Make Sure You Get that Rebate

by Miranda Marquit · 2 comments

Stack of rebates

One of the ways that you can spend less on certain purchases is to buy items that come with rebates. A rebate can save you anywhere from 50 cents to $20 or more on an item.

Getting that rebate isn’t always straightforward, though, and you could miss out if the paperwork is lost. Here are some things to remember as you take advantage of rebates:

Understand the Terms

First of all, you need to make sure that you understand the terms of the rebate. What do you need to do in order to qualify? Most of the time, you’ll need to fill out a form and include a receipt. Sometimes, you’ll need to do more. Make sure that you carefully follow all of the directions — from getting your paperwork turned in well before the expiration date to including all of the requested information.

If you don’t follow all of the instructions exactly, you could find your rebate claim rejected. That can be very disappointing, especially if you’re expecting a hefty amount back.

Keep Copies of Documents

When I had more insulation added to our attic, it was done under a rebate program with the gas company. There was paperwork to fill out and mail in. However, there was only one copy of every form. What happens if I send my only copy in, and it gets lost in the mail?

I made a photocopy of the paperwork before submitting it, so that I’d have all the necessary information and forms, in the event that they were lost. Luckily, nothing went wrong and I received my rebate within six to eight weeks, as promised. But it’s a good idea to have a backup. If the company has the only copy of the completed forms, or the only copy of the receipt, and these items are lost, then you really don’t have any recourse. Make copies, and you stand a better chance of getting your rebate in the end.

Are Rebates Worth It?

One of the big questions that many people ask is whether or not rebates are worth the trouble. By the time you fill out the paperwork and buy the postage to mail it in, it might not be worth it for 50 cents or for a couple dollars. However, it might be worth your time for a larger amount.

Another option is to consider using a rebate site like Ebates. There, you can easily receive rebates just for shopping. And you don’t have a lot of tedious forms to fill out. A number of companies are making it easy by switching to an electronic system where all you have to do is go online and enter some information to receive your rebate.

Next time you’re lured by a rebate check, consider what you’re really saving; then, make a choice about whether or not the rebate is worth the effort to you.

Do you think rebates are worth it?

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  • MoneyNing says:

    Speaking of rebates, I realize that I haven’t even noticed a rebate for anything I’ve purchased for the past few years, and it’s simply because I just don’t buy that much stuff anymore. The awesome news is that I don’t miss those stuff at all. Score!

  • Levi @ says:

    I like using the rebate websites but you have to be careful not to spend more because of the site. Just because something is a good deal doesn’t mean it is a must have. The electronic form of rebates is much easier than having to fill out a form and mail it in.

    I remember buying a video card and mailing in a rebate, which took 6 months to arrive. I forgot all about the rebate and was surprised by the check that arrived.

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