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Get cash back on your online purchases

December 8, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
In this tough economy, just about everyone wants to save a little cash while doing their holiday shopping. Imagine if every time you bought something online, you got a rebate. Consumer Specialist Ric Romero says there is a growing trend of cash back shopping websites that can really help you save. Savvy online shoppers know that there is money to be saved by not going directly to the store's Web site. Instead, they go to a Web site offering cash back. And, it's no small change. Rebates can be anywhere from two percent to 30 percent of the purchase price.

Monica Seely loves to shop online and with a new baby she's been spending plenty.

"I do most of my shopping online ... almost exclusively," said Seely.

Every time Seely buys something online, she gets money back. That's because instead of going directly to the Web site to make her purchase, Monica goes to a cash back shopping Web site first.

"You're still shopping with the same sites that you like, you just go through them and they give you a percentage back on your purchase. And, that comes in the form of an actual check," said Seely.

Seely's last check was for $140. That money is paying for her Christmas gifts this year.

Seely got four percent back on a Banana Republic sweater she purchased. Plus, she got a J. Crew yoga bag and received a six percent rebate. Finally, her husband bought business cards and got 10 percent back.

Monica's favorite cash back Web site is ebates.com, but there are several others. Each one offers different rebates for the same stores.

Noah Auerhahn is an undergraduate student at USC, but he is also the co-founder of a successful cash back shopping Web site called extrabux.com.

"Come to extrabux before you go shopping online," said Auerhahn. "We work with 800 retailers right now and we're always adding more."

Noah says his Web site gets a commission from each purchase, but then shares it, giving most of it back to the shopper. His next evolution of his Web site will combine comparison shopping with cash back and coupons.

"The Internet is still young. So, people are just starting to realize all the tools that they have that are available online to save them money," said Auerhahn. "It's not just comparison shopping, it's not just coupons, it's not just cash back ... They can all work together."

Signing up for these cash back sites is free and only requires a name and password.

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