Rebates are a great alternative to coupons when it comes to saving money. They can lead to free or discounted products, plus it feels great to have companies paying you to buy their products.
You do need, however, to be careful when it comes to using rebates. If you don’t follow the rules closely, you won’t get anything in return.
Here are some tips to ensure you get your check in the mail:
Keep track of due dates. If a store is advertising a rebate special, be sure you can complete the required actions in the allotted time. If a specific product is offering a rebate, make sure the package isn’t outdated and advertising an expired rebate.
Don’t trash the packaging. Before you toss any boxes or containers, make sure you don’t need an additional proof of purchase besides your receipt. Some rebates require specially marked products and you may be required to send in additional information. It’s also wise to make copies of your materials before mailing them off.
Read the fine print. Some rebates allow the use of coupons, which means you may make more money than you originally spent. I’ve recently taken advantage of a Neutrogena rebate that allowed coupons. However, in some cases coupons or other discounts are prohibited. Know the rules before you head to the register.
Pay attention to your shopping cart. If you have multiple items that are eligible for rebates remember to pay for them separately and get separate receipts. Generally reproductions of receipts are not accepted for rebates.
Don’t let your check expire. Once you complete your rebate successfully and get your check in the mail, open it and look for an expiration date. Often rebate checks are only valid for a short time.
Follow-up if you don’t receive your check. Usually there is a phone number for questions and concerns listed on the rebate form or product packaging. If you don’t receive your check in the specified number of weeks listed, don’t hesitate to call and follow up. The company could be experiencing high demand that has set them back or there could be a problem with your request.
Only buy products you really want or need. Rebates are a great way to try new products for little or no cost, but keep the worst-case scenario in mind — no check. If the product will put any hardship on your financial situation, reconsider the purchase.
It’s important to look for rebates everywhere. You can find cash-back opportunities for just about anything. In the past year I’ve received checks in the mail for purchasing wine, beef, makeup and a variety of Proctor & Gamble products. Keep an eye out for specially marked packages, tags, stickers and retail advertisements altering you to rebate promotions.
Share your tips and experiences with rebates in the comments section below.