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I think having a lower price is a better deal, but sometimes rebates offer huge discounts. When we joined Cingular a few years ago, they had a great rebate deal on a phone that would make it free. It had the features we wanted from a cell phone so we bought them.

The problem? We didn’t redeem the rebate.

So while we got a decent deal, we left some money on the table. We fell into the trap of rebates: we were too lazy to complete the paperwork. This time when we purchased purchased new phones for our Sprint plan, we went to best buy to get an instant rebate.

Why Do Retailers Offer Rebates?

Retailers offer rebates to get more sales, plain and simple. They come out ahead because:

  1. Most people are too busy (or lazy) to complete the rebate forms.
  2. It’s a wonderful way to get information on the demographics of their customers.

Here are Some Tips to Optimize Rebate Programs:

  • Read the rebate conditions. See if you will get actual money back or a coupon for another of their products. It still happens time to time. You also ant to see how much paperwork is due. Is it simply mailing a form out with receipt or does it involve more legwork?
  • Send the rebate through certified mail or get a delivery confirmation. You don’t want to do the process more than once. This proves that they did receive the paperwork.

Lynnae at Being Frugal takes great advantage of rebate programs from Walgreens and Rite-Aid. Her tactic involves being organized and only buying what she needs.

I have a system to make sure I get the products I need and never forget to submit my receipts for reimbursement. On Sunday afternoons, I sit down with the paper to make my grocery list. While flipping through the ads, I pay special attention to the Rite Aid and Walgreens ads. (If you don’t get the paper, ads for both stores can be found online at the store websites).

If you're interested in maximizing your rebates, please check out the rest of her post.

Thoughts on Rebates and Discounts

I'm curious to see what you think. How often do you use rebates? Who has the best rebate programs?

Photo Credit: mortenprom

About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

1 comment add your comment

  1. A lower price is easier than a rebate. A huge percentage of people LOSE the rebate form/card/whatever, which is what the retailer and manufacturer counts on its pricing business model.

    Negotiate for the lower price up front, it’s much better.

    BTW, we’re collecting input from women on motherhood and equal pay if you’d like to pitch in! The topic seems to be dominated by men so far interestingly enough.

    Best,

    Sam