Well, it is once again that time of year. No, I’m not talking about Thanksgiving. While millions prepare to fill up on turkey, dressing, football, and family, just as many are strategizing their plans of attack for what is the biggest shopping day of the year. Thankfully, Black Friday doesn’t look quite like it did just a few years ago. Many retailers started rolling out deals days, if not weeks ago in order to take advantage of buyers who have shifted to an online purchasing lifestyle. Retail giants such as Best Buy, Walmart, Target, and more are running daily and weekly Black Friday deals. Many of which will run through the weekend for shoppers that don’t want to navigate the crowds during the post-Thanksgiving madness.
For those that plan on taking advantage of the week-long savings events, we’ve compiled a few tools to help you get the most out of your holiday shopping. Whether you’re in the market for a new Chromebook, some tech gear, or anything else on your holiday shopping list, here are a few ways that you can put some cashback in your pocket and stretch your gift budget a little bit further this year. Seriously, who doesn’t love saving a little money? So, here’s a quick list of some handy ways to score discounts and cashback without even leaving the couch.
Formerly Ebates, Rakuten is easily the most well-known cashback platform around. Yet, many people are unaware that Rakuten does much more than partner with 2,500+ retailers online and in-store to give customers a little change back in their wallets. You can purchase gift cards from hundreds of your favorite retailers directly from Rakuten’s website and you will find some exclusive deals AND score cashback towards your Big Fat Check. That Big Fat Check is mailed out to you every three months in the form of an actual check or you can opt to have your cash sent directly to your PayPal.
Rakuten is partnered with more than 2,500 retailers and the Chrome Extension makes saving almost effortless. When you navigate to an eligible site, the Rakuten extension will alert you that there is cashback available and it will even try applying discount codes and coupons at checkout to save you even more. During the holiday’s Rakuten runs daily Double Cash Back on dozens of sites where you can save as much as 90% in the form of cash straight to your pocket. As an added bonus, new Rakuten users can sign up below and get an extra $40 on your Big Fat Check as soon as you make a qualifying purchase of $40 or more. Easy, peasy.
Recently purchased by PayPal, Honey is a cashback app/platform similar to Rakuten but it has some added features that make planning your purchases a little easier. Before the acquisition by PayPal, Honey paid out rewards in the form of gift cards. When shoppers use the Honey extension on an eligible site, they earned Honey Gold. The Gold can then be redeemed for gift cards from shops like Walmart, Sephora, Amazon, and many, many more. Now, users can opt to redeem their Honey Gold for actual cash that can be sent directly to their connected PayPal account.
Like Rakuten, you’ll find cashback from thousands of stores, and Honey goes so far as to integrate partner store deals and discounts directly on its homepage to help you quickly spot new sales. Where Honey stands out is in the platform’s “Droplist” features. With the Honey Chrome Extension installed, you can quickly add products to your Droplist and you’ll get an alert when the price drops or Honey finds a better deal on the same product at another store. Honey will also apply any available discount codes it finds when you go to check out. Honey also offers frequent double cash back on many sites and you’ll find exclusive savings from retailers like Sephora, Macy’s, Adidas, and more. Honey even has a holiday gift guide that will curate suggestions for your shopping list based on your budget and who you’re shopping for. That’s a welcome addition to my holiday shopping arsenal.
If you’re into the world of cryptocurrencies, Lolli is a great alternative to Rakuten and Honey. Lolli launched a few years back as a somewhat experimental platform that does exactly what Rakuten and others have done for years. You shop the sites that you normally do and when you make a purchase, Lolli gets an affiliate kickback. They then share part of that money with you but Lolli does so in the form of Bitcoin. Over the past couple of years, Lolli has become mainstream and now partners with over 500 major retailers to offer cash back in the form of crypto that you can withdraw to the wallet of your choice when your account reaches $15.
Lolli’s list of stores isn’t quite as extensive as Rakuten’s but you’ll find many major retailers such as Best Buy, Samsung, Groupon, and many more. Lolli offers a Chrome Extension that works just like any other cashback tool. When navigating to a qualifying site, the Lollie extension will alert you to the available percentage or amount of cashback available. Simply click the activation button and go about your shopping as usual. Now you’ve got yourself a little Bitcoin in your bag. Who knows, it could be the future of currency.
We can’t forget Google’s mobile payment platform. Google Pay is integrated into thousands of retail sites and you can link all of your account, credit, and debit cards to Google Pay for quick, one-click payments. Google Pay also allows you to use tap and pay with the card of your choice by simply unlocking your phone. In the Google Pay app, you’ll find tons of exclusive discounts, as well as cashback, offers that will add money directly to your Google Pay balance. You can also add your favorite loyalty cards from grocery stores to gas stations so you don’t have to fumble with your keychain to scan the barcode. If you’re new to Google Pay, you can download the app below and you’ll get $5 free when you use Google Pay for the first time.
You can file this one under the “bonus” category. The Cash App isn’t a cashback platform, per se but the mobile payment platform offers up some great perks for its users that can save you money on everyday purchases. If you aren’t familiar with the Cash App, it is the mobile payment platform launched by the financial payment company Square back in 2013. The Cash App allows you to quickly send and receive money from friends but you can also get a free Cash Card and use the app for purchases anywhere you would normally use your debit card. We’ve used the Cash App for years to quickly reimburse each other for purchases made when we’re on trips or just to send some cash if one of us goes on a lunch run.
Over the years, Cash App has added an integrated stock and crypto interface where you can buy fractional shares of major stocks and purchase, sell, send, and receive Bitcoin. How you can save with the Cash App takes us back to the aforementioned Cash Card. The Cash App offers “boosts” for your Cash Card and many of these boosts are based on your geographical location and the stores that you frequent most. You’ll frequently find discounts like 10% off any purchase at Starbucks or 5% off at Taco Bell. Some offers will refund you a percentage of your purchase in Bitcoin directly to your crypto wallet in the Cash App which you can instantly convert to cash if you want. Right now, one of the many boosts in my Cash App is 5% off any online purchase at Sam’s Club which is awesome because we need paper towels.
Another added advantage of the Cash App is the security that it offers. To use the Cash Card, you simply have to sign up for the app, link your bank account and debit card, then add some money to the Cash App. You can add instantly using your debit card and there’s no charge for the transfer. You can then use your Cash Card to do your shopping and you don’t have to worry about your bank debit card being compromised during this season of excessive fraud activity. You send any excess money back to your bank account for free in a couple of days or do so instantly for a very small fee and the money will be back in your bank account immediately. The Cash App will even allow you to have your paycheck direct deposited if you happen to be in the market for a new bank. Over the years, my Cash Card has saved me hundreds, if not thousands of dollars and it makes sending money to friends super easy. You can sign up for a free Cash App account below.
Stay tuned for more deals, tips and tricks, and more as we get closer to Black Friday. I’m sure will have plenty of Chromebook and accessory deals to send your way so don’t forget to sign up for our deals newsletter below to get the latest deals delivered directly to your inbox. Check back tomorrow as I round up the best places to score deals for students, teachers, veterans, and more.