Saturday, March 31, 2012

Rebates and Freebies, How-To and When-To


I've got a picture here of just a few items I've submitted for rebates. There are different blogs and websites you can look on to find suggestions but most "Try Me Free" items are found at the store with stickers on them with the needed rebate information. It takes just a keen eye to find them as you go through the store. Another common way to come across rebate offers is in the newspaper within the ads and coupons.

Pros of Rebates:
Free stuff!
Surprises in the mail
Ease (some are done online and through paypal)

Cons of Rebates:
Having to pay the money out of pocket and wait several weeks
You don't get reimbursed for taxes
Sometimes the guidelines are vague and can be hard to understand
Having to deposit checks often (I hate it-I'm a direct deposit/online bill pay kinda gal)

Hints and Tips:
-Make sure you're getting something you actually want and would be willing to pay for in case you missed something and you don't actually get the rebate!
-Check and double check all requirements before sending in
-Pick and choose (some require you to jump through a dozen hoops while some simply require a receipt or upc with a form).
-Keep track of your rebate information such as how much you are expecting, when it was submitted, where it was sent to, how long you expect for it to take. If you haven't seen it after the expected timeframe, you can contact the company you sent the rebate request to.

Familiar Rebate Programs:

Staples: Staples often offers rebates, I only go for those that make for free items. I've gotten tissues, paper (white and color), address label sheets, and photo printing paper). They have an "Easy Rebate" program that really is easy-just take the receipt they give you and enter the codes on their website. Turnaround time is pretty quick and you can select a check or paypal.

Walgreens: These can be submitted online or via mail. I've done 3 rebates with them since January and haven't gotten a check once :( Hopefully soon, technically they're still within the 6-8 weeks.

Rite Aid: I believe theirs is also online...I've only done 1 with them and their turnaround time is faster than average.

I sign up for a lot of "freebies" or samples. and often have free samples they'll ship to you. Other samples I sign up for are listed as limited time offers on Facebook pages. I follow multiple blogs for ideas and sign up for what tickles my fancy when I have a moment or so. Here is another picture, showing some of the samples I've gotten since January.

Pros of Freebies:
Free stuff!
Surprises in the mail
Unlike rebates, you don't have to pay anything upfront, including the cost of an envelope and postage!
Most times you will also get coupons that come with your free sample :)

Cons of Freebies:
Sometimes the request form requires too much information or takes too long.
Sometimes the samples are really limited in quantity. If only 2,000 samples are available and I read about it on a blog-I don't even try, everyone else probably already snatched it up!

Tips and Hints:
-Watch what personal information is required. I learned a lesson quickly to not request samples when they required my phone number. Getting calls about samples at work is just not ok (had to jump through that hoop for the scope/pampers/dawn you see pictured). Also, I have an email dedicated especially for these since they like to send you offers later.
-Pick your battles and be patient. Sometimes samples run out before you get to them or webpages run slow because of all the traffic on the site-everyone else wants it free too!
-*Ask companies directly*-My husband and I like the Orange air freshener on the left of the picture. That can was actually purchased, not a freebie. We love the natural, pure, orange oil scent! Not being a "major" company like Glad or Air Wick, we never see or find coupons for them. I went to their website listed on the spray can and contacted them asking for coupons or samples. They don't have any coupons but they said they'd send me a sample, I'm really looking forward to it :)

Let me know if you have any other questions, comments, or want more information on these topics or others :)

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