Rebate checks are my FAVORITE type of mail!  They always end up being such a fun surprise! But what a process: buy the product, cut out the UPC, fill out the rebate form, copy the receipt and mail it in. It’s no wonder that only about half of eligible rebate purchases are actually redeemed. If you’re one of those people who doesn’t think rebates are worth the work, then read on for some tips that will make you want to think twice before throwing that receipt away.

Rebates are easy to find! I guarantee that you can’t walk into any store these days without seeing at least one rebate offer stuck to an item on the shelf.  So, even if you can’t keep up with all the great KCL posts about current rebate offers, you can simply keep your eyes peeled the next time you are in the store.  Who knows?  You may find a TRY ME FREE rebate on an item you regularly purchase or never would have purchased because it’s too expensive.  Well, now you just got it for FREE!
TIP:  Before you check out, check the dates on the rebate offer.  Sometimes old merchandise can have old rebate offers still attached to them.

Rebates can often make you money!  The best way for a manufacturer to get you to try a new product is to give it to you for free or at least at a discount. This is why you see higher value and more frequent coupons for newer products.  Use those coupons and mail in a TRY ME FREE rebate offer and you just got paid to try something new!  Just make sure the rebate offer does not exclude the use of coupons.
TIP:  If you don’t have a coupon for a rebate item, use your rewards to pay for it.  When you get your rebate check in the mail, it will be like getting your rewards back in the form cash instead of store credit.

No postage necessary – sometimes!  These days, most rebate offers through stores don’t require that you mail in anything to claim your rebate money.  Stores like Staples, Rite Aid, and Walgreens have monthly rebate offers that you can redeem online by entering a few numbers that are easily located on your receipt!  These are also great because they are easily tracked online.

A few more tips:

  • Keep track of your rebate offers.  I like to keep a copy of the rebate materials I mailed in or a copy of my confirmation email (from store rebate programs) in a file folder.  I note the date I submitted the rebate and the anticipated wait time. As my rebate checks come in, I toss the rebate materials that I had saved in my file folder.  Rebate-tracking software that you can download to your computer is also available if you prefer an electronic record.
  • If it’s been too long and you still haven’t received your check – follow up!  This is why it’s important to keep copies of the materials you mailed in.
  • Save all your receipts (rebate offers typically don’t last more than a year, so after that time you can purge).  Also, cut the UPC codes off your products as you use them.    Write the product name on the back so you can easily identify it.  You might stumble upon a rebate offer after you purchased an item, but still qualify.

So what are you waiting for?  CASH IN!!!

This has been a guest post by Elizarae from Beaumont, CA
Find out more about the KCL Contributor Network!

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41 thoughts on “Extreme Couponing: The Worth of Mail in Rebates”

  1. I love mail in rebates!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I sent off for a Prevacid rebate several months ago.  I had purchased the Prevacid at CVS and used some Extra Bucks.  The Prevacid rebate form promised to rebate the purchase amount (up to $19.99) less their $5 coupon, but they sent me a check for my OOP amount instead (slightly over $11).  In other words, I had totally wasted my EBs.  When I called them, they said they had sent me the correct amount because they could not turn my EBs into cash.  I complained that their form did not state anything of the sort, but they would not relent.  The woman I talked to would not let me talk to someone above her to lodge a complaint.  She said the only way I could file a complaint was through snail mail.  This, combined with what I have heard about the Kellogg’s gas card, has made me very skittish about rebate offers.

  3. Carrie Lakey says:

    I spent an hour earlier this week tracking down rebates from Christmas that I hadn’t received yet.  This reminds me that I never heard back from 1 of the 4 and will have to call again.  One of the companies confirmed that my rebate was approved in November, but there’s been a delay in the payment.  Huh, really?  A delay until I call you?  Why do they have to make it so difficult!?  All for $20?  Hmm.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Rebates are my new favorite thing now too!  I have an all in one printer, so I just scan everything and save it in a folder on my desktop.  Each rebate has it’s own sub folder and I make sure I label it with the company and when I mailed it.  When I get the rebate check, I delete the file.  This week I got my Pfizer $10 rebate and my Arm & Hammer try me free rebate.

  5. Pam Jarrell says:

    i’ve gotten a few rebates sent out with in the last month or so. I love them already. I’ve got one from Menards for 10% of my purchase i made that day, 3.00 from AC Delco from buying sparkplugs for my car, and then found one in the coupon inserts for TRY ME FREE Lysol dual cloths. . SO far only the AC Delco came in, and they go straight in to my “emergency” savings account.

  6. Mary Inman says:

    Has anyone sent in the Try Me Free Rebate that was at the beginning of February??? You could get one of each thing on their list, example- egg scramblers, Banana cheerios, Pizza Pockets… all the items came to just under $30 and you had to buy from Safeway only. I haven’t got my rebate yet and wondered if anyone else has? Its been over 2 months now (2/6/2012) when should you start calling them? How long do rebates normally take?

  7. AMY KEATON says:

    If I’m buying items for a rebate, I will buy those items seperately so I don’t have to worry about returns or other rebates.  I learned this the hard way!

  8. Nicky says:

    Based on what I’ve read it seems like it’s ok to send in a copy of your receipt instead of the actual receipt to receive your this true??  I ask this because I am wanting to get the $15 off $50 P&G rebate and as I was looking through my receipts today I found that one of them that had quite a few P&G products on it was missing because I sent it in to get a separate Physician’s Formula rebate awhile back.  So, since I no longer have the receipt none of those P&G items I purchased can be used towards the $50 :(

    • Anonymous says:

      I would say that it is not ok to send in a copy of your receipt. A lot of rebates say send the original receipt. I’ve been doing rebates since the early 1980′s and I wouldn’t chance a copy of the receipt unless the form states that a copy is ok.

