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Rebate Central

Rebates 101

Mail in Rebates (MIRs) are a great way to get items for free and potentially make money. Many people tend to shy away from MIRs. Here are a few tips to make them easier.

  • Make a filing system to keep your receipts organized. Some MIRs cannot be completed all at once, such as the Unilever deal. Therefore, you should make a folder assigned to all of the receipts pertaining to the Unilever MIR. Amee suggests setting up a file folder with labels such as Rite Aid and Walgreens. Rite Aid, for example, allows you to submit all of the rebates you have for the month at one time.
  • You also want to make sure you read the form and gather all of the necessary items. Many MIR’s require an ORIGINAL receipt, a UPC code cut from the product and a street address.
  • Complete the simple MIRs as soon as you get home from the store. Fill out the form, circle the appropriate item on the receipts, cut out the UPC code, address and stamp the envelope when you get back from the store. Otherwise, you may tend to forget or lose one of the items. As mentioned previously, for the more complex MIRs a folder is your best option.
  • Another thing to be aware of is that you should only purchase one item for a single rebate per transaction. Why you ask? Well, remember that MOST rebates require an ORIGINAL receipt. If you have two rebate items purchased on the same receipt and they both need an original receipt, you will have to choose the highest paying one.

So you may be wondering how you turn rebates into a moneymaker. Basically, use coupons on the items and wait for a sale. Let’s use a recent Olay Rebate for an example. For this particular rebate, Olay offered a $15 rebate on the purchase of any two items of a particular line. Therefore, it did not matter that my total money spent was not $15. I also used coupons on the items making this deal even nicer! Now, this doesn’t happen often! Many times the offer of a rebate is good on the actual purchase price. However, you can always use coupons to make the potentially free item a moneymaker!

Mark your calendar for when the MIR must be mailed by. Read the forms carefully. Most rebates will have a set time in which you can purchase the items and then a later mail in by date.

Lastly, and MOST importantly, the rule for rebates is to only purchase the items for the MIR if you CAN afford to cover the initial out of pocket expense. Most MIRs take 6-8 weeks to arrive. As you can see, the Olay deal took several months! I had the money to cover it though, so I did the deal. You never want to put yourself in the hole waiting for a MIR!

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