The Art of Rebate Shopping

As in all things related to retail and pricing, the shopping experience can be the most challenging, rewarding, and exciting part of the purchasing process. Think about how much you value your primary and secondary purchases; your televisions, cars, electronics, clothing, and other household items. When you are a frequent sale-watcher, you may even be able to predict the price drop on your favorite item. The thrill of the discount doesn’t have to wear off there! Take part in the art of rebate shopping, and you can really hone in on a variety of further discounts, multiply your savings, and create a ‘super deal’ that will keep you rebate-friendly for future purchases.

Rebates are offered for a variety of consumer goods; they are sometimes attached to the product itself, while others are promoted heavily through a store where the product might be on sale. Many companies offer online-only sales through rebates; these are printed out and processed in the same fashion.

The difference between a rebate and an instant coupon, is found in both the response rate, and the ‘turnaround’ time involved with cashing in on the discount. It’s true that rebates can take between 8-12 weeks to come back to you; this is one of the reasons why you can find rebates of up to $300-$500 on some goods. However, the payoff is well worth the effort; when you understand the basic process of a rebate transaction, you will be less likely to forego other shopping incentives, and even less likely to ‘forget’ about it completely; exactly what your retailer wants! The expiration date is vital to your success; make a note of it, jot it down, do what it takes to make it your deadline as well.

The standard rebate form will require you to do the following:

1. Attach a copy, or original, UPC label from the box or product itself. This may mean that you can no longer return the item, so be careful when deciding if the product itself truly is what you want! Your Proof of Purchase is a very important weapon; guard it safely.
2. Provide all contact information, and possibly the price paid on the rebate form
3. Provide a copy of your receipt. This is probably the most basic, and most misunderstood portion of the rebate process. If you do not follow the guidelines of the rebate, your registration will simply be forfeited. If you’re lucky, you might get an explanation; just bear in mind that when the deadline has passed, any rebate will become unacceptable.
4. Circle or indicate the purchase on your receipt; again, always read each and every guideline. You just can’t go wrong with simple reading, many of which are only 5-6 key requirements.

As your rebate process is complete, keep in mind the following and you’ll be well-equipped to enjoy your future cash:

âÂ?¢ Always make a copy of all documents and correspondence you send to the rebate center; you will likely forget about it in a couple of weeks, and certainly don’t want to be scrambling during the last week if any questions arise!

� Check up on the rebate by calling the toll-free number provided; customer service will gladly confirm and follow-up with you easily if necessary.

âÂ?¢ Remember that after about 3 weeks, you will likely not even remember the incoming check; make sure to follow up! Most rebates can take between 8-12 weeks to process, and you may want to keep a simple ‘log,’ especially if there are multiple rebates involved on the same product.

âÂ?¢ Do take advantage of multiple product sales and specials that offer rebates; BUT, always check with the store or manufacturer that you are allowed to cash in on all rebates. After reading the fine print, it is sometimes clear that ‘only one rebate per household’ is allowed. Make sure you know this before you buy the package!

The ‘art’ of rebate shopping is fun, challenging, and can be very financially rewarding. It simply takes patience, a little skillful focus, and desire to save money. When you are looking for a specific item or model of a product, it’s always a good idea to check online for updates on the item, sale prices, and online rebates available. Online rebates are usually listed on various coupon and sale websites, as well as offered from the manufacturer. Do as much pre-emptive research as possible for your high-end purchases; the payoff is usually significant, and will make you a true artist of smart shopping!

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