Are Rebates Worth It?

Sure, that new camera you bought advertises a pretty substantial rebate, but when will you find the time to fill out the form, cut up the box, and wait in line at the post office? And after you've jumped through all the hoops that are required, will you actually receive the rebate in the end? As for groceries, can the little rebates really add up?

Truth is, there is a lot of savings to be had in rebates; sometimes the rebate is even worth more than the item. And once you get organized and develop a system, sending them in isn't as hard as it may seem. Here are some simple tips to make rebates work for you.

Learn the supersave secrets of savvy shoppers.

  • Watch out for rebates, in the grocery store, on big ticket items, and in the weekly circulars that come in the newspaper-and don't forget you'll often find them online.
These websites will save you money.
  • Instead of dropping receipts in the abyss of your purse or leaving them in the grocery bag, carry a small pouch or organizer where you can keep them neat and available.
  • Clip the proof of purchase before stashing your groceries or playing with a gadget. Then sit down with the paperwork right away. Keep a rebate kit in the kitchen drawer; place scissors, pens, envelopes, stamps, and mailing labels in a plastic baggie so it's all available and you're ready to work.
Get organized! Here are 52 easy ways.
  • If you forget to pick up a refund form in the store, never fear. The manufacturer's Website will generally have printable forms.
  • For high-value refunds, photocopy the completed form before you send it in. File the copy away with your kit (or in your organizer) in case the rebate doesn't show up and you need to contact the manufacturer.
  • Keep a list in with your photocopies of the rebates you've sent in, complete with the estimated time the company gives for the arrival of the check, and numbers to call if it doesn't show up within that amount of time.

Have you had success with rebates? Tell us your story!

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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.