Rebates can be a great way for you to save money, especially on major purchases. But you don't get the savings if you don't send in the paperwork or fill it out incorrectly.
Take advantage of the promotions offered by companies to save money because they are counting on you not to send the rebate in. Redemption rates are not typically disclosed by retailers and the companies that handle rebates, but estimates indicate that about 50 percent are not redeemed.
Follow these steps to make sure it is a smooth process of getting what your rebate offers.
Mail the rebate in. I have stamps and envelopes in my car so I can mail out my forms. With these supplies in this central location, where most of my shopping passes through, there's a stopgap to help prevent me from losing receipts or UPC codes needed for rebates.
Send in rebates right away. Many companies have a deadline for consumers to send in documentation.
Save the box. A rebate may require the UPC code from the product packaging.
Follow the exact instructions on the rebate form. Many rebates ask for you to jump through hoops, such as circling the product and price on your receipt. Do everything the form asks.
Make a copy of the form and receipt and document your timeline. If a rebate is rejected, you usually will receive a card in the mail with a number to call. If you document what you did to apply for the rebate, you stand a better chance of winning an appeal.
Here are some rebates going on now:
■ Receive up to $15 rebate by mail when you purchase any Philips Sonicare Toothbrush or AirFloss from Walmart.com. Expires Sept. 2. Go to Bit.ly/NKI1Gt.
■ Receive a $10 mail-in rebate, when you purchase Dr. Scholl's Custom Fit Orthotic Inserts. Expires Jan. 15. Bit.ly/PexTG2
■ Receive a $10 Rite Aid gift card when you buy a Fitness magazine-featured product at Rite Aid: Maybelline Superstay 14-Hour Lipstick, Platex Sport, Vitafusion, Neutrogena Eczema Essentials, Ace Brand Deluxe Ankle Brace, Maybelline Volumexpress The Mega Plush mascara, Stacy's snacks or Stayfree Ultra Thins. Expires Sept. 18. Bit.ly/N1tViq.
■ Receive up to $12.99 mail-in rebate when you purchase World's Best Cat Litter (7- or 8-pound bag). Expires Dec. 31. Bit.ly/PeyAPB
■ Get $90 worth of Johnson & Johnson coupons by mail when you buy $50 worth of J&J products by Sept. 28. Healthyessentials.com.
■ Get a $10 mail-in rebate when you buy $20 or more of any 3M or Post-it labels. Expires Dec. 31. Bit.ly/MOu1OR.
Deborah Morris' weekly column, The Fru-Gal, can help you get through these economic hard times a little more easily. If you know of a way to save some money, feel free to share it on The Fru-Gal blog on BluegrassMoms.com and visit her Web site, Fru-gal-friends.com.