10 Best Ibotta Hacks To Maximize Your Savings

I’ve been using Ibotta since 2016 and it’s one of the best cash back apps out there. It has paid me thousands of dollars in rebates.

But like any money-making app, it takes a while before you learn how to maximize everything it has to offer.

That’s why I’m going to cover what the best hacks, tips, and “cheats” are so that you earn more rewards with Ibotta.

Let’s get started!

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission at no cost to you if you decide to make a purchase through my links. Visit this page for more information. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired.

10 Ibotta Cheats & Hacks To Make More Money

First, let me clarify what I mean by the best cheats for Ibotta, because I definitely don’t mean “cheat” in the literal sense. You won’t read how to game the system or learn how to hack the Ibotta app fraudulently.

I simply mean tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the years that have proven to earn more rewards quickly. It’s in the same spirit as my list of the best Fetch hacks.

With that out of the way, let’s go over the best hacks for Ibotta you can use to make more money.

1. Grab The Welcome Bonus

Here’s the first and easiest Ibotta hack.

Before you sign up for any app, you should always check to see if there’s a sign-up bonus or referral bonus. It’s the easiest way to get a boost in rewards as a new user.

Ibotta is no different. In fact, they offer one of the best welcome bonuses out there. Not only can you get a $10 sign-up bonus, there are also additional welcome bonuses that pay up to $20.

Enter the Ibotta referral code MONEYNINJA during account registration and submit your first receipt to get a $10 bonus.

Ibotta Referral Code: MONEYNINJA
(Screenshot from Ibotta)

Keep in mind that Ibotta changes up these bonuses all the time, but you can generally expect to earn extra cash for:

  • submitting your first receipt within 45 days of account opening
  • completing 10 offers in the first 14 days
  • making your first online purchase through the app

My advice is to check the “Bonus” page on the Ibotta app (the icon at the bottom right-hand corner) to see what’s available for you.

2. Link Your Loyalty Cards

One of the best Ibotta hacks is to link your loyalty cards to your Ibotta account. This lets you automatically earn cash back when you complete offers without the need to upload your receipts!

I’m always trying to find more passive income ideas, and linking your store loyalty cards is one way to make Ibotta more of a passive effort.

Ibotta offers this option at over 100 retailers nationwide, including popular grocery stores like:

  • Food Lion
  • Giant Eagle
  • Hannaford
  • Meijer
  • Rite Aid
  • Shop ‘n Save
  • Wegmans

To link a loyalty card, select a participating retailer in the app, select “Link account” at the top of the screen, and enter your loyalty card information:

(Screenshot from Ibotta)

Add offers before you shop, then at checkout, use your loyalty card like you normally would. That’s it!

3. Use Other Apps Like Ibotta

A creative Ibotta cheat is to use other apps like Ibotta to double-dip, triple-dip, or even quadruple-dip on rewards.

While that might sound surprising, it’s not against the rules to use multiple cash back apps to stack rewards.

Here are some of the best apps like Ibotta:

  • Shopkick: One of the earliest receipt scanning apps, Shopkick also lets you earn rewards for walking into stores, scanning barcodes, and watching videos.
  • Receipt Hog: Another popular app that gives you free PayPal cash and gift cards for scanning receipts.
  • Upside: Cash back app that pays you for every gallon of gas you buy.
  • Fetch: As Ibotta’s strongest competitor, this receipt scanning app rewards lets you earn points for any shopping receipt and redeem them for gift cards.
  • Drop: An online shopping app that’s excellent for non-grocery purchases.
  • Checkout 51: Get paid for buying sponsored grocery items and gas.
  • NPCMobile: Exclusive grocery shopping app of National Consumer Panel that you can earn rewards for telling them about the items you purchase.

My personal one-two combo is Fetch and Ibotta. I earned $563.68 a year with Fetch and $751.40 with Ibotta. That’s a combined annual earnings of $1,315.08!

It’s also the reason why I couldn’t crown a winner of the best rewards app in my Fetch vs Ibotta head-to-head battle – it was so close, but ended up in a tie.

Related: The Best Rewards Apps Like Fetch

4. Stack Rewards

Another helpful Ibotta strategy is to combine Ibotta rewards with other money-saving methods.

As I mentioned earlier, using apps like Ibotta can be a great way to save more money.

But you can also stack Ibotta with other savings methods, such as credit cards, coupons, and gift cards.

Credit Cards:

Most credit cards offer only 1% cash back on your everyday spending, but if you buy groceries often (and who doesn’t?), it’s worth considering a credit card that offers outsized rewards for supermarket and grocery spend.

