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Coupon Abbreviations
  • SC = Store Coupon
  • MC = Manufacturer Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source
  • RP = Red Plum
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble
Coupon Terms
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
  • .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
  • .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
  • EXP = Expiration Date

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Keeping Track of Mail in Rebates

on 10.12.2012 at 12:25pm
6 Comments

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keeping track of mail in rebates

One of my favorite ways to save is to stack store sales and coupons with current mail in rebates.  The tricky part is keeping up with the rebates and making sure you get the reimbursement you are supposed to though!

Here are some tips to keep track of rebates and not miss out.

Finding Rebates

You will find rebate forms everywhere!  Forms will come in the Sunday inserts, inside products, attached to tearpads near products in the stores, and online.  We try to keep any forms we find in the coupon database, so try searching there too.

If you can’t find a rebate, be careful of making copies from friends.  You’ll see in the fine print whether a rebate must be an original or not.

Using them Correctly and On Time

Finding the form can seem easy next to remembering to use it and making sure you use it correctly.  The first thing I would recommend is that you write on the top corner of the form the date you must purchase the items by.  It is usually on the bottom in the fine print.

There are two more important thing to note in the fine print:

  • Can you use coupons and other discounts?
  • Does the purchase need to be made in one transaction or does it allow for multiple receipts?

Sometimes the use of coupons isn’t clearly spelled out.  If that is the case, generally a receipt will not show specifically what coupons were used, so if you are greatly concerned just buy a few more other item you need so that the receipt is at least the value they are looking for.

Submitting A Rebate

This is where is all comes together.  You have lost out if you bought the right products and followed all the rules, only to lose the receipt…

Gather everything the rebate calls for and the rebate form.  Once it is all ready to go in the envelope – stop!  Head to your computer or printer and make a scan or a copy of everything.  I know it sounds like work, but the last thing you want is to mail them your only copies and then have them lose it all.  If you don’t have a scanner, then another easy thing is to just take a picture of what you are submitting.

Once you have some sort of copy, then it’s time to record it for you to remember.  I use a spreadsheet to keep track of the important things I need.  You are welcome to download the form and try it out for yourself.  The biggest part on the spreadsheet is knowing when you mailed, how long you should have to wait (usually in the fine print on the rebate) and some way to contact them if it doesn’t come.

Keep your tracker and all the copies you made in a folder together.  When the rebate comes back mark it on your sheet and then go ahead and throw away the copies.

Tip:  If I know that I am purchasing something in the store that will be for a rebate I always ask the cashier for a duplicate receipt.  They push one button and a second copy will come right out.  This gives me an automatic copy, but also helps me if I later find a different rebate for something else that we bought that day.

Turning Rebates Into Money Makers

My favorite place to buy rebate items is in the drugstores!  When I can pair a rebate purchase with a deal that is giving Extra Care Bucks, plus use coupons… this is a fun day!  This lines up a lot with Procter & Gamble rebates, but doesn’t always work so well with groceries.  For groceries, try to catch the items on BOGO or some sale at least, and again pair in coupons.

Some of you can have a blast with grocery rebates though… select states do not allow for alcohol purchases on rebates to be mandatory.  This is everyone in AL, AR, CT, HI, KY, ME, MD, MO, NC, NJ, NY, OK, UT and WV.  This means that you have a $5 mail in rebate when you buy beef and beer, well you guys don’t have to buy the beer!  You grab $5 in beef and then submit your rebate to get it all back!  Look for these rebates in the beer and wine section of the store.  For all the rest of us not in those states, we have to buy everything the rebate calls for, sorry.

Do you have any other tips for keeping up with rebates?

    • Tim
    • Jeff

      Make a copy, scan, or photo of everything you have to mail in for the rebate including the UPC bar code. One time I had to mail a copy of everything all over again and had to wait an additional six to ten weeks. Also, I’ve had about three rebates in recent years where I had to call the 800 number to notify that my rebate had not arrived in the specified time. Each time the person on the phone said the check got lost in the mail, they would void that check, and issue a new check. It’s very suspicious for that to happen multiple times. It leads me to believe that some of these rebate handlers are witholding rebates until the customers actually call for them (6 to 12 weeks later, of course), in the hope that the customers will forget about them.

    • Carrie_C

      I always use a contrasting pen color – purple, green or blue – to circle the store name, qualifying products and the date on the receipt(s). Since I began to circle the date and store name, it is rare for a rebate to be denied. Whatever you can do to make it obvious you meet the rebate requirements is sure to help.
      The second thing I do is save 6 months of all grocery and drug store receipts. Living in NC and not having to purchase beer or wine for rebates, I may find a rebate with qualifying purchases being okay back to June. If I have a receipt from September that is slightly short of the amount needed, I can check earlier dated receipts to see if I have something that will work. I have 6 envelopes and write the month in pencil on the front. My last group of receipts was from April to September. I threw away the April receipts, erased “April” on the envelope and wrote “October”. Now my 6 envelopes are from May to October.

    • SmoochTheCook

      Another thing to watch for is if it asks for the UPC’s. Boy, that can become a real chore, especially on things like condiments where they’re glued on the bottles really well.
      Great write up! I’d love to see a example of a spreadsheet for keeping it organized! I have 6 rebates I’m working on at the moment, but 3 months ago, I had 14 for a total of $126 back.

    • Victoria Kershner

      One important thing is whether you have to keep the UPC or not. I have forgotten to take the UPC off things and then I miss out on the rebate. Sometimes it’s really annoying to get the upc off too.

      Also, if you have to have the original receipt or not. I do try to get a duplicate in the store, but I always make a copy of it if I have to send off the actual receipt.
      In general, I have had really good experiences with my rebates. Ever since I’ve kept track of them, I have received every one of them. There were a couple times when I had to “break” the rules because my receipts overlapped and such and I still got the rebates, just took longer. I’ve only called once and they were very apologetic and sent me the rebate and extra coupons.
      There was one time that I thought I wasn’t going to get the rebate as I went on their website and they said they had too many submissions but I did eventually get it probably a month later than I was supposed to. So don’t give up! As long as you stay organized, it will benefit you.

      One more thing: If I don’t usually buy the products, unless it’s a *really* good deal, I don’t do the rebate. For example, the Olay rebates I rarely do because if I can’t easily get up to the amount I need it’s just not worth it. I try to combine my coupons and ecbs at CVS for rebates like that otherwise, it’s just not worth it to me.

    • karen

      what do you do when EVEN your bank won’t except the rebate check? Just had my bank tell me that since it wasn’t made out to me directly, it wasn’t use-able. I’m referring to the Totino’s grocery cash rebate……