Thrifty Thursday: Getting items for free or close to free using rebates!

Before I started using coupons, I thought that rebates were basically for high dollar electronics purchases, software purchases, or cell phones.  That had been the extent of my rebate “experience.”  I had no idea that I could submit rebates for a variety of products that I purchase and use regularly or that I could end up getting those items for free or close to free or that sometimes they would even be “money makers” So, if you’re wondering if some of the rebate offers I’ve posted (or that you may have seen posted on other sites) are “legit” I can assure you that they are and that those rebate checks here and there add up quickly!

Here are some tips to help you if you are new to using rebates:

Save rebate forms ~ Many times, there are rebates that match up with items that I am already getting for free or closer to free with Extra Care Bucks or Register Rewards at CVS or Walgreens. Every time I see a rebate form in the inserts or find one on tear pads on displays in stores, I grab it and hang on to it – you never know when it might come in handy!

Organization is the key ~ When I submit a rebate, I usually scan or make a copy of the receipt, rebate form, and any UPCs I may have submitted for my records. I hang onto it until I get my rebate check back. Typically, I don’t have any “issues” when I submit rebates, but every now and then I will get a letter or e-mail telling me that something is missing and then I have proof that it was submitted.

There is also a great website that you can use to keep track of your rebates. It is called Rebate Tracker and it allows you to enter your rebate details (including submission address, the date you purchased the item and where you purchased it, and the date you submitted the rebate form). You can also update the status once you receive the rebate. In addition, you can keep track of out of pocket expenses and track how much you receive as “reimbursement.”

Is it “worth it”?  My criteria for determining whether a rebate offer is “worth it” may be different from others.  I will not buy a product that is “free after rebate” if it’s not something I really want and need because I am still having to put money out up front.  I typically only take advantage of rebate offers if the item I am getting will be free or close to free up front (meaning I can use a coupon, Extra Care Bucks, or Register Rewards to offset the cost), which makes it a “money maker” or if it is for an item I would be buying anyway because it is for something we want or need.

Using your rebate money ~ People also have different uses for their rebate money.  When I get a rebate check, it goes into our savings for our 100% Cash Christmas.  How do you use your rebate money?

Do you have a Thrifty Thursday idea to share?  Don’t forget to link up below!

For more Thrifty Thursday ideas, check out Coupon Teacher, Madame Deals, and Life as a Mom


  1. Dana @ The Coupon Challenge says:

    Great post! I did one last week about what I do with my rebate money. We also have a 100% cash Christmas. I budget for it all year, but we also use the money we make at our annual yard.

  2. Post Grad says:

    I love rebates! I never knew you could actually make money on them before I started couponing. I recently set up my IRA, so I'm splitting the rebate money between that and my new furniture fund, hehe.
    Thanks for the tips!