Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Rebate Basics

Rebates are a win-win situation, and businesses are making it easier and easier for people to take advantage of rebate offers.

There are tons of different ways to find rebates. One of the easiest is through your local stores. Check your local store circulars for rebate offers. Drugstores are the best for this. In my area, both Rite Aid and Walgreens have monthly rebates. In the case of both of these stores, you can view the pamphlet on-line. Rite Aid even lets you create a shopping list.

I especially like Rite Aid because they have an easy-to-use on-line rebate system. You enter in your receipt information, they electronically pull up your receipt and automatically tell you which items on your receipt are eligible for rebate. This has come in super-handy for me. The 1st time I used the Rite Aid system, I mailed in my rebate. I bought a conditioner for curly hair instead of straight hair - not exactly, but I made some small mistake like that and ended up not getting a rebate for my purchase. In August, I bought the wrong size of a product, but since it didn’t show up on my on-line rebate status, I know something was wrong and brought the product back to the store to exchange it for the right size. Now, when I buy items ate Rite Aid, I don’t open them until I enter my receipts and later come back and check my on-line rebate status to make sure I purchased the right things. Just now, I checked on my Sunday & Monday purchases (which I didn’t tell you guys about yet) and they had already pulled my info – so I already know that I purchased 9 items eligible for rebate, and they were the correct items.

Walgreens also has an on-line system, but this is my first month using it. It’s not as savvy as Rite Aid’s, so I’ll have to let you know in the future how it works out. You enter in your receipts and check off the items that are eligible for rebate, but it doesn’t confirm or deny anything for you.

Another to find rebates is to check the coupons in your Sunday paper. There have been an increasing number of rebate offers from companies with new products. When introducing people to new products, companies used to simply give you a coupon of sizable amount and often, coupled with a store sale, you could get the product for quite a deal or even free. One of the reasons I think some have switched is that they make more money off rebates. How? Because people forget to send them in. So be extra-diligent in keeping track of your rebate offers. Often the rebate offers in the paper will cost you the price of a stamp, unless you can couple it with a coupon. Manufacturers will most often reimburse cost paid before coupon, especially if your receipt has other items on it. When a store takes the coupon off your purchases, the receipt doesn’t generally specify what the coupon is for, and therefore, the manufacturer doesn’t know whether or not you used the coupon on their item or some other item. Businesses are getting wise to this, though, as is evidenced by the recent Theraflu rebate, which clearly stated that your rebate would be purchase cost, minus $2 coupon.

With the rebates that you actually have to fill out & mail in, it’s up to you which ones you should take advantage of. You have to pay the price of postage, so if it’s not something you’d pay 42 cents for, plus the time it takes to fill out the form, then you should pass on it. If it’s something you’d use anyway, and you can couple the rebate with a coupon, then by all means! Go for it.

And then of course there are blogs about rebates. Some of the blogs I read (see a list of recent posts in the right navigation) post about these deals in their regular updates. There are also several blogs that I’ve recently subscribed to that’s sole purpose is to talk about rebates. I’ll let you know what I think of those after I spend more time reading them.

And remember! Rebates only work if you remember to submit them. So don't make rebating your main thing if you have trouble remembering to submit them :)

No comments:

Post a Comment