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Here are some fabulous tips on how to start filling out (and completing!) your rebate deals. Thanks so much to Greta at Friend Family Savings for compiling these, and be sure to check out Greta's Rebate Roundup!
If you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I love mail-in-rebates. The best rebates are those that ultimately give you free products and/or allow you to actually make money! So why would anyone turn down an awesome rebate opportunity? Well, unfortunately rebates can sometimes be a hassle as well as time consuming. You lose receipts, you fill out rebate forms incorrectly, you purchase the wrong items… this can be very frustrating! I decided to give you all a few tips to make the world of mail-in-rebates a little easier.
1. Print rebate forms immediately. When you see a rebate advertised, make sure you print the form right away, even if the expiration date is weeks or months away. Sometimes companies will remove the rebate form from their website well before the rebate expires. Also, some companies limit the number of forms that can be printed, so make sure you print yours early! Keep all your forms in one spot, that way you won't lose any.
2. Save your receipts. All of them! There have been several cases where a new rebate has come out on an item I recently purchased. I needed the item and was not expecting a rebate, so for me that rebate was free money! Here's another great example: a new P&G rebate was released around July 15. However, the purchase dates for the rebate began June 30! That means you have 2 weeks worth of purchases/receipts to look through – the chances may be pretty good that you already purchased a qualifying item!
3. Thresholds are calculated before coupons. Unless the rebate form specifically says otherwise, you can use coupons on the items you purchase and using coupons will not affect the minimum purchase requirement. For example, let's say you need to buy $20 worth of products for your rebate. You use $6 in coupons to purchase your products, therefore you only paid $14 out of pocket. However, you still purchased $20 worth of products. This is how you will get items for free and even come out with a moneymaker on occasion!
4. Read the fine print. Before you go shopping, make sure you double check the fine print to see if there are any exclusions or other stipulations. The rebate may cover any product from a certain brand, but excludes product “x.” Also, most rebates have a limit of 1 per household (check for exceptions). Most rebates do not mail to P.O. boxes. Make sure to read all the rules before making your purchases.
5. Photocopy all your documents. Before you mail in your rebate, make sure you photocopy everything you are sending in. This includes the rebate form, receipt(s), UPC labels or anything else that is required for the rebate. If questions arise over your rebate or if something gets lost, you have all the info you need. Again, keep all these things together in one place – organization is key!
6. Product Guarantees are not rebates! Many companies have Product Guarantee policies for each of their products. The concept is that if you are not 100% satisfied with the product then you will be reimbursed for your purchase. Sometimes these simply require a phone call, sometimes you need to fill out a form on the company's website. Keep in mind that these are not the same as mail-in-rebates. A mail-in-rebate is an incentive for you to buy a product. It is a marketing tool. Product Guarantees should only be used when you are legitimately not satisfied with the product.
Be sure to check out my Rebate Roundup post every Monday to find the best mail-in-rebate scenarios at various stores, complete with coupon match-ups! I also post a Publix Rebate Roundup on Thursdays.
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