Rebating Like a Pro-How to Get Money Back in the Items You Purchase

If you could be getting cash back for the things you purchase, wouldn’t you be doing it? Well, if you never submit a rebate form, you’re not getting all the savings you can get. Rebates can be extremely valuable – much more so than a coupon, and they often give you full-size items for free. But if you don’t know how to rebate like a pro, you might not get the cash you deserve. Here are some tips.

Find Rebates

You can’t claim a rebate if you don’t know about it, and there’s not always a big sticker on the package letting you know. Lots of rebates are “hidden,” and you’ll need to dig a little deeper to find them. In the Sunday paper, scan all the coupon inserts, and look for rebate offers/forms. Look at in-store displays, in addition to packaging. Search the website RebatePlace.com to find rebates. If you make a big purchase, Google the product manufacturer or name “+ rebate,” and see if you come up with anything.

Shop for Rebates

Once you’ve identified a rebate offer you want to take advantage of, it’s time to go shopping. This is the most crucial part of rebating – if you buy the wrong product, you’ll get nothing back. People very often buy the wrong products because they don’t pay close enough attention to the requirements. Read the rebate offer very carefully, and make sure you buy the exact product that qualifies – make sure it’s the right type, size, count, etc. Also, check the dates on the rebate. You must buy the item within the specified time frame, or it will not count.

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Submit for Rebates

When you get home, you’ll need to fill out the rebate form before sending it in. This is also very important. If you leave out any information or fill the form out incorrectly, your submission can be voided, and you’ll be ineligible for the rebate. Read the instructions carefully – does it have to be written in pen? Will rebates be delivered to PO Boxes? Have you answered every question? Next, gather the documentation required. This is usually the original copy of your receipt, and perhaps the UPC label from the packaging. Does the rebate instruct you to circle or highlight the product on your receipt? Finally, make sure you mail the rebate to the address listed. Does the submission have to be in a certain size envelope?

Track Rebates

Before sealing your envelope, make photocopies of everything – your receipt, the UPC label, the rebate form you filled out, and anything else. If the company claims never to have received your rebate request, you won’t have any proof if you didn’t make a copy of it. Make note of how long the rebate will take to arrive, which is usually several weeks, and make a note of this on your calendar, or compile a list of all the rebates you submit in a spreadsheet. This way you’ll remember to contact the company if you do not receive your rebate within that time frame.

Cash Rebates

The most fun part – get your rebate check in the mail; take it to the bank; and cash it! To be on the safe side, make a photocopy of the check, and hold onto any check information sheets or other paperwork you receive.

Lucy S works for Marketing Resources a rebate management company serving large corporation nationwide.

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