    • brittany s says:

       NOOOO! Make sure that you check what the rebate says. Most of the time you have to send in the original copy. I learned this mistake when I accidentally bought 2 rebate items on the same receipt so I could obviously only get a rebate for one item. I sent in a copy receipt and they wouldn’t accept it.

  9. so far I only got 3 rebates total of $22 :P

  10. just this week I received $100 in rebates! (staples, target, showtime, etc) I usually put all my rebate checks straight into my savings account if possible! I can’t wait until I get my ebates check too!

  11. Anonymous says:

    I got my kellog’s gas rewards rebate back in the mail with a return to sender on it.  It says the address is not deliverable.  I looked at the paper form and it seems to be the same anyones else have this problem?

    • I sent in five myself. The first three I sent the beginning of March and got my cards no problem. The fourth I sent the end of April.  The fifth one I sent the beginning of March and got sent back to me. I called the Kelloggs Consumer Affairs number and they informed me that the promotion has ended as the form states “While supplies Last” and they have run out of cards. Which is why it was sent back as they closed the P.O. Box after they closed the promotion. Hope this helps.

      • Anonymous says:

        Are you kidding? I just bought several boxes of cereal with the $4/4 coupons and mailed in the second rebate request on April 7. I haven’t received the first rebate yet, so I will call and see if I totally wasted my money. Could they not have more cards made?

        • Look at the FB page for I heart the mart.  There is a new address.  Keep your old envelope sealed-will honor by sending checks, inst of cards, if returned mail is postmarked by April ? (I don’t recall exact date).  Call 1-800-962-1413 to get a reference number.  

          I had mine returned the other day.  Grrrr….. I haven’t tried this new process. As others try it, would you post updates, plz?

          • When I was on the phone with Kelloggs about my returned rebate they told me to send it to a different address and gave me a reference number to write on the outside of the envelope. Just sent it out today. We will see what happens. I will keep you all updated.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yup – I called the consumer affairs and they told me the same thing. Bummer – oh well, that’s the risk we take when the offer says “while supplies last.” 

    • Anonymous says:

      When did you mail?

  12. Anonymous says:

    I just received P&G $15 rebate. It came in as a mastercard. There was so much rumors that we would not get this rebate if we used q’s. Well the rebate did not say that and I bought everything with Q’s. I was not about to spend $50 to get the $15. I am so happy!

  13. If you have a Fry’s Electronic store (Houston TX), sometimes you have to get a rebate form from a customer service or anyone working at the store besides the cashiers. The cashiers at the front don’t usually have them, and some don’t print out a rebate receipt. It always pays when you know you are getting an item that has rebate on them to ask a confirmation about the offer while you’re checking out.

  14. sully says:

    i like rebates but i never received my kleenex rebate from staple said checks were send out never got them. But i have gotten other ones that i have send in. :0)

    • Anonymous says:

      I received my Kleenex rebate from Staples about two weeks ago, it came several days after the other ones.

    • Anonymous says:

      I receivved the rebate about 2 weeks ago.

    • Anonymous says:

      My staples rebates seem to take forever to come…but they do eventually come.

      • I always receive my Staples rebates approx. 6 wks. after I enter the info online. Cross my fingers I haven’t had any problems in all the yrs. that I have done them. They always send me emails with tracking info if I need it.

    • I bought the Kleenex Tissues, Avery labels, Staples Copy Paper and the Staedtler Maxum pens on 2/19. I input my info online 2/20 and received all 4 checks on 3/26. I love Staples rebates. All it cost me for these items was the NJ tax of $2.52.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I try to avoid rebates unless I definately need them.  I think those companies obtain my information then sell the info to 3rd parties. That’s how they make money by giving me money back.

  16. Karen says:

    Just received my Pfizer and Dickinson rebates today!!!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Rebates are my new favorite hobby this year!!  I started my own envelope too of the money when it comes in and I keep it separate from the other…then, I just use the cashed money to buy new ones and there is truely no OOP for me!  I know it is not much, but just this year I would guess I have gotten close to $100 just in little grocery items, but it all adds up for this couponer!  And, that isn’t including Staples and Office Depot money (which I also keep separate)!!

  18. Anonymous says:

    I started a savings account for all my rebates late in 2009. I deposit all my rebate checks and now have a little more than $1500. saved. The rebates have slowed down and I had bigger checks when Rite Aid had better monthly rebates. I haven’t even done one with them the last two months. Had some good ones with Staples also in the past. Even my Ebates big fat checks get deposited. I know most want to pay themselves back for the OOP, but I felt I could do this instead and it really did add up.

    • Anonymous says:

      Love this idea!  Gonna be setting a savings account up for my rebates now.  Thanks :)

    • La Chell says:

      I cash my rebates and keep the cash with all of my gift cards that I receive. I save them for birthdays and Christmas. So far I have over $500.00 put away, it is such an easy way to save for the holidays and it is fun to watch my savings grow and grow.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I like the Magic Rebate Mailbox in the picture much better than the Magic Coupon Machine at CVS!!! ;)

    • sully says:

      ja ja ja the magic Coupon machine doesn’t like you dont worry pizzaz youre not the only one i only get candy coupons and i dont even like candies. i think i am going to start eating them maybe then the magic machine will give me something else