an extra £1,000 over a couple of years from this particular trick.
Taking our Golden Rule: How do Necessities (We ensure) + Luxuries (We challenge) + Wastage (We eliminate) balance against Core Income (Your job) + Investment Income (We maximise) + Other Incomes (We seek opportunity)
This article falls in the category of looking out for other opportunities to get some extra income and therefore help your money stretch further, and therefore provide a boost to the income side of the equation.
How it works
So how do we get this magical free money? It comes as an extra bonus on items when buying online.
- Think of when you see an online banner advert – if you clicked on one and then bought something, the retailer will happily pay the owner of that advert a percentage cut for referring a customer their way and chalk it to marketing.
- From the perspective of the retailer they’d rather you just came to their site to begin with – they then pocket that fee themselves.
- There’s another way though – you can essentially “refer” yourself……
Cashbacks sites like TopCashback act as an intermediary on your behalf, providing the equivalent of the banner ad but actually redirecting that referral money to you. It’s simple to use – you sign up, look on their site for the retailer you want and click their link. You’re taken to the retailer’s website and simply shop as normal. Hey Presto, the referral cash is directed to you – magic!
Now on smaller purchases it’s a pound here and there, but it all adds up. I’ve previously been able to get 18% of my purchase as cashback on hotel bookings on Expedia, which if booking a family holiday can become a huge amount of extra cash. Fashion, mobiles and electronics can be really fertile ground for good payouts. You just need to remember to always check before you buy.
I’m specifically recommending TopCashback as I’ve used them for some time, found them reliable and more than anything and struggle to think of a time when I found they didn’t have the best payout.
Wait! There’s more!
Oh and it gets better. You can withdraw the full amount of the cashback into your bank account easily, however this isn’t always the best choice. You have another option to convert it into gift card balance for a range of sites (including Amazon!) – and if you do this there’s usually a percentage bonus on top. The bonus varies depends on the retailer but if you spot one you’ll be purchasing from anyhow, it’s yet another bit of extra cash.
Oh and you’re a store shopper? It’s cheeky, but if you see something you like in store you may want to hop on your phone and order that item for click and collect – all the benefit of in-store browsing, with some cheeky cashback on top!
But I’m scared!
When I ask friends why they don’t use this route it’s largely because of a fear factor. Let’s demystify the most common:
- Will I receive an inferior service from the retailer because I’ve used cashback? Absolutely not – orders are standardised and treated exactly the same as non-cashback orders.
- Will I end up paying recurring fees to pay TopCashBack? No – TopCashback will take a small cut of your commission, however you won’t be actively charged on an ongoing basis and only have this deducted as you make purchases. If you take TopCashback’s plus membership which provides boosted earnings rates (in my opinion quickly worth it if making more than a couple of purchases) this equates to £5 being removed from your cashback a year.
I purposely haven’t classified cashback as other income rather than reducing spending on necessities and luxuries as a discount on purpose. Firstly, sometimes the tracking of your purchase through a link can fail and you don’t receive the cashback – it happens rarely, but does happen. Therefore you should never just buy something for the cashback – think of it as a nice extra.
And remember, just because you’re getting a little extra money doesn’t change that you should think about if you need what you’re buying!
Finally cashback is not instant – it takes time (sometimes months) to deposit in your account, so it’s not something you should rely on.
Adding an additional easy step into your online shopping purchase can really pay off – literally. You can sign up to TopCashback right here and if you have any additional questions, please add them to the comments below!