Mail-in rebates are something that most people overlook when searching for a great deal. However, if you are diligent and send them in, they can be a great source for free stuff or even a source of income!
Most frequently asked questions:
- What is a Rebate?A rebate is when a manufacturer of a product/item is offering money back, coupons, or a product for promotional purposes.
- Where can I find Mail In Rebate (MIR) Forms? FamilyFrugalFun has a link to a data base of common rebate forms in and we’ll also note a link to the rebate when the “deal” for a particular item is listed on the blog so that you’ll know to apply for the rebate after purchasing that item. (go to the database link and type in “rebate” in the search to find all of the rebates currently available.
Helpful hint: Scan or photocopy the filled out rebate form and ALL supporting documentation (register receipts etc) including the UPC code. I prefer to scan in my information because it requires less space and you can send forward electronic copies of your documentation if you haven’t received your rebate in a timely fashion.
- What are the 2 most common types of Mail in Rebates? Cash Back or Full Refund – Some mail in rebates offer a set amount of cash back for purchasing the items (max value of rebate), others offer a full refund for your purchase price. Read the fine print to learn if you will receive a full refund of the purchase price, or a refund for the purchase price less the coupon used FamilyFrugalFun will note the rebate details when blogging about the deal scenarios.
- Are there any other kinds of Rebates? Free Coupons/Products – Often rebates offer free products in the mail or specialty coupon offers. These require you to purchase a certain amount of products and you receive coupons back in the mail.Check FamilyFamilyFun for the latest up to date rebate information.
- Is there anything special I need to know before applying for a Rebate? Remember that you typically need your original cash register receipt for a rebate. Make sure that you only purchase one mail in rebate item per transaction. If other items are on your receipt be sure you will not need the receipt since you’ll likely have to mail it in for the Rebate. If you are purchasing several items for rebates you may need a second address since some rebates only allow 1 or 2 rebates per household. You may consider a relatives’ address, neighbor etc if they do not typically apply for rebates (i.e. one per household)
Helpful hint: Only deal with reputable, established companies when applying for rebates to avoids scams. Be sure to read the rebate application carefully and follow it EXACTLY. Look for sales and coupons on rebate items, especially try me free offers. This keeps your out of pocket costs low and allows you to purchase more items before your rebate arrives in the mail.
- How can I make money from a Mail In Rebate? Walgreens had a promotion recently for Just for Men hair color. The purchase price was $6.99 and they were offering $7.00 in Register Rewards (see Walgreens Store Guide) when you purchased the Just for Men hair color. I purchased Just for Men at $6.99. I then used a $2.00 off coupon so I only paid $4.99 for the product. I received back $7.00 in Register Rewards. I then applied for the Mail In Rebate. I circled the $6.99 on my original cash register receipt, filled out the one page Mail In Rebate form and enclosed the UPC from the box. A few weeks later I received a check in the mail for $6.99. See the transaction scenario below:Transaction:
- $6.99 Just for Men Purchase Price
- $2.00 Off for my coupon
- $4.99 Total Out of Pocket Expenses (plus sale tax for my state)
- $7.00 Received back in Walgreens Register Rewards via a Catalina Coupon
- $6.99 Received back from Just for Men Rebate
- $8.99 PROFIT
Now, since I don’t even use Just for Men hair color, I will donate the product to my local thrift store which sells items to purchase food for their local food bank to feed the hungry. Another idea would be to add it to a basket of gag gifts for an “over the hill” birthday party for a friend or relative.
Helpful hint: Keep a log of your Mail in Rebates. You can do this with Quicken software, an Excel Spreadsheet or with a notebook. Cross out your entry each time you receive your rebate check and review your log once a month