Check out my list of the top credit cards, where I’ve included a category for the best cash back cards.

My recommendation is the Blue Cash Preferred Card® from American Express. You earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 in purchases a year. That’s up to $360 in annual cash back on your groceries!

You can also get a $250 statement credit for spending 3,000 within the first 6 months of account opening as a welcome bonus.

Coincidentally (or maybe not), $6,000 is just about how much the average household spends on food annually, according to the USDA[1].

USDA Food Spending Chart, 2021
(Image from USDA)

Coupons:

Clipping or printing manufacturer coupons is another way to stack more savings to your shopping trip.

I clip coupons from local newspapers and print other ones with apps like Coupons.com.

Gift Cards:

Did you know that most supermarkets sell gift cards, including their own?

Well, here’s a secret hack that can save you a significant amount of money: look out for discounted gift cards.

Many stores offer promotions where you can purchase gift cards at a reduced price.

Market Basket, a chain of 88 supermarkets in the New England area, occasionally sells gift cards at discounted prices. For instance, during Black Friday, they had a sale where customers could get a 20% discount on gift cards.

I stocked up on a bunch of gift cards, taking advantage of the 20% sale, and then used my Shop Your Way credit card that had a 10% off promo for supermarket spending, for a total discount of 30%!

Alternatively, I could have received a total savings of 25% if I had used my Blue Cash Preferred Card® from American Express instead.

This was an incredible amount of savings even before factoring in any other deals and offers.

I recommend checking out your local grocery stores and supermarkets to see if they sell gift cards, and if they do, ask a manager about any potential sales. It’s definitely worth asking – you may be able to score a great deal.

5. Shop Online With Ibotta

Another great hack for Ibotta is to shop online through the Ibotta shopping portal to earn cash back.

This isn’t common knowledge because most of us think of Ibotta as a receipt scanning app. While that’s their bread and butter, it’s also a shopping portal.

A shopping portal, also known as a cashback or rebate site, lets you earn a percentage of your total purchase back when you shop at your favorite stores. For instance, by using a shopping portal that offers 5% cashback at Best Buy, you can earn $5 if you spend $100.

Ibotta’s online shopping portal is located on home screen of the app. Scroll down and find “Shop by category” and you’ll see “Online shopping” as one of the options.

You should compare what Ibotta is offering with other cash back sites to see which portal has the best rate for the store you plan on shopping at. A popular one is Rakuten which gives new users a $30 sign-up bonus.

6. Install The Ibotta Extension

Since we’re talking about shopping online, another useful Ibotta tip is to install its browser extension so you never miss an online deal.

The Ibotta browser extension is a free tool that allows you to earn cash back while shopping online at thousands of retailers. It takes seconds to install and is available for Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari browsers.

After you install it, the extension notifies you if a cash back opportunity is available when you visit a participating brand. If there is, simply click activate to earn cash back for your purchase.

Ibotta browser extension
(Image from Ibotta)

Keep in mind that browser extensions aren’t a new thing – there are similar ones like Capital One Shopping. The extension by Capital One will also automatically apply any coupon codes and discount codes it finds and apply them at checkout to help you save even more money.

However, for full disclosure, I don’t use browser extensions. An important thing other bloggers gloss over is most browser extensions steal the click-through.

Let’s say for example, that a cash back portal like Rakuten is offering 20% back at Dell.com.  So you begin at the Rakuten portal, click through to Dell, and expect to earn 20% back on the total amount of your purchase.

Well, you might, or you might not, depending on which browser extension you have installed and how you interacted with it. If the extension you use offered just 2% back at Dell and it stole the click-through, you may just get 2% cash back instead of the 20% that you were expecting.

Still, if you’re an avid Ibotta Saver (what Ibotta calls its users) and like hassle-free shopping, try its extension to see how much you can earn and whether or not it’s worth it.

7. Check for Bonuses

Checking Ibotta for weekly bonuses is a good cheat that you should get in the habit of. Each week, Ibotta provides new bonus offers that give you the chance to earn more money.

There’s one currently available called “Midweek Money Maker” bonus that will pay you an extra $5 if you can redeem 10 offers. Here are other ones I see right now:

  • Red Carpet Moment = redeem 21 offers to earn $5.00 bonus
  • Weekend Warrior = redeem 5 offers and earn $1.00 bonus

These unique offers are on top of your normal cash back offers. All weekly bonuses will expire by a specific date and time stated at the bottom of each offer page so be sure to complete them within the allowed timeframe.

