Because I have been through some tough economic times in my life, I have always had to be frugal. If there was something I wanted, I knew that I would need to work and save up to get it. So even with those days behind me, the instinct to be thrifty is just ingrained in me. Now, I see getting a great deal as sort of a sport that gives me a thrill.
My husband and I love to travel, so I decided to figure out the art of budget travel. We still stay in nice hotels and take elaborate trips, but now we do it smarter and for less! When I first got serious about it, I looked for ways to up my travel savings game. First I joined plenty of loyalty programs and applied for the right points and miles credit cards, but I also focused on ways to cut expenses and save extra money for travel. This helps me stretch our travel dollars further, travel more frequently and have more money left to spend on all the fun stuff!
One way that I have saved money for travel is with Rebate Apps. There are a slew of rebate programs out there and some are better than others. After testing several out, I have kept just 3. Ibotta, Rakuten (formerly Ebates) and Fetch. Whether it’s cash back savings or travel gift cards, I save it all up to use specifically for our travels.
I use Rakuten mainly for online purchases especially when they have high percentage returns around the holidays. Another way to earn big rebates with them is by booking travel and hotels through their site. They pay out quarterly either as a “Big Fat Check” or a transfer to PayPal.
Ibotta works similarly for earning rebates on online shopping and travel purchases. However, I primarily use this app for Groceries. You must first select your products, then upload a receipt in order to earn rebates. The earning potential is even better if you can take advantage of their frequent bonuses. When you are ready, you can redeem your savings for gift cards or simply cash out to PayPal as long as you have more than $20 in your account. Ibotta even lets you use earned credits to pay with the app in stores. To date I have earned around $1800 using the Ibotta app.
Fetch has to be the easiest app to use. There is no need to add products before you shop. You simply scan your receipt and it tells you instantly what you have earned. Easy Peesy!
Like Ibotta the best earnings come from the big bonuses. The home page of the Fetch app always shows a short list of products that have the highest bonus points. I like to look over the current bonus items while I make my grocery list to see if any of these items fit my needs. Often times bonuses are for new products just being introduced to the market. Manufacturers offer bonuses to entice shoppers to try out their new items.
With Fetch you get paid out through e-gift cards. The best part of that is they are literally instant. I once redeemed points for a restaurant as we pulled into the parking lot and we were able to use the gift card right away to pay.
Originally, I only chose to redeem my points for restaurant gift cards. Then I discovered that I could get travel related cards as well. Delta, Southwest, Uber, AirBnB and Hotels.com are just some of the travel choices they offer. Now, I save up my points until I am ready to redeem them for travel related gift cards.
Being a Budget Traveler takes some work and planning. Using Rebate apps to layer deals along with credit card points and loyalty rewards can land you some pretty awesome savings. We now spend much less money for our travel, but have way better trips. That’s winning!
You have to buy groceries anyway, so why not get something in return. Fetch Rewards is the easiest option of any of the Rebate apps I have tried. When you are planning a trip, remember that redeeming Fetch Rewards can provide a great way to save on your dining or travel costs.
Dream, Plan, SAVE, Adventure!