What to do with that end-of-year pile of receipts? Make (a little) money off of it
If you’re like most people, you’re staring at an impressive pile of receipts for everything from clothing and gifts to decorations and groceries. Why not earn money for sharing those receipts?
To be sure, you won’t earn anywhere near as much as you spent. But the spending is done and the effort to claim rewards with receipt-sharing apps is minimal. So, why not?
Earn money for sharing receipts
Dozens of sites pay people to share details of their spending. Why? Many of these companies are market research firms that aggregate spending data to give retailers insight into consumer spending patterns. Since they’re making money off your anonymized data, they share a bit of the wealth to encourage you to be forthcoming. These companies want to know about everything you buy — whether it’s fast food or sweaters.
Other sites that pay you to share receipts are cash-back apps that work with specific retailers or manufacturers. They’re providing incentives to buy specific products. These firms are more selective about the receipts they want.
Because each receipt-collecting company is after something slightly different, you can submit the same receipts to multiple sites and earn money from each. And double- and triple-dipping is wise here because no one pays much. You’re likely to earn back pennies on the dollar spent — much like the cash back you earn when using a rewards credit card.
It’s worth mentioning that many companies operating in this space require some sort of pre-approval. These companies require you to either shop through their websites or go online to “unlock” or “claim” rewards before you buy.
But sites that require pre-approval to claim rewards, including Rakuten, Ibotta and MyPoints, are of little use to those who have already done their shopping. And since your holiday shopping is probably complete by now, we’re focusing here only on the sites that will pay you to share your receipts after the fact.
Here are three of the no-approval-necessary receipt-sharing sites and roughly how much you can earn with each.
Fetch Rewards encourages users to upload receipts in exchange for points, which can later be exchanged for gift cards. You must upload receipts within 14 days of making a purchase. But you cannot upload more than 35 receipts in a seven-day period. The number of points you earn with each receipt will vary based on the store, what you purchased, and how much you spent. But you’ll earn at least 25 points for each receipt.
How much are the points worth? About one-tenth of a cent. So, if you uploaded 35 receipts in a week, getting just the minimum 25 points for each, your uploads would be worth 875 points, or about 87 cents.
Of course, many receipts will earn more than the minimum points, so accumulating rewards here may be faster if you’re an avid shopper. And you can earn additional points if you buy an item from a participating brand, complete special offers and refer friends. Payments are made in gift cards from a retailer of your choice.
Receipt Hog provides “coins” for sharing receipts no matter where you shop and what you buy. You get bonus rewards for connecting your Receipt Hog account with your Amazon account and primary email address, as well as for some other activities, like taking online surveys.
How many coins do you get for each of these activities? With receipts, the number of coins you get will depend on how much you spent. You’ll get five coins for retail receipts worth less than $10 and up to 20 coins for receipts that show you spent $100 or more. Each receipt also gets you entered into a drawing where you could potentially win up to 5,000 coins.
But each coin is worth only about half a cent, so it will take some time to build up the $5 you need to cash out.
ReceiptPal is a market research firm that pays you — also in gift cards — to submit receipts that show what you’ve purchased, when and where. The site’s payment formula is a little complex. But the summary version is that you receive “point cards” that you fill with points by uploading receipts. Each receipt is worth 25 points. You can accumulate roughly 500 points per week.
It appears that you need 370 to 450 points to earn $1. The smallest rewards are for $5 gift cards, and you’ll need at least 2,200 points to claim them. But if you can let your points accumulate, you’ll get a better deal on the higher-value gift cards.
Kristof is the editor of SideHusl.com, an independent site that reviews hundreds of money-making opportunities in the gig economy.