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How To Rebate Like a Pro

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Rebating is a great way to try new products and to stretch your budget. Here’s what you need to know to grow into a successful rebater:

Difficulty: Average
Time Required: Time Varies from Rebate to Rebate

Here's How:

  1. Find rebates.
    When you are new to rebating, knowing where to look for rebates is often the first challenge to overcome. Consider the following sources for a steady supply of rebates:
    • Sunday coupon inserts
    • Store Displays
    • Manufacturer websites
    • Store ads
    • Product Packages

  2. Shop for rebates.
    Rebate offers are usually very specific about the products that you have to buy in order to qualify for a refund, and this makes careful shopping a must for any rebater. Review any rebate offer before you go to the store to ensure that you understand all of the rebate requirements. Then, bring a copy of the offer with you, and use it as your shopping list. Every item you buy needs to match the rebate exactly in size, scent, flavor, etc.

  3. Fill out the rebate form.
    Attention to detail is also very important when it comes to filling out the rebate form. Before you write anything on the form, read through the rebate offer again, and look for any instructions that apply to the way the form has to be filled out. For example, most rebates will specify that you print all information. Here are several other points to consider:
    • Does the offer need to be filled out in pen?
    • Does it require a street address, or will a PO Box work?
    • Does it have to be written in all caps?
    • Does it require you to include an e-mail address or telephone number?

  4. Prepare supporting materials.
    For your rebate to be accepted, you’ll need to submit proof of purchase. This will usually include the cash register receipt with the item circled, but may also include UPCs or other items. Here are several details to look for within the rebate terms:
    • Are there things that need to be circled or written on the receipt?
    • Can you send a copy of the receipt, or is the original required?
    • Do you need to cut out UPCs labels, or can you just write the numbers down on the receipt or the rebate form?

  5. Finalize your submission.
    To ensure that your rebate doesn’t get rejected, it’s important to give your submission a final check before mailing it off. Here are several questions to ask yourself:
    • Does the rebate call for a certain envelope size?
    • Does the envelope need to be addressed by hand?
    • Have you written the address correctly?
    • Have all of the required items made it into the envelope?
    • Have you completed every line on the rebate form?
    • Is everything legible?
    • Are you submitting prior to the deadline?

  6. Submit your rebate.
    Unfortunately, submitting your rebate isn’t as simple as dropping it in the mailbox – at least not if you’re serious about getting your refund. To protect yourself against lost mail and other potential complications, make a copy of all of your submission materials, including the envelope.

    It's also a good idea to make a note of how long it’s supposed to take for your rebate to be returned, and of the address or phone number that should be used for inquiries (if one is provided). Then, once that's complete, stick your rebate in the mail, and wait for your money to return to you.

  7. Track your rebate.
    If you plan to do a lot of rebating, it’s important to develop a system for keeping track of them. This could be as simple as a folder where you store rebate copies and information, or it could be something more involved like a computer spread sheet that tracks everything from submission dates to your year-to-date rebate savings.

    Whatever you choose, just make sure you have everything you need to dispute a rejected rebate or to resubmit a lost submission. Even a veteran rebater runs into the occasional problem, and it's nice to know that you have the materials that you need to resolve them.

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