Why do Rebates?We all know the basics of being a 'smart shopper'. Look through all of the sale papers to find deals on things you need, then use coupons in combination with the sales to make some even sweeter deals. I have been able to diaper my son for 1/3 of what it cost for my daughter. However, times are still hard and money is still tight. Adding rebates to your shopping routine can help ease some of that financial squeeze.
One thing I have not done as diligently as I should have is sending in for rebates. You have to save the receipt, find the necessary forms, get it mailed off before the cut off date, and make sure you followed all the rules about exactly which products to buy. Sometimes, you even have to buy those products at specific stores! After watching many of my coupon friends send off rebate after rebate though, and watching their savings pile up, I came up with a little system to make things a little easier for me..
Once you start paying attention, you will realize that rebates are everywhere, you just have to pay attention. There might be a rebate advertised on product packaging, on a commercial, on brand websites, facebook, twitter, and any other number of places. Pay attention to store commercials, ads, and websites as well, since many rebates are done by the store. Publix has many rebates throughout the year.
Here are some websites I have found with some rebate lists as well:
Northern Cheapskate List- P&G back to school rebate found here
How to Organize for your Rebate
Begin by obtaining a rebate form (usually printable, but sometimes found on package or on a tear pad). Look at what they require. Do they require UPCs? Original Receipt? Both? How do you need to send in the rebate? Online? Mail it in? Find a list of participating products or product information, if rebate is for rebate off of one specific item. Do you have to shop at a particular retailer? Make your list using the participating products, and try to find sales and coupons for those items, to help you get the best deal possible.
When you have made your list, go ahead and put the rebate form in an envelope, and put the correct address information on the front, and your stamp (if mailed in). After you are done shopping put the receipt immediately in the envelope. While you are putting everything away, go ahead and cut UPCs if necessary, and put them in the envelope as well. After you have everything put away, seal it up and drop it in the mailbox right then. This way, you won't give yourself a chance to lose receipts, throw away packaging with UPCs, or forget to send it in on time.
The Math at Work
My family loves Tennessee Pride sausage, and it is the ONLY kind we will buy. It is the only brand that tastes even halfway like the fresh sausage we used to get before moving to Florida. It seldom goes on sale and hardly ever has a coupon out. Finding a sale when there is a coupon out? Not going to happen. Normal price for it at Publix is $3.49 per one pound package. With the current ConAgra Back to College Rebate at Publix, I saved $10 when I bought $30 worth of participating products (my sausage included). I bought 10 for a total of $34.90 (I could have only bought 9 and still been over my limit). Since Winn Dixie is a competitor for my store, I used a Winn Dixie $5 off a $30 purchase coupon found in the Enjoy the City coupon books. After the rebate, I will have only paid $19.49 for my 10 sausage, or $1.95 each (56% savings)
. Not bad, considering they weren't on sale, and I didn't have any coupons for the sausage.