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Free money: Spend at least $25, get $25 back from TopCashback

That's a great bonus offer for newcomers to the service.

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Here's your chance to get $25 actual cash back when you spend at least $25. 
Angela Lang/CNET

I've long sung the praises of cash-back services, which can help you save extra on many, if not most, online purchases. This works even if you're already using a cash-back credit card (which you should be). It's like double-dipping, which is just as awesome here as it is at the ice-cream shop.

There are many cash-back services, and one of them, TopCashback, has a fantastic deal for newcomers: $25 cash back when you spend at least $25. Once again, this is for new TopCashback members only. If you see a message saying you're not eligible for this deal, or the link takes you to a different page, it's likely because you already have an account.

If you are indeed new to cash-back services like this one, some explanation is in order. (Seriously, please take the time to read it.) Your first step will be to sign up for a TopCashback account, which you'll do using the above link or button. It's free and requires little more than an email address.

Once you've completed that and signed into your account (on the TopCashback site or in the mobile app), it's time to shop. The best way to understand what happens next is with an example: Let's say you're interested in the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, currently $50 at Amazon. TopCashback offers 8% back on Amazon devices, which means you'd get a $4 rebate. (I'm not yet factoring in the $25 bonus; just stay with me.)

To get that rebate, or any cash back from any of the thousands of stores in TopCashback's roster, there's one important step required: You have to "activate" the cash-back option from the TopCashback site or app. In our example, that would mean searching for Amazon, then clicking Get Cashback. That action takes you to the Amazon site, where you shop like you normally would. Add the Fire TV Stick to your cart, head to checkout, make your payment and you're done.

But! This is where people get confused: You don't see that $4 rebate -- because, remember, it's cash back, not a time-of-purchase discount -- reflected anywhere at checkout. There's not even any indication that TopCashback is involved in the transaction. That's OK; this part happens behind the scenes. (Tip: If you use an ad-blocker in your desktop browser, it can interfere with tracking. Disable it for this.)

As part of this Cheapskate-exclusive promo offer, once you spend at least $25 via TopCashback, you'll receive a bonus $25 in your account -- on top of whatever cash back you got as part of the purchase.

Note that this doesn't happen right away: The $25 becomes payable when the cash back from your purchase becomes payable, which can take anywhere from four to 14 weeks. That's true of nearly all cash-back services; it's very much a waiting game.

So, closing the loop on our example: You spent $50 on the Fire TV Stick. Once the purchase becomes payable, you get $4 "regular" cash back and the $25 bonus. In the end, the $50 item cost you $21. (Super-pro tip: If you actually paid for it using your Amazon Prime Rewards Visa card, you also got 5% back on that $50 -- so, another $2.50. Now your net price is down to $18.50.) 

Make sure to read all the terms and conditions on the offer promo page and note the couple dozen excluded merchants.

That said, this is largely a no-strings-attached deal. I've used cash-back services for years (including this one). They're an excellent way to save money -- and, in this case, to get $25 more or less for free.

Your thoughts?

For more info on cash-back services, check out this recent episode of The Cheapskate Show podcast:

Now playing: Watch this: Double-dip on your cashback credit card
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CNET's Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow him on Facebook and Twitter. You can also sign up for deal texts delivered right to your phone. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and and check out our CNET Coupons page for the latest Walmart discount codeseBay couponsSamsung promo codes and even more from hundreds of other online stores. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Answers live on our FAQ page.