Guest post: Shopping expert, Leah Milner 10 tips on how to earn money while you shop
As The Times money reporter,Â Leah is an expert in personal finance and, while shopping and saving money do not usually go hand in hand, she always tries to find a way to do both.Â
Earn money while you shop
Earning money while you spend is the ultimate way to ease the guilt of shopping and, if you are canny, you can even earn cashback from multiple sources on the same purchase.
Here are ten tips to making money while you shop:
1. Before you think about cashback, use a shopping comparison website to find out which retailer is the cheapest. Megashopbot.com compares a number of other comparison websites in order to find you the cheapest deals on the internet.
2. Only once you have found the best price for the item you want to buy, see whether you can earn cashback and which website offers the best return. According to MoneySavingExpert.com, the financial website, TopCashback.co.uk usually offers the best deals, followed by Quidco.com. At the time of writing the offers included up to 10 per cent cashback from Debenhams and up to 8 per cent from Boots. You can compare which sites offer the best cashback using MoneySavingExpert.comâ€™s cashback maximiser tool.
3. You can also earn considerable sums when you take out products like insurance, car breakdown cover and current accounts through cashback websites, but once again, make sure that you prioritise getting the best deal for the product itself and look at the money back as an extra perk rather than a deciding factor.
4. You can normally use loyalty cards like Tesco Clubcard, Sainsburyâ€™s Nectar Card or Boots Advantage card to boost your earnings when shopping via cashback websites.
5. Earn extra money-back on your spending with a cashback credit card, which you can also use on purchases through cashback websites to earn up to twice as much. Find the best card for your spending habits by searching on Moneysupermarket.com. American Express offers 5 per cent for the first three months and up to 2.5 per cent thereafter on all spending, with a Â£25 yearly fee. Santanderâ€™s 123 credit card offers 1 per cent on supermarket shops, 2 per cent on department stores and 3 per cent on petrol, but it has a Â£24 annual fee unless you also take out a current account.
6. Cashback credit cards normally require you to have a good credit rating. Check this before you apply by requesting your statutory credit report for Â£2 from either Experian or Equifax. If you are rejected for a cashback card, donâ€™t keep applying to other providers or you could damage your credit score.
7. Compare the interest rate before deciding which credit card to use and make sure that you pay the balance back in full every month or you will quickly wipe out any savings.
8. Make sure that you are not spending more than you normally would because of cashback incentives â€“ it is only a saving if it is something you would have bought anyway.
9. Watch out for paid-for cashback membership clubs, some of which cost nearly Â£15 per month to join. You would have to do some serious shopping to make a saving when the annual cost is Â£180.
10.Â Remember that cashback is not guaranteed â€“ the money is only safe when itâ€™s in your account and some websites have gone bust leaving shoppers out of pocket.