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“What I love Wednesday”, a weekly post dedicated to a money-saving product or service that I use, and adore.
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GET PAID TO SHOP
Hands up who likes free money? Well, if you shop online and you don’t use a cashback website, that is exactly what you are missing out on.
Ask any of my friends or colleagues and they’ll say that I’ve been banging on about cashback websites for years. And it’s easy to see why: a quick look on my Quidco.com shows that I’ve been paid £1,578 since I signed up
If you want to get a piece of the action, all you need do is register with a site such as Quidco.com or Topcashback.co.uk and then every time you buy online, visit one of the 4,000-plus retailers via your chosen cashback operator, rather than directly. While it is free to register a basic account, premium membership on both sites will result in the first £5 of the cashback you earn each year being retained in return for benefits.
With thousands of retailers available it is easy to make money on the purchases you would normally do each year, such as annual insurance policies and utilities. I know, because I did. Some recent transactions I earned money from include when I upgraded to Fibre Op broadband with Sky and made £55, £30 cashback on car insurance from the RAC, £7.20 when we bought a backyard trampoline from Argos and £6 for our Get Going travel insurance policy for our summer spent in Canada.
If you buy online, it doesn’t take long before it soon adds up. Here is how you can start cashing in on your shopping.
HOW IT WORKS
How it works is simple: the cashback sites list product providers and retailers and an affiliate links enables the retailer to track where the traffic is coming from. For instance, currently, at Quidco you can earn 8% at All Saints. They then pay the cashback sites for the lead. The amount of money depends on what’s spent, but it can range from pennies for clothing to more than £100 for some mobile or broadband contracts.
Make it even easier to earn cashback and download a reminder tool that sends you a small notification in the top right hand corner of your browser whenever you land on a retailer that offers cashback. To get the cashback you just click on the alert and you will be taken to the site and your purchase will then be tracked.
EARN WHILE YOU SHOP ON THE HIGH STREET
You can even earn money when you shop on the high street. With both Quidco and Topcashback, you can get money back on in-store spending at a few retailers such as Debenhams, JoJo Maman Bebe and Halfords. You can even earn cashback on meals out at restaurants such as Byron Hamburgers, All Bar One and Brown’s.
Simply register your credit or debit card – and your partner’s! – spend on it, and your purchase is tracked. Once it’s processed, an amount is put into your cashback site account.
WHAT ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW
What’s more, both Topcashback and Quidco have guarantees that mean they’ll at least match other UK cashback sites if you find a higher rate for the same product or service elsewhere.
Quidco, for instance, will double the difference between its cashback rate and the higher one of a competitor, but there is a 72-hour window in which you can make a claim.
With Topcashback, the site will beat competing rate by 1% (or 5% for Plus members), but you’ll have to submit a claim within four weeks of your purchase.
Bear in mind that some sites don’t pay cashback on delivery charges or the VAT element of the product’s price. While those used with a voucher code may be refused – so do your sums in advance to work out the best option. And remember to read the small print; only genuine transactions that are completed wholly online will pay out.
If you fail to receive money owed to you, write to the site as quickly as possible via the site’s official cashback claim links.
Also, resist the urge to sign up for several financial products – particularly bank accounts, credit cards and loans – just to earn cashback. Applications typically show up on your credit file, which could have a negative impact on your credit score – it’s just not worth it.
Remember, cashback should be seen as a bonus, rather than a reason for buying a product – always focus on the cheapest deal, not the biggest payout. But if you sign up, you will be earning money before you know it.