Getting started with Rebates

Kim at Savings For Disney asked if I would do a post to help her and her readers get started with rebates.  I hope this helps!

Rebates are a GREAT way to save money on your grocery bill.  They almost always result in FREE products and often, when combined with coupons, you can make money off of them.

I told this story in my couponing class:

I once made $10 from buying a product at WalGreen’s that I would not have normally bought.  It was a $10 product.  WalGreen’s was offering $10 in RR if you bought that product.  That automatically made it FREE.  I had a $5 coupon and there was a $5 MIR that was available that I sent in for.  Look at it like this: 
$10 product – $5 coupon = $5 OOP
$10 RR back to use on a future purchase ($5 more than I paid for the product so a $5 profit).
Sent off for rebate – received $5 check.  Total of $10 profit!

See?  And that kind of scenario is not a fluke.  Those opportunities are available alllll the time!  Combining rebates with coupons will get you the best deals.

Rebate money is great if you are saving for something – vacation, home, car, etc – when you get your rebate checks, just put the money in the fund!  I use rebate money for more groceries.  We have X amount of dollars to spend on groceries each month.  If I get $30 that month in rebate checks, then that’s $30 more I can spend on groceries!

If you’ve never done a rebate before, read over these tips:

  • Read all rebate forms carefully, noting the qualifying products/sizes, purchase period (between xx/xx/xx and yy/yy/yy), and what is necessary for the rebate (form, receipt, actual UPC off of product, etc)
  • Always make sure any items you are submitting for different rebates are NOT on the same receipt! This may mean doing separate transactions at the store or getting items on different shopping trips. (Items for the same rebate can be purchased together – some may even require two items to be purchased in the same transaction to qualify) If I’m purchasing something that I know I want to send in a rebate on, I will write “rebate” or “R” next to it on my shopping list so I make sure I don’t buy multiple rebate items on the same receipt.
  • Mail in the rebate ASAP to make sure you don’t miss out on it! I usually send mine in within a day or two of purchasing the products.
  • Keep a copy of the rebate form, your receipt and UPC. (99% of the time, rebates will require ORIGINALS, no photocopies. But I do keep a photocopy of all the info in case my rebate doesn’t arrive in a timely fashion.
  • Keep ALL your receipts! You never know when you may come across a rebate you didn’t know about for a product you just purchased!  It’s best to organize them by month.  Just keep an envelope for each month and keep receipts for at least 90 days.  

Just as it is with stockpiling, when you start doing rebates, you have to put a little money in before you start seeing the benefits.  If you start doing available rebates you should start seeing checks in about 4-6 weeks.

Hope this helps you get started!  I do a daily feature called Rebate of the Day that will help you keep up with the rebates that are available.

You can catch up on all the rebates that have been posted here.

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