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I like to shop online. It's easy, convenient and often less expensive than hitting the stores. And buying online is even better when you're rewarded for your spending.

One site all e-shopaholics must pay a visit to is ebates.com, where checking out means chequing in. Register for free, choose products from thousands of stores (Apple, Staples, Foot Locker etc.) and earn cash back on every online purchase you make.

On average, you can expect 4 to 5 per cent of what you spend. Special promotions can mean even bigger rewards of 15 to 30 per cent back. An upcoming back-to-school special, for example, is offering 30 per cent cash back from selected stores.

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The cash you earn back from shopping is collected in your ebates account. While many stores on the site offer free shipping, you could potentially use the discount to cover those costs. Otherwise, rebates are mailed out quarterly or can be deposited directly into a PayPal account.

Or if you're feeling particularly generous, you can have your rebate donated to your favourite charity. Now that's smart shopping you can feel good about.

Angela Self is one of the founders of the Smart Cookies money group. Read her weekly column on managing debt and saving money at the new globeinvestor.com.

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About the Author
Angela Self

Angela Self is one of the founders of the Smart Cookies, a group of five women who specialize in personal finance. They are hosts of a self-titled show on the W Network and the authors of The Smart Cookies' Guide to Making More Dough. More

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