I used to be the kind of person who would immediately dismiss and throw away mail in rebates. I doubted whether they would actually send me a check in the mail. I also didn’t want to have to wait 6-12 weeks to get the rebate check…should it ever come. They seemed like a waste of time, even the larger ones.
I wish I knew back then what I know now. I don’t know how many hundreds of dollars I threw straight into the trash because it didn’t seem right. Thankfully, I came to realize that you actually do get that check in the mail—as long as your rebate is valid. Yeah, you might have to wait 6 to 12 weeks to get that nice little check, but in the end, you still get money back.
After I started couponing, I decided to try doing my first mail-in-rebate. I don’t remember what it was for, but I was buying the item anyway. I double checked it like fifty times before I finally sent it off, just to be sure everything was in order. Then I forgot about it as soon as I mailed it off; I think I still doubted that I would actually get a check in the mail.
About 2 months later, I got my check in the mail and I was shocked! It actually came; it wasn’t some kind of scam. I remember being really excited because the item was purchased on sale, with a coupon and with the rebate (even with the cost of them stamp), I actually got paid to buy their product. Awesome! Things don’t always work out that way, but by sending in those mail-in-rebates, you can still get back some of your money. I’m not really sure as to whether doing rebates is considered earning money or saving money, I’m sensing a gray area.
Jen’s tips for doing mail-in-rebates:
- Read the entire rebate form twice; yes…the fine print too. Doing this helps ensure that you don’t miss something that could cost you your rebate check.
- Send it in as soon as possible. If it’s done and ready to go, why wait? The sooner you send it off, the sooner they’ll send your rebate check. Also, it keeps you from missing the deadline and/or forgetting about it.
- Make sure that you are purchasing the item/s within their purchasing dates. Even being 1 day off can cost you a check. Most rebates will specify the dates they want the receipt dated between. For example in the list of things they want you to send:
The original retail store and product(s) identified cash register receipt dated between 11/17/12 – 11/29/12 with price(s) circled.
- If they ask you (on the rebate form) to circle the items, don’t forget to do it. If you forget to circle the items as they state, you could miss out on your rebate check—even something that simple can make or break it.
- Personally, I scan everything for the rebate before I seal the envelope. The rebate form, receipts, upc’s, whatever they need to determine if I get the rebate is scanned and saved, just in case. This gives me the contact information if I need to get a hold of them, and proof that I followed the instructions. I’ve never needed it, but it’s good to have if something should arise. If you don’t want to scan everything, you could take a photocopy or just write down all the information.
- If the rebate is close to the price of a stamp, then it’s probably not worth sending in. Some people might not care, but personally I’d let it go.
- Double check that everything is in order before you seal the envelope.
- Be patient while waiting for your rebate, it might take a while, but it will eventually come (if you did everything correctly).
- Don’t get all rebate crazy and go buying stuff you don’t need/want just to get a rebate check. That won’t really save you money in the long haul.
Where you can find rebates:
- Product packages
- Manufacturer websites
- Sunday coupon inserts
- Coupon and deal blogs
Do you send in mail-in-rebates, or do you toss them?
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/qviri/3588187672/