That’s not just an annoying rhyme – it’s an actual question I got from a reader recently. A year ago, iBotta was a great way to offset manufactured spending fees. The app paid out $0.50 per day for an “Any Item” receipt at Walmart and elsewhere. A lot of folks would upload their Walmart money order receipts to the app on a daily basis. Nowadays, iBotta is only paying out $0.10 cents per Any Item receipt. A reader wanted to know if it’s still worth uploading your receipts to iBotta at this lower rate. My opinion? It could be, if you play it right.
How much can you earn with iBotta Any Item receipts?
I know what most of you are thinking: “$0.10 cents a day equals $3 per month. Don’t be such a cheapskate, Ariana!” But it literally just takes one minute to upload your receipt and over the course of a year, you’ll earn $36.50 worth of cash back. You can multiply that further by handing your receipts out to family members who also have the iBotta app. If you’re not a member, you can earn up to $20 by signing up with my iBotta referral link [NOTE: Uploading an Any Item receipt doesn’t qualify for the bonus). Then refer five family members and you’ll get a $55 bonus!
With the number of money orders I’m going to buy, I will probably generate about close to $200 worth of cash back through iBotta receipt uploads per year. To give you some perspective, gift card churning fees for $120,000 worth of manufactured spending totals around $225 if you’re buying them from GiftCardMall. That’s assuming you’re buying them in $1,500 increments and earning 1% cash back through a portal like eBates.
On most airlines, 120,000 miles gets you a roundtrip business class ticket to Europe or Asia. The iBotta receipt uploads cut that cost down by a third. Not a huge amount, but if you’re manufacturing spend in large quantities, it adds up. Take that $160 and put it towards a week worth of spa treatments in Thailand. We all have a minute a day to spare and it’s not that much work.
It all adds up
Aside from the Any Item receipt, you can use iBotta for regular everyday purchases. I often find discounts on things that I buy anyway, like shampoo, toothpaste, and about a dozen regular junk food purchases from Safeway. Those cash back amounts are much higher than the Any Item receipt payouts and add up significantly. It’s an easy daily thing you can do to cut down on your manufactured spending fees. Thanks to sign-ups from my readers, I’ve been able to generate a few hundred dollars in referral bonuses to help cover my manufactured spending fees.
Of course, it’s not the only thing you can do. Gift card merchants like Office Depot and Simon Mall regularly run discounted or fee-free gift card promotions. These are great ways to reduce the cost of acquiring miles via manufactured spending. And if you’re manufacturing spend with a cash back card, it all of it adds to your cash profits.
Is iBotta worth it?
So should you bother with iBotta’s $0.10 Any Receipt uploads? Sure, why not. While you’re at it, upload your other grocery and drugstore receipts too. It’s less than a minute of work and at the end of the year, you’ll have enough cash back to cover taxes and fees on an award ticket.