Friday, January 30, 2015

Rebates in Hand

 Last week  talked about adding promotions to your coupon and rebate savings.  This week, I've received quite a few questions about how to handle and manage all the rebates that are available, once you have then in hand.  

My rebates process is organized.  I keep all rebate forms in one envelope.  I put them in order of their expiration date.  This way I work on the ones I need to file first.  If I happen to have receipts that match a later rebate, I file it but only after checking the faster approaching dates first.  Generally I’ll have up to 15 rebates in my “To File” envelope.  

My second envelope is for all my receipts.  This is critical for all rebaters.  You need to treat any grocery store, or convenience store receipt like it’s already cash.  Once you see the value in a white grocery store receipt, filing will become easier.  I keep receipts the same way, in order of date issued.  The reason for this is because some rebates will be good for any matching receipt for a three month period, some for only three weeks.  Keeping them in order keeps me from accidentally filing something out of date. 

I do have one trick with receipts, I fold over a month’s worth and keep them gathered.  For example, it is currently January.  So I have December Receipts in the front of my receipt envelope, all folded together.  Most rebates for Superbowl are out now start January 1.  So these are not valuable unless I find something still good for December.  No reason to even look at those if I do not need to see them. 

I keep all my filing envelopes and my freebie return address labels with my rebate things.  I keep my Magnifying headset-yes, I have a dorky headset so I can read that teeny tiny print!  And, I keep a book of stamps nearby.  My method of filing is very regular.  I set an alarm on my phone to remind me to file weekly.  My kids buy junk food at the c-store, my husband buys lunches at the deli, and snack foods from time to time.  Finally, I have all my grocery store receipts.  You may be thinking, “Gee, how many does this lady have?”  I have as many as I can file!

My Rebate Magnifiers
When I shop, I will commonly have 3-5 transactions giving me qualifying receipts.  I do this by shopping the smallest qualifier first.  Usually this is a produce rebate.  Let’s say I have $4 off oranges.  I will buy jus those, and get a receipt.  I’ll find a line that is short, and I almost always shop slower days.  Next I’ll do a salty snack rebate.  I may not get out of line.  If no one else is checking out, I’ll just lay down the division bar and do two checkouts. The cashiers may think I’m odd, but I now have two qualifying rebates and have not even shopped yet!  Then I will tie my bags and do my shopping. 

If I have another small rebate for the week, I’ll check it out first, then the total order.  This is so I do not get busy putting groceries on the belt and forget.  
I also keep a reminder on my phone for ordering rebates.  I order one week before the end of each month.  In case something came up, and I need to know about it. Do this regularly-like part of your job.  It will ensure you do not get off track.   I’ll keep an electronic list of all the forms I order so I know what to expect in the mail.  

All Missouri residents in our shopping area should be filing rebates on a regular basis.  It’s free money!  And all Missouri locations and forms are No Beer Purchase Required, meaning  it saves you a bundle. 

Good Luck with rebates this year!

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