Tuesday, January 6, 2015

No Debate about Ebates

While our house was in quarantine due to the plagues, I had a bunch of blogs written in my head, but no time to write or share any of them because I was too busy doing laundry and disinfecting everything. This week (precious optimism), I hope to clear some of the backlog. My future blogging plans include writing about the pantry moths (per request by a kindred reader) and how I'm one step closer to being investigated by DFCS because the Baby gave herself a haircut and then tried to hide the evidence by dousing her head with a combination of blue tansy and hand lotion.

A mother's prayer: Please let there be a bald Barbie,
please let there be a bald Barbie, Amen.
When I was down with the flu I logged a lot of hours watching HGTV, including a marathon of Fixer Upper, in which a telegenic couple (Joanna and Chip Gaines) renovate and redesign homes for their clients. Since this is the plot of nearly every HGTV show, the twist is that Chip and Joanna live on a ranch in Waco, Texas with their four children. It's like The Pioneer Woman meets The Property Brothers if the brothers were married to each other or if the Pioneer Woman's husband worked with her making meatloaf, instead of being a Carmex-addicted cowboy. It was either the fever or HGTV's magically delivery, but for about a minute I considered ditching the ATL and moving to Waco. The kids could grow up on a ranch (ignore the fact that I would probably hate everything involved in ranching) and we could buy a pretty legit house in Waco for under $100K, which is like what people spend on their cars in Atlanta. Hopefully, I'll get the flu next year and can enjoy a season two marathon of Fixer Upper. By that time, I'll bet the Gaineses will be all Hollywood. Chip will have gotten caps to fix his wonky tooth and Joanna will be shopping for a house in Calabasas. I joke. For real, they seem like a lovely couple. Check out their shop for a $65 "Lost Sock" Hanger, or, alternatively, go buy a new pair of socks for $5.

While I was watching all this HGTV, pretty much every other commercial was for Ebates.  After the 30th commercial in which people swore that they were making money by just buying stuff, I mustered the strength to pull my laptop into bed to investigate. I mean, I buy stuff. Why not make money doing something I already do? I've blogged before about how I just can't with all the Groupon, Rue La La, Joss & Main, and One Kings Lane "bargains." My "bargains" often turn out to be stuff that I never would have bought if I'd seen it in real life and I'm stuck with because of the (no) return policies. When I looked into Ebates, it seemed like a good deal because you don't change your buying habits, you just access your usual online retailers through the Ebates site.

So, how does Ebates work? This article explains it really well, but the short answer is that Ebates is an affiliate to hundreds of online stores. An affiliate is a person or company that gets cash back for making referrals. Math Alert!! Say Ebates gets 5% back from Uggs on sales to any customer referred by Ebates. A customer clicks through Ebates to the Uggs site and buys a pair of $200 boots. Ebates gets $10. Ebates then splits the referral fee with the customer, so the customer receives $5.

If you're going to buy the stuff anyway, it seems like a a no-brainer to get a little something in return. I should emphasize the word "little." For a lot of the retailers, you're getting 2-5% back on your purchase, which, unless you're spending a boatload of cash, is probably enough to buy you a small Starbuck's coffee. But, you know when those Suze Orman-types talk about saving money, the first thing they always want to take away is your fancy coffee. Now you can sort of justify buying the coffee because it's basically free...with that Xbox One you bought from Wal-Mart.

I used Ebates throughout my holiday shopping and here's how I did:

I've already gotten one check for $27.37, and I have $30.67 waiting in my account. I also got a $10 gift card to Target when I signed up. You know that's loooonnggg gone by now. I was pleasantly surprised that Ebates is affiliated with pretty much every major retailer. I mean, 1% back from the Apple Store isn't going to change your life, but after all the money I've dropped on Apple products, it makes me happy to get something in return. Of course, there's always one retailer that makes you work for your pocket change. I buy a ton of stuff from Amazon, and I was disappointed that that Amazon will offer a small percentage back on purchases, but only purchases made in specific departments. Currently, it's 3% back on all shoes and baby products and 2% on cameras. Compare this with Nordstrom, which offers 6% back on purchases from every department (hence, my whopping $5.97 rebate from Nordstrom. Ch-ching!) Also, Groupon (for y'all who are better at sizing up bargains than I) gives you 6% cash back. So, you're getting your amazing deal from Groupon (and I do mean you) and you're getting cash back!

I totally wish that I'd blogged about this before the holidays so all my dozens of readers could have taken advantage of this during the big spending orgy that we all engage in every December. Let's just blame the CDC for messing up the flu vaccine and taking me out of commission. I mean, if in doubt, blame the government, right? If you're a regular reader of OWTL, then you know that, other than lice-repelling products, I don't promote anything. That would require me to actually think up a business plan and an agenda and to be a hustler, none of which I have the time or inclination to do. I've also made it clear that I am a total incompetent at scoring a deal or a bargain. If I'm telling you that I've made money from Ebates, you can be assured that it's possible for you to do so, as well.

So, now that I've totally sold you on Ebates and you want to reward me for my great advice (and hilarious writing), you can click here and I'll get a kickback for referring you. If you didn't need any convincing and you don't think I'm all that hilarious, that's totally fine. Just go to the Ebates home page and sign up there. But totally sign up and then you can tell Suze Ormand to screw off when she starts threatening your lattes.

Happy New Year!

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