I just wanted to post this for anyone here who does a lot of Ebay shopping... especially if you do BINs!
Ebay recently went to their own in-house affiliate program, and Microsoft Live Cash Back just got them as a merchant. They worked out a SWEET deal where if you use the Microsoft Live search engine -- http://www.live.com -- and search for something available on Ebay, a "sponsored ad" will pop up that you can click for between 10 and 35% cash back (through Live Cash Back) on a Buy It Now!
Example! My son's been driving me NUTS wanting an ipod Touch. He's been saving his money but he was still way short. I went to Live.com and did a search for ipod Touch and saw the sponsored ad. It said something like, "Buy iPod Touch. Get 35% cash back if eligible." And it had a little icon next to it for Live Search Cashback. I clicked through and it showed me Ebay search results that included "ipod Touch." Found one that had a good price, seller had good feedback, etc., and clicked to BIN. The sale page gave me my total with shipping, and then showed me what I'd get in cash back from Live Search Cashback:
Item cost: $249.99
Out of pocket: $259.99
Live Cashback: $87.50 (appeared in my Live Search Cashback account the next day, and is available to withdraw by check or PayPal in 60 days)
So the total cost after rebate was: $172.49
PriceGrabber says the best price online including shipping and tax where charged is $255!: http://electronics.pricegrabber.com/mp3 ... 15/st=zip/
So, my son did pretty good, huh?
Now, this is the thing I found, though. The percentage that you're offered in cash back depends on the item (it's really hard to find products with 35% cash back!), and it depends on WHEN you're searching for it. Right now, when I search Live.com for an ipod touch, I only get offered 10% cash back for Ebay purchases. So you'll have to be patient... try searching at different times of the day, different days of the week... it may even vary depending on the search term (ipod touch, ipod touch 8gb, mp3 player ipod, etc.).
But in any event, 10% cash back for Ebay BIN's is, to my knowledge, the best rate you're going to get anywhere! If you're able to get 20%, 25%, or 35%...even better!
If you're not familiar with them, Microsoft Live Cashback is what used to be the Jellyfish.com cash back shopping site. You can join it here: http://search.live.com/cashback
Viewing the 'The Basics' Category
I just wanted to post this for anyone here who does a lot of Ebay shopping... especially if you do BINs!
If you're looking to add a few dollars a month to your savings without a whole lot of effort, you might want to consider trying a few PTR programs.
PTR stands for Paid to Read (email). These sites send email to your inbox, or you can choose to log into the site and read the messages there, and within each email is one or more links you can click on for cash. The amount varies by program, but anywhere from 1 cent to 1/10 of a cent isn't unusual. When you click on a link that takes you to a search page, you are sort of expected to do a "complete search" -- to click on a search term, like "cruises" or "payday loans" and click on one of the websites that come up in the search results... and let that page fully load. Sometimes the ad isn't for a search engine but is for a new PTR program or even someone's Ebay page.
There are timers in place to make sure you actually spend some time on the site you're paid to visit. These timers vary by site, but 10 to 45 seconds isn't unusual. So, earning something like 1/2 a cent every 30 seconds isn't going to amount to Oprah Money, but if you're just sitting in front of the TV anyway, it's almost like getting paid to watch TV.
There are some scam programs out there, and you have to look out for those. Realistically, an advertiser isn't going to pay a PTR program 25 cents for each member that clicks on his ad. So any site that promises to pay you a ridiculous amount per email is full of baloney. You also want to take into account the minimum you have to earn to cash out. A site might have a $100 cashout minimum... but will they even still be in business when you finally get $100 in your account? Another thing to look at is whether the site charges enough for its ads -- if on their rate page they charge $1.00 for a 2 cent ad to 7,000 people, obviously there's something wrong!
Luckily, there are some websites set up to help you find reliable PTR programs and help you avoid the scams. GetPaidForum.com is a huge message forum where you can read member posts about which programs have paid them and which ones are known scams. GPTBoycott.com also provides this type of information but they go a step farther by maintaining a list of programs users have reported to be scams. And last, BeenPaid.com issues a seal of approval to those sites with a reputation for paying their members.
Now that you've been duly warned that there are some scam PTRs out there, how much can you realistically earn with these programs?
