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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 of 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
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