Sunday, March 28, 2010

Using Rebates

Do rebates really work? I know when I send in rebates it seems to take for-ev-er to get anything back. I practically forget that I'm even waiting for them. Then it seems like such a small amount to have even been worth the effort to begin with. So is it even worth messing with it? I say yes. Here's a few things I do to manage my rebates without going crazy.

1. Make a list. If I send a rebate, I add it to the list, along with the date that I mailed it. Ideally I also add a phone number to call if the time goes by and I still haven't received it. Once I receive the check in the mail, I check it off on my list.

2. Read the fine print. How many times have you bought a product, then got home to fill out the rebate form and find out you didn't buy the right thing, or the right quantity? Take a few minutes to read the fine print before you waste your time and money.

3. Get everything together to mail out IMMEDIATELY. If you let the receipt sit in your purse, then you'll forget about it. Most rebates are time sensitive. If it sits, you might miss out on the cash back. A good rule of thumb is to fill out the form and envelope, and get your UPC off of the product as soon as you get home while it's still fresh in your mind. Or if you intend to purchase a product that you have a form for, go ahead and prepare the form and envelope. Then it just takes a couple seconds to get everything else together.

4. Combine rebates. One of my favorite rebate deals to take advantage of is the awesome offers on beer in the summer months. Often you can find rebates for $20 on groceries when you buy a 12 pack of beer. This is great! Buy the beer, then for the groceries, buy other things that have rebates. Last year there was a rebate for a 6 pack of Snapple. And a pack of Pediasure. So I got those products within the same order, made sure the cashier printed me multiple receipts of the same order, then I got a ton of money back on the transaction. It takes planning, but it's so worth it. Transactions like this can usually end up profitable, with a higher cash back than what you spent!

If you track your rebates over the course of a year, you'll see how much money you're saving. It helps if it's on products you need or really want to try. But because of couponing, sometimes I have trouble getting to the total order amount. That's when it really helps to combine rebates, even if I don't really need the product. Last year I probably got over $200 back on different groceries by using rebates. Is it worth the trouble? Absolutely!

Check out this link for a listing of rebate offers that are currently available: http://dealseekingmom.com/tag/mail-in-rebates-roundup/

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