I easily earn a couple of dollars per month, per program. If I'm good about keeping up with the emails, and clicking the links before they expire (some emails are only good for x number of clicks, or for x number of hours), I earn more. If I just click while I'm watching my soaps, or when I'm bored, it's a little less.
The programs that I've participated in for a while and I can recommend, include CashForAction.com, NetsReward.com, DollarForAction.com, Time-Mails.com, YeahCash.com, and GG-Ads.com.
These sites send out a good number of emails, valued at about 1/2 a cent each, and they pay you promptly when you reach the minimum amount ($3 or less, depending on the program).
I have a separate checking account set up for the PayPal address I use for these programs, and periodically I transfer my PayPal earnings into this checking account. Between the PTR programs I do, the survey sites, and the rewards programs, I've earned about $700 so far this year.
Next goal: To transfer this money into an interest bearing account.
Mother's Day is fast approaching and you don't want to wait too long to get in on some of the great online deals available on gifts for your mom.
Of course, the traditional Mother's Day gifts include flowers and dinner. By shopping online, using rebates and coupons when available, you can save a substantial amount of money.
FatWallet.com's FatCash program has a 15% off coupon available for 1-800-Flowers.com, plus they offer an 8% rebate on top of that.
GreenPoints.com offers 100 points per dollar (equivalent to a 12% rebate) for purchases at FTD.com. However, there is a clickable coupon available elsewhere (which means it can't be combined with a rewards program rebate) for $10 off any purchase at FTD.com. For purchases under $60, you'd be better off using that coupon. (Google around for it, it'll turn up.) Or, if you're a Discover cardholder, this link will give you 20% off at FTD: www.ftd.com/discovershopcenter/
Ebates.com is offering a 12% rebate on purchases at Proflowers.com.
Restaurant.com sells printable gift certificates for local restaurants at a discount...plus you can use coupon code 78440 for an additional 60% off (expires 4/30).
Have an Entertainment Book? These coupon books are available by city and include restaurant coupons. You may not be able to order one and receive it before Mother's Day, but when you buy online, you can access printable coupons on-site. The 2006 Entertainment Books are now 50% off, plus if you shop through FatWallet's FatCash program, you'll get $5 cash back.
Some restaurants won't accept these discount gift certificates and coupons on holidays -- take Mom a day early or call ahead to be sure.
~-Other Gift Ideas-~
Magazine subscriptions make great gifts that Mom will enjoy year-round. I love MagazinePriceSearch.com, which compares prices at 24 magazine discounters and shares online coupons to help you find the best deal. Some good deals right now include 17 issues of Woman's Day for $3.55, $2.75 for a year of Redbook, and $3.99 for a year of Ladies' Home Journal. No, the first issue won't arrive before Mother's Day, but a copy of the current issue and a note explaining that you've signed her up would do the trick.
Some moms like perfume. Where can you find it on the internet for less? Two of the biggest online perfume stores are FragranceNet.com (free shipping on $60 orders, get a 15% rebate with FatWallet's FatCash, plus save an extra 10% with code MDAY2006) and Perfumania.com (free shipping on $59 orders, and a 6.5% rebate through QuickRewards.net).
What about a personalized t-shirt? Spreadshirt.com sells a ladies' heavyweight tee with one line of text for $22.89 shipped (orders ship within 48 hours). Go through QuickRewards.net for a 7% rebate.
Moms love pictures. Another personalized idea within most people's budget is the Snapbook, by Shutterfly.com. Upload 50 of your favorite photos, choose a theme, and personalize the photos with captions. The final product, a spiral-bound album, is $9.99 for the 4x6 size and $14.99 for the 5x7. Shipping starts at $2.50. Shop through Ebates.com for an 8% rebate.
~-Mark Your Calendar!-~
Whatever you decide to give Mom for Mother's Day, whether it's flowers, dinner, a store-bought gift, or even a handmade card, the important thing is that you don't forget the date! On behalf of mothers everywhere, I thank you.
-~For More Information~-
If you'd like more info on how rewards programs like FatCash, Greenpoints, Ebates, and QuickRewards.net work, as well as reviews of these and other programs, please visit CompareRewards.com.
If you're a member of more than one rewards program that pay your rebates in the form of points earned, you may be tempted to compare points at one program to those at another. This is very tricky territory!
