Saturday, January 5, 2008

Are Rebates Worth It?

I really like rebates! Coupons are great, but rebates are where you save the most money. Rebates can be a little more challenging than coupons. You have to be organized and be able to follow very specific directions or else you won't get the check in the mail. However, with a little thought and a little effort, you can reap great rewards.

Let's see how I did in 2007, and see if rebates really are worth it!

I cashed in on 105 rebates on a whole variety of products, ranging from computer software and cough & cold medicines to dental care products and hair care products to light bulbs and snack food. The grand total that I got back from manufacturers and stores in 2007: $383.24! (Yes, I really did get those checks in the mail...because I followed the directions, bought the correct products in the correct quantities at the right time and met the rebate deadlines.) Wow! To me, nearly $400 is definitely more than worth it.

However, combining sale prices and coupons with rebates is where you save even more. In fact, in 2007, on the 105 products for which I used rebates and was able to also use sale prices and/or store and/or manufacturer coupons, I spent $49.47. The total retail value? $705.84! That's a 93% savings. Awesome!

Many of these products I was able to use for myself or give them to friends or family. There were still more things that I got for free or nearly free that we weren't able or didn't need to use ourselves. So, I gave those things to charity.

What's great about combining coupons and rebates is that you can often make a small profit. For example, last year I bought a tube of Colgate toothpaste at Rite Aid.

Regular price: $2.99
Sale price: $2.49
Coupon: $1.50
Rebate: $2.49
Price paid at store (including tax): $1.11
Total price spent (after rebate check came): -$1.38 (Yes, that's a negative number!)
Savings: 144%

I actually don't like Colgate, so I gave it to charity. Someone who needed it got free toothpaste. I earned $1.38.

If you are wondering about how the cost of stamps factors in to my rebate savings, I actually don't consider it. Most of the rebates I claim can be submitted online, so I don't even pay for postage to request the rebate money.

So, yes, rebates are worth it! Give them a try this year.

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