Saving Money & Budget Travel Travel Tips

5 Proven Apps to Make Money on Things You Already Buy

Want to fund that big trip to Thailand but not sure you can afford it? Consider using an app to make extra cash! There are a lot of mobile apps out there that promise easy money but don’t deliver. Check out these 5 proven apps that you can use to make money on things you are already buying.

Pst…in case you were wondering, none of these cost you any money! If you use my referral links/code below you will help support this blog but it doesn’t cost you anything extra. TIA!


Rakuten (Formerly Known as Ebates)

I have a whole article on the benefits of Rakutenbut it’s pretty simple to use. This is mainly for shopping online although some stores allow cashback in the physical locations as well. Check out the steps below:

  1. Click the Rakuten browser button or use the Rakuten app/website to click through to cashback.
  2. Shop as usual on your favorite websites.
  3. You will get an email/notification that you earned X% back (% varies based on the store and current promotions) on your purchase at that store.

Click here to sign up for Rakuten and get $10 Cash after you make your first purchase!

That’s really it. You’ll get your cashback via Paypal every quarter or so, or you can opt to get it as a gift card. It includes popular stores like Amazon, Macy’s, Target, Kohl’s, and more.

Don’t believe me? I’ve gotten almost $1000 cashback since I started using it in 2013.


Similar to Ebates, but this is focused on grocery shopping at American stores like Kroger, Ralph’s, Stater Brother’s, Walgreen’s, Wal-Mart, Target, Sam’s Club, and more. There are also a lot of online stores like eBay and Amazon so don’t overlook those.

The process to make money:

  1. Once you’ve made your shopping list, start searching for your favorite store and then search through their offers. Add them to your offers list (you may have to watch an advertisement first).
  2. Go shopping, being sure to buy the items that fit the offer (for example $4 cashback on any tri-tip steak of 12 oz. or more). Sometimes they have a barcode scanner that you can use to check if that item is eligible.
  3. Scan the receipt with the Ibotta app afterward and the money will be put into your bank. You can withdraw the money once it hits $20 total.

Honey (Browser Extension)

Ok, so I know I said these were apps but Honey is actually a browser extension you can download on Google Chrome/Firefox/Safari/Opera. You download this and it automatically applies the best coupon code when you checkout at any online store. It tries all the available codes and applies the best deal so it takes all the thinking out of it!

How does Honey work?

  1. Download the browser extension Honey from here.
  2. Shop at your favorite store as usual.
  3. Checkout, and make sure the honey icon is lit up orange in the right corner (that means it’s active).
  4. It will automatically apply any available discount code to things in your cart!
  5. Voila, you’ll save money instantly.

Anndd you’re done! Note that Honey sometimes conflicts with Rakuten so you may need to use them separately.


I’m looking at you, world traveler! This app will show you the cheapest times/days to fly throughout the year. You can also set price alerts for certain dates/months so you know when to book. I was able to book a $184 flight from California to Florida around Thanksgiving – this saved me about $350. Note that it does not include Southwest flights, sadly.

Steps to save money:

  1. Download Hopper app
  2. Set price alerts
  3. Book when the price is the lowest!


Paribus is pretty cool for those of us with FOMO (fear of missing out) because it will automatically tell you if any stores owe you a refund!

This includes 25+ retailers including Nordstroms, Walmart, Gap, Macy’s, Amazon, Target, and more. You can also get cash back from places like Amazon if your delivery is later than promised.

Steps to use Paribus:

  1. Download the app/sign up
  2. Shop online as usual
  3. Paribus will track your order confirmation email prices and watch for price changes so you don’t have to
  4. You will get money back automatically because Paribus requests it on your behalf

So there you have it…

My top 5 ways to make money using apps without spending an extra dime! Yes, this will only make you a small amount of money. But every little bit counts when you’re saving up to travel, and it’s SO SO WORTH IT!

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