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Shopping sales and using coupons are one huge way to save, but adding in mail in rebates can make the game even more fun!
First, everyone wants to know how they work with coupons. Most mail in rebates work beautifully with coupons! You buy the item in the store, use any coupons and discounts you would like to use and then submit your rebate. Must manufacturer’s will reimburse the full value of the rebate no matter the final price paid. Obviously there are exceptions, but look in the fine print of a rebate and as long as it doesn’t mention “minus the value of any coupons used” you’re probably going to have a money maker!
To get better at mail in rebates there are a few things you need to do:
Keep all of your receipts for 4-6 weeks. We are no longer shopping week in and week out for the items we need. You are now buying something and not buying it again for 6 more weeks. What happens if you find a rebate 2 weeks from now for something you bought today. If the rebate window went back a few weeks you would be ready to submit it without even going shopping, you just need the receipt. You don’t need some big organizational system, just shove them all in a big ziploc bag or a drawer. The point is to at least have them!
Ask for duplicate receipts. What happens if you buy 25 things today, submit your rebate for one item and then find another rebate for another item?? If you know that you are purchasing an item today that is for a mail in rebate then always get a back up receipt for the other items. Another reason… most DVD’s and Blu-rays have two UPC symbols and you can actually submit two mail in rebates for them. Often Disney movies will have multiple offers available from various brands. Now you can buy a movie, a box of pasta, and a roll of duct tape and submit two separate mail in rebates.
To get a second receipt just ask the cashier at checkout for a “duplicate receipt”. Most every register has a button they can push and out comes the receipt. It’s doesn’t mean they will know where that button is, but there is always something new to learn!
When it comes time to submit them, I would recommend that you create a way to keep track of them. Either grab a pad of paper or use this spread sheet and keep it where you pay your bills and handle mail. The big things to track:
Length of Processing Time (ex. 4-6 weeks)
Phone Number to Contact with Questions
Remember too, with all mail in rebates you should make a copy before you mail it in. I don’t tend to actually print a copy (that uses ink and costs money) I just scan them and keep the files in a rebate folder on my computer.
One big tip:
If you live in a state that doesn’t require alcohol purchases for mail in rebates then you are about to be a mail in rebate queen! Check out the beer & wine section in most grocery stores and you will find mail in rebates for $5 back when you buy beef and some beer. In select states, you don’t have to buy the alcohol, just the beer. So you are going to buy $5 in beef and then get it all back by rebate!!! There are tons of offers available throughout the year, so keep your eyes open for them.
If you live a not fun, alcohol required state… I can’t really help you on this one. Just grab a mail in rebate and send it to a sweet friend in a more fun state!
Looking for Rebates
Any rebates I find, go into the database here on Southern Savers, so always check there first. Just type in “mail in rebate” and you’ll see the long list. The next place to look is directly on manufacturer websites. In stores the alcohol corner of the store will tend to have most rebate offers.
If you ever find any I don’t have, send me an email and I’ll add it to the database!