Today, as I was filling out a few rebate forms, I decided to share my thoughts on rebates and let you know the system that works for me. I will submit for some rebates, but I am not willing to jump through a thousand hoops just to get $1.00 back.
I have three file folders within one hanging folder that I use for rebates: Rebates - To Do, Rebates - In Process, and Rebates - Pending. Whenever I print off a rebate form or find a rebate program that I will participate in, I fill out the informational part of the form, name, address, etc. and drop it in my Rebates - To Do folder.
I then put the name of the item on an index card that is on my bulletin board. Currently the card has, "glade candles, huggies diapers, organic pet food, olay stuff" written on it. These are the products that I currently have "Rebates - To Do" for. The index card just reminds me not to throw away a receipt that contains a purchase for any of these items before checking to see if it works with the rebate.
When I have a receipt that applies to a rebate, I go ahead and pull the rebate form from the "To Do" folder, fill it out completely, copy it all, place the date sent at the top of the copy and put the copy in my "Rebates - Pending" folder and go drop it in my mailbox for pickup. This works most of the time unless it requires more action, then I use the "In Process" folder.
My "Rebates - In Process" folder contains those rebates that need more than one purchase to send in. Right now it has my Caregivers Marketplace information ($.75 back per pack for Huggies), organic pet food forms (buy 10, get 1 bag free) and the DVD circles from the backs of Raisin Bran (need 5 for a free DVD). With Caregivers Marketplace, you need to purchase at least 5 items before sending in the form so I just keep paperclipping my receipts to the form until I have what I need and then I follow the above steps for copying and mailing. The pet food requres UPCs from the bags of food so as I clip those, I attach them to the form and as I finish a box of cereal, I cut the circle and clip it to the form.
None of this is rocket science but this is what keeps it quick and simple for me. With this system, I know exactly what I need to save, where it is in the process and then I don't lose track of what should be coming in the mail. Today, all I had to do was sit down for about 10 minutes and finish off some rebates to get them ready to mail tomorrow. For 10 minutes time, I will receive: 1 DVD (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) from Raisin Bran, two $5 checks from Glade candle purchases, $13.48 from Olay quench purchases, and $5.25 from Caregivers Marketplace = $28.73 + a DVD!
The icing on the cake is that the cereal was free using double coupons and a killer sale, the candles were $.99 each after sale/coupon, the olay was BOGO and the diapers were bought on sale with a coupon and all of these items are ones that I WOULD HAVE PURCHASED ANYWAY.
I'm not going to purchase a product that I don't/won't use just to use a coupon to get a rebate to almost cover the cost of the item that I wouldn't have purchased in the first place :-) I'm not that girl.