Mail-in rebates are a great way to stretch your household budget without a lot of extra work.
When you pay attention to the fine print in the rebates and stick to what you need, you can find significant savings.
I’ve written about mail-in rebates for such a long time, that I’ve started to notice some patterns to them. Some companies only offer rebates during certain times of the year. Other companies offer a new rebate every single month. I’ve also noticed that there are some products that always seem to have mail-in rebates.
- Automotive supplies. You can almost always find rebates for tires, oil, car care supplies, auto parts and more. Search online for the brand you’re looking for – Goodyear, 3M, Armor All, Valvoline, Quaker State, and PepBoys frequently have rebate deals.
- Computer software. If you want a name-brand anti-virus program, look for rebates at places like Newegg. You can also check your favorite discount office supply store. There are usually a variety of rebates on tax preparation software during tax season. Depending on what you’re looking for you should be able to get software for free or cheap.
- Cleaning products. If there’s a hot new cleaning product on the market, chances are there is a rebate for it, so do a search before you shop. I also regularly see mail-in rebates for Lysol, Bissell, Quickie, and Libman products. Make sure your furnace and A/C are maintained with regular Filtrete mail-in rebates.
- Health & Beauty products. New products often come with special offers, so watch the packaging for rebate deals. Pay attention to your favorite women’s magazines (like Redbook, Real Simple, Fitness and Cooking Light) for special mail-in offers. And don’t forget to pay attention to the coupon inserts, as you’ll find rebates there. I regularly see rebates for Crest, OralB, Olay, L’Oreal, and P&G beauty products. (And of course, the drug stores often have their own rebate deals). And it’s unusual not to find a free first aid kit from Johnson & Johnson with purchase or a deal from NeilMed.
- Pet Care products. There is almost always a rebate available to get you some free cat litter or pet food. World’s Best Cat Litter and Hill’s Science Diet are good bets. You can also find mail-in rebates for medications (like those for flea & tick and heartworm prevention). Occasionally, pet stain and odor eliminators have rebates, too.
- Office supplies. Elmer’s offers a new rebate every month on some of its products, and Post-It and 3M frequently offer rebate savings on everything from Post-It Notes to mailing labels. Don’t forget to check your favorite office supply store for rebate offers, and if you’re buying a computer, check for bonus rebate deals (like a free printer or software).
- Snacks. Kellogg’s always seems to have some sort of mail-in offer going for its cereal and snack products. Stauffer’s, Musselman’s, and Jolly Time regularly offer mail-in rebates, too.
- Gold’n Plump Chicken. Gold’n Plump Chicken has an on-going offer for a cookbook, and every few months they offer a great freebie valued at $10 or more with the purchase of select products. I’ve seen them offer everything from bamboo cutting boards to grilling utensils by mail.
- Propane tanks and refills. If you love to grill, be sure to check AmeriGas and Blue Rhino for mail-in rebates. They usually offer them throughout the year and are valid with a new tank purchase or when you return a tank.
- Kitchen items. If you’re in the market for new pots and pans or a small kitchen appliance, be sure to check for rebates. You can check Kohl’s and Macy’s for rebates that are available. The rebates are best during the holiday season when you can save on everything from Kitchen Aid Stand Mixers to high quality cookware.
And one other note: If there’s a popular kids’ or family movie about to be released on DVD and Blu-Ray, check for a mail-in rebate. You can almost always find deals on Disney, Pixar, and Dreamworks hit movies, and if it’s a big release (like Monster’s University), you may even be able to do get free movie tickets by mail-in rebate with a purchase.
There are many other products that regularly have rebates, but these are the most common ones.
A few tips for finding mail-in rebates:
Pay attention to product packaging. Some companies offer “Try Me Free” rebates with a simple hangtag or peelie on the product. Others may have a rebate form on the back of the box or inside it.
Pay attention to the advertising. Take a closer look at magazine advertising and the fine print of your newspaper’s coupon inserts. You’ll often find mail-in rebate forms or details on how to access an online rebate form.
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