Mail-in rebates are popular among deal hunters and they are fun and easy to do! 

I would bet everyone loves to get checks in the mail. Sometimes it may only be a few dollars, sometimes more, but everything adds up quickly. During most months of doing rebates, I can count on cashing in $70 - $100. I save them up and once a month I take them to the bank for a big pay out.

Now who wouldn't love to have an extra $100 a month?

The standard return rate of rebates is usually 6-8 weeks. Some people feel that is too long to wait to receive a small check for $5 or less. However once you get them going you will have small $5 checks rolling in like clockwork; several times a week and those tend to start adding up fast.

Rebates are a form of advertisement for some companies.

Companies offer rebates to try to entice you into buying a specific product. In return for buying the product, they will send you a reward, usually a check or a free product coupon. Rebates are very good at encouraging consumers to buy certain products. However, a very small percentage of consumers follows through and mail-in the rebate, to receive their reward. This is a marketing tool companies are aware of and are counting on. It is up to the consumer to read the directions and redeem the rebate correctly.

Like with coupons, being organized is essential to keeping on top of rebates and getting them done.

Once you get a system down, you will quickly become addicted to getting checks in the mail. If you follow a methodical and disciplined approach, you can save a lot of money with mail-in rebates. Just be sure to read the fine print about the requirements and the deal you'll get in return. You will have fun getting even more things free and even making some money on certain offers.

Here are some tips for using mail in-rebate forms that I learned through trial and error. If you don't know the rules, you may miss out on rebate cash or products.

1. Collect all original rebate forms at the counter when you do an in-store purchase. Without the specific, manufacturer-provided mail-in rebate form, you may not be able redeem the deal.

2. Ensure that you have the right rebate forms. There could be different mail-in rebate forms for similar of products. Match the product number or the UPC code of your item to verify the rebate form

3. Read the directions carefully and fill in the rebate form accurately. Any mistake in the form could result in the company denying your rebate. Before sealing the envelope for mailing, double-check that you have included all the things requested in the rebate form. Generally, you need the rebate form, your purchase receipt and original UPC bar code from the product. Review your specific rebate form terms to find the list of things needed for your mail-in rebate

4. Mail the rebate before the deadline. Every rebate has a postmark date noted on the form. If you do not mail it before that date, your rebate will be denied.

5. Keep a copy of everything you mailed. You may need this for any follow-up.

6. Keep track of the mail-in rebates you have submitted. Wait for number of weeks mentioned in the rebate form -- this can be up to 12 weeks -- to receive a rebate check once it is processed. If you did not receive the rebate, contact the rebate processing company using the information printed on the rebate form.

7. Once you receive the check, deposit it without delay. Some checks have a short lifetime of 30 to 60 days.

8. Some companies have limitations on number of rebates you can request per household. If you have used mail-in rebates from the same company or on the same product recently, watch out for such restrictions.

When shopping smart, rebates can be a great way to save money on purchases. To me, real extreme couponing is mail-in rebates. My do-it-yourselfer husband loves a good deal just as much as I do. His favorite shopping place is Menards where mail-in rebate offers are abundant.

Just today, he received a check for $60.00 in the mail for sending in rebate offers for paint and garbage bags. 

So, what do you think of mail in rebates? There are so many products offering mail-in rebates and if you are going to purchase one of these products, why not take advantage of the rebate and get some "mailbox bucks" coming your way. 

 

Kimberly Johns, Debt Management Plan Customer with Leading Provider of Debt Relief, CareOne Services, Inc. Kimberly Johns

Kimberly is enrolled on the CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Kimberly is very active in the Community Forums, some of you may recognize her Community user name; Tiquie. Recently retired, Kim shares how she and her husband manage the financial challenges of living on a fixed income in their home state of Illinois. The John's have found some really creative and fun ways to offset the limitations of a retirement income. Kimberly generously shares smart and tested tips in her A Straight Talk on Debt blog! Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.