Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Rebate How To

In the past year I've gotten into the habit of sending away for rebates on products.  A rebate is an offer the company uses to hook you in to buying their product, but they pray desperately that you won't send away for your money.   I quite enjoy the process & it's just another reason why I love mail time, but there is a certain amount of effort needed.

Here are a few tips I've learned...

Getting Started:
  • Keep an eye out for rebates--Most of the time I find rebates with the Sunday coupons or on the product I'm buying.  I used to just pass them over, but now I take the time to actually fill out the paperwork & it's fabulous to get your money back!
  • Search your favorite manufacturer's website for a rebate offer or money back guarantee.  For instance when E was first born we used Luv's diapers once.  They had a leak proof guarantee, and they indeed leaked poop EVERYWHERE.  I immediately sent away for the guarantee & was happily refunded my money.  
  •  Realize that even if a rebate is to try something for free it's not free.  You'll still have to provide the stamp & pay the sales tax on the item purchased.  If it's worth it to you to spend $0.44+ tax then I say go for it!
Get That Money Honey:
  • When shopping, have your rebate item rung up separately so you can send the receipt without ever needing it again.   
  • Once home, prepare your rebate.  Do not wait, do not pass go.  Seriously, think about it as a game.  If you don't do this immediately & forget entirely, the manufacturer will win.  You want to collect your $200.   
  • CAREFULLY read the rebate instructions, I cannot stress this enough.  A lot of rebates will completely ignore your request unless EVERYTHING is there.  You want your money, so make sure to include all that they're requiring.  Most ask for the rebate form, your receipt with the price of the item circled, & a proof of purchase (UPC).  I recently bought a buy one, get one free after rebate item.  I unwittingly forgot to include both UPCs.  Fortunately the manufacturer contacted me, but it cost me another stamp.  Mistakes will cost you, so pay attention.
  • Don't use your best stationery; it doesn't have to be cute, it just has to get there.  I use rescued birthday card envelopes, envelopes that once had a label on them that I've peeled off.   Envelopes that are stained, crunched, or just otherwise in bad get the idea.  The point is to get it to the manufacturer in one piece as cheaply as possible, and if you don't spend money on the envelope that's a few more pennies in your wallet. 
  • Keep track of the rebates you have sent & the approximate time it will take them to send your money.  Only once have I not received my rebate, but it took me pestering the manufacturer before they finally sent me my check.  Always try to remember that information, because you definitely want to get your rebate.
  • Some serious rebaters suggest keeping a copy of the receipt & UPC for your records.  I've never done that, but I've also never had a problem.  If you feel it's worth the effort to protect yourself then more power to you.

  • Once you get your check cash it.  IMMEDIATELY.  Most rebate checks are void after 60-90 days, their one last hope of you not taking that rebate cash, so when you get that check run to the bank.

Just be sure to pass go & collect your $200 on the way...

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