Look, there are more than enough posts about creating a frugal Valentine’s Day. And while I’ll throw out a couple of ideas at the end of the post, I think we’re all more interested in making money from the holiday instead of spending because of it. So here are a few ways for you to make some moolah off this lovely/sappy (depending on your point of view) holiday.
Mr. Rebates – $5 (+20%)
Up through February 14th, you’ll get $5 for each new person you refer to Mr. Rebates.* That’s in addition to 20% of every rebate that your referrals get for the life of their account.
Mr. Rebates is also having a Valentine’s Day promotion, so more than 400 stores are offering extra cash back. In other words, even if you don’t know people who shop online (which would be weird, in this day and age), you can still make a little extra back on things you were going to buy anyway.
*Fine print: Your referral needs to sign up by February 14th and make a $10+ purchase within 30 days.
TopCashBack ($20.16 and/or Instant Prizes)
That got your attention, eh? Well, through February 10th, TopCashBack is offer $20.16 for each new referral you get.*
While I’m still a little skeptical of TopCashBack’s promise to give you 100% of its commission, the rates are comparable to/better than a lot of other cash back sites.
Also, the site will boost your payout by 2.5% if you choose to get Amazon GCs instead of cash.
But maybe you’re more interested in instant gratification. Well, TopCashBack is giving away $6,250 in its Valentine’s Day special. You can get anywhere between $0.25 to $100. (There’s also a romantic trip for two worth $2,000. Which I’m sure is great if, unlike me, you get paid vacations. Personally, I’d prefer cash.)
There will be daily clues that you follow to a specific store. Once you’ve been on the store’s page for a minute or two, a hummingbird will appear. Click the bird and find out what you got.
I got a quick 50 cents once. Given that it raised my rebates earned by about 25%, I was pretty happy.
*Fine print: Your referral has to get $10 in cash back before you’ll get the bonus.
Swagbucks GCs ($1.13 to $2.27)
Alas, this Swagbucks offer ends on the 31st, but there’s still time to take advantage.
Each referral — old or new — who buys an IHOP, Red Robin, Applebee’s or Domino’s GC will net you 200 points called SBs. Your first $25 GC each month is 2,200 SBs, so this is equivalent to $2.27.
Don’t have referrals? (Or wondering how to tempt the ones you do have?) Well, you or they can still buy one of the GCs above and get a bonus 100 SBs, which is equivalent to $1.13. That’s in addition to the 5.4-6% back they normally get when they buy those GCs through Swagbucks.
While Swagbucks isn’t having a V-day special, its 2016 Resolutions special is still on. That means double cash back on finance and fitness merchants.
Buying (then selling) GCs
Now is the time to bargain hunt for gift cards that you can resell at a profit.
For example, shop Raise through TopCashBack. Spend $20-49.99 and get $1.50 back. That’s 3-7.5% back on an already discount GC. (Just a quick glance showed me gift cards discounted up to 28.2%.)
Need a bigger card? Well, $50+ gift cards will net you 2% cash back, and new customers get $5 off $75. But all in all, the $20-49.99 option is usually going to be the better deal.
Okay, now you have your GC. Now go put it on Craigslist or, depending on the size of the discount, eBay. Yay, money!
Already have a gift card burning a hole in your pocket? Go to SaveYa through TopCashBack* and earn 2% when you sell the card.
You can also get cash back for buying/selling GCs from Cardpool. But in that case, I suggest using Extrabux even though it’s 1.5% instead of 2%.
There’s two reason. First, TopCashBack will only give you rebates for buying, not selling. Second, it won’t let you open claims if a rebate doesn’t post automatically.
*Note: I’m advocating TopCashBack because it has the best rates on these two stores, not because of the increased referral bonus. I’ll always send you to the best cash back rates.
Swagbucks Bonus ($3.41)
This one also ends soon.
New sign-ups will get a bonus 300 SBs if they can hit 300 SBs* by the end of the month. What’s nice is that you’re also helping your referrer (ahem), who will also get 300 SBs.
Yeah, it’s late in the month, but I’ve repeatedly earned over 100 SBs in a day. So if you can manage that for three days, you’ll hit the goal in time. If you’re worried about it, the same offer will probably be up starting around February 4th, so try then.
*Fine print: Sign-up bonuses, swag codes, daily goal bonuses and SB Visa Awards don’t count.
The obligatory frugal Valentine’s Day ideas
Keep one or two of those discounted gift cards. This will mean you’ll pay less for dinner, a movie, flowers, chocolate, etc.
Redeem rewards points for gift cards. Those of you who use My Coke Rewards can usually nab a movie package that includes two tickets, a large popcorn and two large drinks. It’s how Tim and I have seen almost all of our movies in the last five years, except Star Wars.
In fact, we’ll be using some to try to see Deadpool on the big day. What? Blood is red!
Costco for discounted movie, restaurant and/or See’s Candies GCs.
Celebrate a day late. Candy will be 50% off, and restaurants won’t be jam packed. Flowers will magically back to normal prices. (Last year, Tim found a small bouquet of my favorite flowers — not even roses — for about $55. They’re normally $30.)
Go people watch in grocery stores at 5 p.m. Giggle at all the freaked out guys clutching last-minute flowers and chocolate. Hilarious stuff.
Ignore the holiday altogether. Instead, invite your single friends over for something fun:
- Game night
- Drinking (but let’s face it, that’ll be included in most activities)
- DIY spa day
- Watching a rom-com at home, booing/throwing popcorn when things get sappy
- Watching a scary movie (again: blood is red)
- Anything to help them ignore the stress/depression that Valentine’s Day induces.
Can you guys think of any more ways to generate some income from Valentine’s Day? Any other ideas on how to spend Valentine’s Day?