Cashback websites: Can you really get paid to shop?

ROLESVILLE, N.C. -- If you're buying last-minute Christmas gifts online, there is an easy way to earn money while you are spending your money -- through cashback websites.

Log on onto the cashback websites or apps while you're shopping. With each purchase, you'll get a little extra something.

Rolesville mom Jamee McGee loves to shop. She heard about Rakuten through one of her friends.

"I checked it out, and I was like, 'what the heck, let's try it,'" McGee said.

Rakuten is just one of the numerous cashback websites. There's also TopCashback, and Swagbucks, and they all claim to give you money back for each purchase.

HOW DOES IT WORK?
Once you sign up, which is free, you search the site for a specific store and see what deal is offered.

For McGee, on Rakuten, she tried it out at Saks Fifth Avenue.

The day she shopped, Saks was offering big savings.

"It was 2 percent, right now they are giving 11 percent cash back," McGee said.

You can also score coupon codes to save even more money through Hot Deals on the app or site.

McGee said that saves her time: "Instead of having to go through Google and look for coupon codes. When you go through Rakuten, they'll give you all of the deals that are eligible for the day. So you'll see how much cashback you can get, and also if you can get an additional discount code that you might not have found otherwise."

McGee says she started using Rakuten around Black Friday and says she's already earned more than $70.

One downside is that you don't get the money right away, your cashback sits in your account until you've earned at least $5. Rakuten has payouts that are quarterly throughout the year.

Troubleshooter Takeaways:
With any cash back website or app, make sure you read the fine print and take a look at the payment schedule. Also, be aware of the fluctuating rewards. It changes daily per store, for example, right now some are offering big cashback deals to get you to shop before Christmas. You can also earn extra money with referrals.
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