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Tips for Submitting a Successful Rebate
Many people don't bother to mess with rebates, but it really is a great way to get free products and save money. Many times companies offer rebates on new products, or as a way of getting people to change their loyalty from one brand to another. Sometimes stores offer rebates as a way of getting you in their store to spend money. For the most part companies count on the consumer either not submitting the rebate at all, or messing it up so that they won't have to pay. You do need to be very careful when submitting rebates, so I have some tips to help you submit your rebates successfully. I have never had a rebate rejected.
- Read the fine print. All that small writing at the bottom of the rebate form is very important. It tells you exactly what you need to do to get your rebate.
- Make sure you buy the exact item the rebate is for. Many times a rebate will be for a specific flavor or style of a product. Buy the right product and you are well on your way to getting your rebate.
- Follow the instructions. Some rebates require the UPCs to be submitted as well as the receipt. Some want just the receipt. Sometimes you have to copy the UPC numbers on the form. Some companies will accept a copy of the receipt, while most want the original. Make sure you follow the instructions and everything should be fine.
- Purchase your product within the dates given on the rebate form. Rebates are generally for a specific time frame and you need to make sure your purchase falls within this window or it will be rejected.
- Submit your rebate on time. There are also dates that rebates must be submitted by, so make sure you get it in the mail on time. I always take care of my rebates as soon as I purchase an item so I don't forget about them.
- Make photo copies of everything. This way you still have all the information if the company has a question and you also have proof of what you mailed. I take a copy of all UPCs, receipts, rebate forms and the envelope showing the address I mailed it to. I write on the copy when I mailed the rebate.
- Keep track of your rebates on your calendar. The thing about rebates is you can't count on getting your money back quickly. Usually it takes 6-8 weeks, sometimes up to 12 weeks. This is a long time to try to remember what you are expecting. Quickly jot on your calendar when you expect the rebate by and when that time comes you can watch for it in the mail.
- Follow up with the company if you don't receive your rebate. Many times rebates can fall through the cracks, or maybe the company hopes you will forget about it. If the time frame has passed in which you should have received your rebate, call the company. This has happened to me and once I have called I have always gotten my rebate quickly after that.
- Don't count on the money and don't buy something you can't afford just to get a rebate. It takes so long to get the rebate that I consider it bonus money when it comes. I make sure what I am buying fits into our regular budget so that I am not overspending. Rebates get stashed in our savings account to cover something fun.
- Look for rebates all over the place. I recently submitted for a rebate on a bottle of wine. Many times rebates are on food and toiletry items. Earlier this summer I submitted for a $50 rebate on some clothing. There are frequently rebates on appliances and electronics as well. Keep your eyes open when you shop.
- Factor in the time and cost of postage and copies before deciding to submit for a rebate. For me anything under $2 is just not worth it for me. A stamp and copies cost at least $.50 for me and my time is worth something as well. You might have a different price point that would work for you.
- Don't buy something you don't want or need just to get a rebate. I consider this a waste of time, products and resources.