Saving and Managing Expenses the Fun Way with Ibotta

It turns out that we can easily lose track of our everyday expenses no matter how hard we try. Saving is easier said than done, especially when you live on a small paycheck. Nobody likes to turn to payday loans just to run into the same problem next month. They call it “debt cycle” for a reason.

In order to break this vicious cycle of borrowing, we first need to learn how to manage our everyday expenses. Everyone, who is well-off in the long run, knows what they spend on every day. They are good at saving because they are also good at keeping track of their expenses.

So, I decided to try a fun way to track what I spend on every day using one of the most popular cashback apps – Ibotta The trick is: the more frequently I use the app, the easier it will be for me to figure out more ways to spend less (e.g. via comparison shopping between stores, online retailers, etc.).

The Scoop

All cashback apps work in a similar way: you get the app, find offers, go shopping and then upload receipts, and/or scan bar codes to claim cashback. Then you just send your earnings to PayPal, Venmo, etc.

How much money I left on the table through all these years by not using these apps is just amazing. The app features all major retail chains as well as online retailers and apps like Amazon, eBay, Uber, Priceline etc. Next time you shop, make sure you have Ibotta!

The Bonuses – big earning potential

Ibotta has many bonuses on top of your cashback earnings. Bonuses are paid for completing tasks: like redeeming an X number of items within a period of time, redeeming cashback for more than one item of the same brand, inviting your friends to try the app, and completing teamwork bonuses. Every time you use the app, your rank goes up (you can find your rank in your account tab).

I got to the second level by completing 12 tasks and redeeming only 8 offers! I got 2 bonuses ($10 In-Store Welcome Bonus + $10 Welcome Bonus). 

Teamwork – that doesn’t work?

In order to boost your earnings, you should make an effort to build a team. Simply link your Ibotta profile to your Facebook account and send invitations to your friends. After I did just that, only one person joined my team or got the app. Bummer! Besides, even if they download the app, how many of them will become active users? Solution?

I have decided to reach into our database and send you all guys an e-mail (sorry, if I got on some of your nerves, I really apologize). But I hope that a lot of our customers, can benefit from using this app; and not just by saving on groceries, but, more importantly, getting better at tracking expenses and discovering smart ways to manage their budgets. I set up a separate Facebook page for this campaign to make it easier. So, you are all welcome to join and this is where my old Facebook account comes handy! I am one of those people who just stopped using Facebook after a while, so you don’t need to worry about my posts showing up in your feeds.

Action Plan

  1. Download the app. (skip this step if you already have the app);
  2. Send your own invitations to your Facebook friends – ideally, the ones who you think would benefit from using the app – recommended;
  3. Send me a friend request on Facebook to join our team – recommended;
  4. Go shopping!
  5. Once I see your Facebook profile on our Ibotta’s teamwork page, I will send you a Thanks you! message.


A quick note about bad credit loans

A loan is a financial obligation to the lender by the borrower. Actually, it is an asset to the lender – and just like any other asset (e.g. a car, house, etc.) it should render a service or an income. The interest that the borrower pays on their loan to the lender is the kind of income banks and other financial institutions count on.  But how can a lender be assured that the interest on a loan will be paid on time?

This is the big question that most lenders must answer before lending you money. When trying to answer this question in each individual case, the lender must rely on a number of well determined characteristics about the borrower. Is he or she employed? Are his or her spending patterns sustainable over time? Unlike mainstream banks and credit card companies that make their decisions based on one’s FICO score, bad credit lenders that cater to those customers with less than perfect credit scores, have to use other indicators of one’s creditworthiness. This, in a nutshell, is the reason why annual percentage rates (APRs) on such loans are very high.

It is not surprising that those of us who do not qualify for a major credit card or a low interest personal loan, find themselves astonished when they see a triple digit APR on their small short-term loan. Here is a few tips that will help anyone considering a payday or any other high interest loan product to avoid some common pitfalls.

First, make sure not to over-borrow. This one is actually easy to follow. Many U.S. states stepped up their efforts to put safeguard regulations in place that protect consumers from predatory lending practices. State regulators realize, however, that we all, now and then, fall short on bills and other expenses. So, they require small loan lenders to run affordability checks and limit fist-time loans just up to $500, in most cases.  This also answers the question when it may be appropriate to take such a loan. Paying some urgent bills or other expenses is one good example. Notice that, in most cases, the math is not in favor of larger loan amounts. While a $500 loan may cost you about $100 in finance charges and fees, a $1,000 loan would require one to come up with over $200  in interest payments (based on a 14 days loan term).

Second, try to repay your loan early. The best way to save on the loan costs is to pay it back ASAP. Taking advantage of the early repayment clause would save dozens if not hundreds of dollars depending on the borrowed dollar amount. You can send a payment right from your account or, if this option is unavailable, contact your lender to ask about how you can repay your loan early. We encourage lenders in our network to follow the best practices and early repayment clause is one of them. So, do not hesitate to contact your lender or contact us directly and we will try to negotiate on your behalf.

Do not be late with payments or try to extend your loan. Well, it is true that under CFSA code of best practices, small loan lenders  should provide an Extended Payment Plan (wherever allowed under state law) to their customers who are unable to repay a loan with accordance to the original due date. And if you ask about such a plan, you will most likely be offered one. One should be aware, though, that EPP does not automatically waive late payment fees and other penalties.

To recap, do not take out too much, try to repay early and avoid extending your loan at all costs.

Next: Loans piling up? Look into consolidation.

We will talk about some alternatives to mainstream payday loans in our next blog post. Stay tuned.