Zero 2 Rich

Investing to One Million Dollars or Bust!


How often do you see significant mail in rebates on items? How many items do you see that are free after rebate? How do they make money on these?

If everyone sent in the mail in rebate forms, they wouldn’t make any money at all. They would actually lose money since it costs money to produce the products in the first place. But not everyone sends in the rebate forms, or they send them in too late, or make mistakes.

Common mistake #1: Not sending in the rebate form
If you bought the item because it was such a great deal with the mail in rebate, you HAVE TO send in the rebate form, or then it is not such a great deal is it?

Common mistake #2: Sending in the rebate form too late
You need to read the fine print of the rebate coupon. They almost always have a deadline of when the mail in rebate form needs to be sent. Sometimes the deadline is months away, or weeks away. I missed out on some mail in rebates from last Black Friday because I waited too long. I was waiting to make sure the products had no problems. But I was busy with the holidays. So a month later, just after Christmas, I sat down to fill out the rebates only to find I was too late. They needed to be mailed by two weeks following the date I purchased the items. That cost me $45 in mail in rebates! Ouch!

Common mistake #3: Buying item with already expired mail in rebate
Read the rebate form. I have seen products for sale in the grocery store which have boxes advertising mail in rebates. But upon closer inspection seeing the mail in rebates are already expired.

Common mistake #4: Buying without knowing the conditions
Often the mail in rebates will have conditions. Be carefull about buying a production because of the mail in rebate if you don’t know the conditions of the rebate. They might require you to have bought another product as well possibly on the same receipt. The mail in rebate might be contingent on you owning an older version of the product. The mail in rebate might require you to sign up for a service that you might not want. So don’t be to quick to buy that product just because of the rebate if you don’t know the conditions.

Common mistake #5: Not following the instructions
The fine print on mail in rebates might have a lot of instructions. You need to follow them to the letter. If you miss any of them, they don’t have to pay you. If they say circle the price on the receipt, do that. If they say staple the receipt to a card, do that. You need to go through the instructions and follow them precisely.

Common mistake #6: Not keeping track of the mail in rebates
I have often sent in rebate forms, but never gotten anything back. I have solved this. Now before I send the rebate forms in, I photocopy the filled in coupon, the receipt and instructions, the UPCs or whatever else I am sending in. Then after I mail the rebate forms, I write the date on the copy and file it away. Then every so often, I check the folder to see in any mail in rebates are overdue. Often the the rebate forms will have a phone number, or email address or website where you can check the status. Just contact them, and remind them of the rmail in rebate. I have had at least one place send me a new check when I never received the first check.

Will today be the day that my 401k exceeds a quarter of a million dollars? I am less than $600 away from that mark. It terms of net worth, I am well over that if you take into account our Roth IRAs, our other investments, and equity in our house (have to check the mortgage tables to see where we are at). But I have been waiting for my 401k to hit $250,000 for a while. I was at $210,000 over five years ago, before the market fell out. My 401k dropped to below $100,000. But it has been steadily climbing. I am better diversified now. I still own no bonds. But I am in different funds, and have gotten rid of the company stock in my 401k.

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