Find a complete list of offers that your account is targeted for, tap on the “Bonuses” icon at the bottom right-hand corner of the Ibotta app.

Ibotta bonuses
(Screenshot from Ibotta)

8. Scan Barcodes

This isn’t a hidden Ibotta barcode hack to earn more rewards. Rather, it’s to make sure you’re getting the cash back you expect.

It’s common to accidentally buy the wrong item thinking it’s part of an Ibotta offer when it’s not. I’m guilty of this myself.

In fact, I just did this the other week. The app was offering $0.25 back for every SKIPPY Peanut Butter jar purchased, up to five jars.

But once I got back home and scanned my receipt, I wasn’t getting the credit for them. That’s when I double-checked and noticed that the offer was for the 16.3 oz version only. I bought the 12 oz version.

You can avoid this mistake because Ibotta lets you scan the product barcodes to verify if the product is part of an offer. So, if you’re confused about buying the correct size of peanut butter or paper towel brand, check by scanning the barcode. It’s a awesome feature!

(Screenshot from Ibotta)

9. Make A Shopping List

Making a shopping list before you actually shop is an essential Ibotta cheat.

While this tip applies to grocery shopping in general, it’s particularly important with Ibotta. That’s because searching for offers on Ibotta is like flipping through a coupon flyer, and it takes some time to discover the best deals that’s suitable for you.

I speak from experience. I used to browse Ibotta offers while already shopping, which often led me to be impulsive and buy items I didn’t actually need just to earn cash back.

Don’t be like me when I first started. Do your homework.

10. Refer Friends for Extra Cash

Referring your friends could be the best hack for Ibotta.

There are so many rewards apps out there that there’s a good chance many of your friends have never heard of Ibotta.

Introduce them to Ibotta and you’ll get $10 for each friend that signs up using your referral code and submit their first receipt. Your friend will get a welcome bonus too!

Ibotta Referral Bonus: MONEYNINJA
(Screenshot from Ibotta)

There’s no limit to the number of friends you can refer so this really is one of the easiest cheats to supercharge your Ibotta earnings.

How cool would it be to earn $100 just by referring 10 friends to Ibotta? Get on this beer money side hustle now and supercharge your Ibotta earnings!

Avoid These Ibotta “Hacks” (Don’t Get Suspended)

Using A Self-Referral

Never attempt to do this bad hack because all of your accounts will get suspended very quickly. Creating a second account for self-referrals is not worth the risk.

If you don’t believe me, you can read all the Reddit threads about users who have been permanently banned.

Ibotta only permits one account per person, per phone number, per device. To be on the safe side, avoid doing any of the following things that could trigger a red flag:

  • logging out of your Ibotta account to log in to an account belonging to a family member or friend
  • withdrawing your cash using a PayPal or bank account that is linked to another Ibotta account
  • scanning receipts that have already been used by someone else

I respect the referral hustle, but don’t game the system.

Altering Receipts

Altering receipts is an Ibotta cheat that has caused a significant number of users to get banned.

Some users are tempted to use Photoshop or another software program to modify receipts to earn bonuses from offers they didn’t qualify for or didn’t actually purchase.

However, Ibotta has advanced computer algorithms that can easily detect receipts that were photoshopped or doctored via other means.

Losing the ability to use Ibotta permanently is not worth the risk of trying to get extra points this way. Don’t be penny wise, but pound foolish.

Abusing Returns

Another cheat that will result in getting the ban hammer thrown at you is return abuse.

Return abuse is when you buy items with the intention of returning them after receiving the cash back bonuses.

It’s okay to return items for legitimate reasons, but returns that involve Ibotta offers should be kept to a minimum, if not avoided altogether.

The Bottom Line

Ibotta is mentioned on this site a lot and for good reason. It’s one of the best receipt scanning apps available and the cash back really does add up.

Now that you’ve read this list of Ibotta cheat and hacks, it’s time to get excited about all the cash you’ll earn or the free Amazon gift cards you can get.

Did I miss any Ibotta hacks? Let me know the tips and tricks you guys use to earn more cash back – I’m always down to hear how others get more out of Ibotta!

Happy shopping!

About John Pham

John Pham is a personal finance expert, serial entrepreneur, and founder of The Money Ninja. He has also been fortunate enough to have appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, and U.S. News & World Report. John has a B.S. in Entrepreneurship and a Masters in Business Administration, both from the University of New Hampshire.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments