Taking advantage of “Try Me Free” offers at the grocery store is a great way to get full-size freebies like the ones above if you are willing to take the time to complete the rebate request.

Heather’s Mail-in Rebate Tips:

* One Rebate Item Rule: Only buy one item per shopping trip that has a mail-in rebate. Most rebate offers require that you submit your original receipt.

* CVS Warning: Be careful about buying mail-in rebate items at CVS and using your ExtraBucks. The ExtraBucks show up as “Coupon” on your receipt, and may end up making your total purchase less than the amount for the rebate item. This is an easy way for your submission to be invalidated, so just avoid it. Yes it happened to me, and yes I lost the my rebate money.

* Stash Rebate Paperwork in Envelope ASAP: As soon as you buy an item with a rebate, throw all required paperwork in an envelope: receipt, rebate form, UPC. Put a sticky note on the envelope, and then set aside in a file marked “Rebates” to complete later. This keeps those small pieces of paper all together until you have time to fill out the form, address the envelope, and get it ready to mail. I’ve learned this after losing a few UPC symbols that I cut out – they are so small they are easy to lose! Of course you should fill it out and get it ready to mail immediately if you have a few minutes.

* Keep a Rebate File: Label a file that you have easy access to (i.e. you look at it every day) and keep rebates to do and rebates to submit inside. Pull out your Rebate file at least once a week to catch-up on your paperwork. I often find rebates for items I bought before I knew there was a rebate for it. So I have several “search and find this receipt” rebates that will take me a little bit of time to complete. I save my receipts in an 81/2 x 11 clasp envelope, one for each month so that I can go back through them if needed.

* Keep Items Submitted Loose within the Envelope: This is something I’ve just learned, but it makes sense. Read Hooray for Freebates! post about how machines may open the rebate envelopes submitted and “count” the items inside. If you tape things together, you might screw-up your rebate (delay it or not get it at all).

* Keep Track & Keep Copies: I rarely have any problems getting my rebate checks, but I do keep track of what I submit so that I know when I get my rebate checks (and which rebate checks I haven’t gotten). I will admit that I don’t keep copies of my rebate submissions, but I know that this would be an excellent idea so that you could easily provide back-up information if your rebate submission was questioned.

* Get the Most out of your Rebates: More tips offered by Hooray for Freebates!

I file all offers that require a purchase under rebates.