Monday, January 19, 2009

How Do I...

... do rebates? I thought it might be helpful to do some "how-to" posts about a lot of the behind-the-scenes things I do related to couponing, rebating, shopping etc. So today's post is all about the lovely world of rebates. And by the way, the pic above has absolutely nothing to do with rebates, but its just so darn'd funny!

I love, love, love rebates! Well, if you've been reading my blog for any amount of time, you've probably realized I love anything that's gonna make me some money. Rebates are a great way to do this. If you're not familiar with rebates, in a nutshell, you buy a certain product and then submit some key information to the company to get all or a percentage of your money back. Its a beautiful thing. You can find rebate forms in the newspapers, online or sometimes from tearpads found in stores.

Most rebates are limit one per household. You may have noticed I'll often do a rebate more than once. I can do this because I submit one at my address, one at my boyfriend's address and sometimes if I'm feeling spunky, one at my parent's address. Many times there will be coupons available for rebate items as well, so they become a moneymaker (ie. product is $10, use $2 coupon but get back $10 rebate check = $2 profit). And sometimes (when the stars align and the heavens smile down upon us), stores will have a rebate deal as well. Ooh!

So for example, let's look at the Orajel deal going on at Walgreens during January. Let's say you walked into Walgreens and bought Orajel for $8.50 (may actually be a little more). You could use the $1 coupon that came out in the 10/26 SS coupon insert and you'd pay $7.50 for the Orajel. Then you'd happily go home and submit your receipt information online at Walgreens' website for the Walgreens rebate of $8.50. Voila - $1 profit! But wait, we're not done yet. You'd then clip out the Orajel manufacturer's rebate from the 10/26 SS and mail off your receipt and UPC code to Orajel to get your rebate from them as well! So you'd get back $8.50 from Orajel and $8.50 from Walgreens. This is my favorite kinda rebate - a double dipper!

(EDITED to add - Walgreens no longer does rebates this way. Boo! But Rite Aid still does, so double dip to your heart's content there)

My rebate process:
  1. Shop - my favorite part, obviously!
  2. Enter receipt info at Walgreens or Rite Aid if applicable and wait for rebates to clear with them. If this is the only rebate I'm doing for this item (ie. rebate at WAG only, no manufacturer's rebate), I file the receipts into envelopes that I label "Walgreens Rebates", "DBF's Walgreens Rebates", etc. I hold onto these receipts until I get the rebate money back. If I'm also doing a manufacturer's rebate, then...
  3. Collect UPC and receipt for item, as well as rebate form if there is one (I usually keep all this together after shopping so nothing gets lost).
  4. Fill out forms and make a scanned copy of everything. I used to make a copy and have my printer print it out, but that used up tons of ink. I save them in a special folder on my computer and name them something clear, ie. "Scrubbing Bubbles - my address" or "Orajel - DBF's address"
  5. Enter the rebates into my Savings spreadsheet. I keep track of the date I mailed the rebate, the product, store I bought it at, amount of rebate, price of product, profit, how long I have to wait (ie. 6-8 weeks) and which address its coming to.
  6. Mail rebate out. Check mailbox five times a day awaiting the return of my money (I am an impatient woman)
  7. Once the rebate checks come in, I check off the rebates on my spreadsheet so I can keep track of which ones are still outstanding. I also delete the scanned copy of the rebate info.

That's all folks. I'd love to hear what you do!


Precious said...

I do just about what you do EXCEPT I only check the mailbox once. TeHe!

I also track my rebates with Rebate software.

I file my rebate forms by the month they expire in a file box and am sure to check them whenever I got to the store to see if one can be used for a purchase.

Jamie said...

I posted earlier this week on rebating. Check it out here Make Money with Rebates!. I pretty much do the same thing you do. I even used the same Walgreen's example in my post! I'm going to start submitting rebates for my mom when I have extra receipts. I told her it would be my way to pay her back for all the coupons she sends me!

frugalsuz said...

Oh jeez, I'm sorry about that! Didn't mean to steal your thunder! I remember seeing your post but I don't think I read it all the way through (probably on my way back out for more CVS trips). That's too funny we both used the Orajel rebate - guess its just a great example! :)

Jamie said...

Nah,I didn't even think of it like that!I thought it was funny...