"I want to shop at Overstock.com. I see from Sdrawer.com's listing of rewards programs by merchant that I could earn 10 points per dollar by shopping through Greenpoints or 10 points per dollar by shopping through MyPoints. But wow, I could do much better by shopping through Freeride -- they pay 30 points per dollar -- or Memolink, that pays 48 points per dollar! ClubMom stinks, they just pay 4 points per dollar!"
What's wrong with this picture?
It makes an erroneous assumption, that the point value at each of these programs is the same.
All points are NOT created equal. What determines point value is how many points it costs to cash out. One program may offer a lot of points per dollar, but it may also charge a lot of points to cash out for the same value gift card.
In this example, so we can be consistent among programs (since some rewards programs give you a point discount for saving up for a higher value gift card), let's look at the value of a point based on the cost to cash out for a $25 GC.
- At Greenpoints, the cheapest $25 GC costs 19,000 points.
- At MyPoints, the cheapest $25 GC is 3,000 points.
- At Freeride, the cheapest $25 GC is 26,500 points.
- At Memolink, a $25 GC costs 43,200 points.
- And at ClubMom, a $25 GC is 5,000 points.
So this will tell you one bit of information at a glance: of these five programs, a point at MyPoints is worth the most, since it takes fewer of them to buy the same value GC.
But this doesn't tell you what you really need to know -- how do the points compare? A point at Memolink is worth the least of these 5 sites, but they do pay the MOST points per dollar for Overstock. Does that make up for the difference in value?
The only way to tell is to do a little math and work out how much ONE point is worth. If you know how many points it takes to buy a $25 GC, you can figure out how much ONE point is worth, right?
Don't turn that dial! It's not hard math. I'll show you how to do it:
$25 divided by the number of points it takes to buy the $25 GC = the dollar value of one point.
Example -- Greenpoints: $25 / 19,000 = $0.00132. That means one point is worth about a tenth of a cent.
Now, let's do the others.
- MyPoints: $25 / 3,000 = $0.00833.
- Freeride: $25 / 26,500 = $0.00094.
- Memolink: $25 / 43,200 = $0.00058.
- ClubMom: $25 / 5,000 = $0.005.
All these decimal places, all these digits, what to do with this information?
What comes next is easy. Now that you know how much ONE point is worth, multiply that amount by how many points the rewards program will pay you for each dollar you spend at Overstock.
We just calculated that, at Greenpoints, a point is worth $0.00132. They're paying 10 points per dollar for Overstock. 10 points per dollar * $0.00132 (the dollar value of one point) = $0.0132 (the dollar value of 10 points). In other words, when you spend $1, you get $0.0132 worth of points. That's the same as earning 1.32%. (Just move the decimal place to the right two spots.)
Aha! Percentages! That's something you CAN compare across different rewards programs!
Doing the math for you really quick:
- MyPoints pays 10 points per dollar * $0.00833 = $0.0833, or 8.33%.
- Freeride pays 30 points per dollar * $0.00094 = $0.0282, or 2.82%
- Memolink pays 48 points per dollar * $0.00058 = $0.0278, or 2.78%
- ClubMom pays 4 points per dollar * $.005 = $0.02, or 2.0%
Now we can see that MyPoints' 10 points per dollar is worth more than 10 Greenpoints, 30 Freeride points, 48 Memolink points, and 4 ClubMom points...a LOT more, in fact!
And, now armed with this information, you can return to Sdrawer.com and compare what these points programs pay to what the straight percentage rebate programs are paying for Overstock.
Why do some rewards programs INSIST on using points? There are a couple of reasons. For one thing, paying rebates in the form of points confuses the consumer and hides what a program really is offering. In this example, it seems like the 48 points per dollar Memolink pays would be the best option...yet, when you calculate what the points are worth, you find that two other programs actually paid a higher percentage rebate. And ClubMom, with its "measly" 4 points per dollar, was really paying more than the 10 points per dollar Greenpoints offered.
Another benefit rewards programs have in offering points for their purchases is one I've mentioned before -- with a couple of keystrokes, they can increase the number of points it costs to cash out, instantly and retroactively devaluing your points (and thus, dropping the percentage rebate you earned on prior purchases). Sticking with a straight percentage cash rebate program takes that power away from the rewards program owners and keeps the cash in your account. If you'd prefer to go this route, you might want to stick with sites like Ebates, QuickRewards.net, and BabyMint, who tell you in clear percentage terms exactly what they pay for shopping.