I love free stuff! It makes my day when I can get something I need without paying for it (legally, of course). That’s why I love rebate programs!
In my area I use the Rite Aid and Walgreens rebate programs. I’m sure there are other stores in other parts of the country that offer rebates as well, but these are my only two options.
I have a system to make sure I get the products I need and never forget to submit my receipts for reimbursement. On Sunday afternoons, I sit down with the paper to make my grocery list. While flipping through the ads, I pay special attention to the Rite Aid and Walgreens ads. (If you don’t get the paper, ads for both stores can be found online at the store websites).
It’s easy to spot the deals at Rite Aid. All of the rebate items in the ad have a little red box next to them, showing how much they cost after rebate. I look for the boxes that say “free.”
It’s also fairly easy to spot the deals at Walgreens. In the middle of the Easy Saver Catalog for the month, there’s a list of all the rebates. The first 6 items or so are highlighted in yellow and are free after rebate. I also check Money Saving Mom’s site to see what deals Crystal comes up with. (She’s also got a great Walgreens shopping tutorial, if you’re new to dealing at Walgreens).
After shopping, I pull out my receipts. I enter my Rite Aid receipt on the Rite Aid Single Check Rebate site right away. I tuck my Walgreens receipt into an envelope until the end of the month. I also enter a reminder in Google Calendar, so I don’t forget to send off my Walgreens receipts at the end of the month. And I elect to receive my Walgreens rebates on a gift card. I’m still using my gift card from a couple of months ago to pay for the current deals.
I don’t remember the last time I actually paid for toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, or toothbrushes. It seems there are always opportunities to get these items free!
Speaking of free, a reader emailed me with a tip that Walgreens is giving a free ink cartridge refill tomorrow, April 2. Use the coupon found in your Sunday paper, or print one off here. It’s a good deal, so if you need an ink refill, make sure you don’t miss out! And thanks for the tip, Sarah!
Do you use any rebate programs? Which ones? Have you had much success?
I usually weigh the money saved versus the time it takes to file for, track, and collect the rebate. Therefore, I do not usually get rebates on small items of a few bucks. However, I am a sucker for electronics and computer rebates.
I recommend that you make a firm decision about whether to complete a rebate before you buy. A “free” item is not free when you did not collect the rebate. The first thing you should do when you get home is to do the rebate paperwork or complete the online application. When you put the rebate materials aside the probability of collecting eventually drops dramatically.
Companies count on the fact that people think they are getting something cheaper to stimulate buying. However, less than 50% of rebates are collected. The first time I understood this was when I worked for HP (in ancient times). The business computer division I worked for did a promotion with a coupon that was worth a couple of thousand dollars. I was completely baffled to find that in the end only about 40% of customers actually turned in the paperwork to get their rebate!
Yes…I love some free Walgreens (via rebates) and CVS (via ExtraBucks). See my savings in today’s post:
I am a newbie to the world of couponing and rebates. I just used a bundle of coupons last week and now I’m planning to stock up on those free after rebate items from Walgreens. I got hooked on this through Money Saving Mom’s “Walgreens 101”. That was an eye opener. I hope I also get into that “Not paying for toothbrushes, shampooes etc anymore” gear soon.
In my city, you can’t have a Walgreens without a CVS. It is to the point of being ridiculous. If a CVS gets put on a corner, you can guarantee that within 6 months a Walgreens will be on the opposite corner. The scary part is that they can still be profitable competing in this fashion. Just goes to show you how much money there is in the drug market. But if you are looking to be frugal and use your coupons, it is nice to have them so close.
Ah! We miss out on that here…can you imagine being soooo rural that you have to go over 45 miles away to find more than the local Fred Meyer or Safeway…. that’s it! Thanks tho for the tips! I have to say tho that I do watch Home Depot’s ads for the free shipping days… My e-letter lets me know in advance about free shipping days – and they come in handy with my remodeling projects – as Home Depot is over 70 miles from me :(
Thanks for the cartridge refill tip.. My ink just ran out! great timing!
@Becky – I wish we had a CVS. Maybe someday…
@Melissa – I’m not sure why the programs aren’t widely publicized. I first found out about the Rite Aid program from a friend about 9 years ago. And our Walgreens just opened last year. I knew about the program only because by the time Walgreens got here, I’d been blogging long enough to have heard about it from other bloggers.
@No Debt Plan – I’m honestly not organized enough to know how long it takes to get the rebate back. I would say definitely within 6 weeks. I’ve never had it take longer than that. It might be faster if you submit online (I think it is with Rite Aid). I’m not in a state where I can submit to Walgreens online, so I don’t know about that program.
Awesome! I need to buy a new toothbrush and toothpaste. Walgreen’s is just down the street and these items are free after rebate. Good stuff!
How long does it usually take to get the rebates back?
I also see on Walgreen’s site where you can submit your rebates online in certain states, including Alabama.
Interesting post! I’ve found myself in the past discouraged because we don’t have a CVS in our area and there seems to be so much savings to be had.
You and I live in the same general area and I’m encouraged that there is some savings to be had at Rite Aid and Walgreen’s! I’ve been into these stores several times and have never been told about their program. Is this something they don’t want consumers to know about or is it a program that’s been around so long that they just assume that you already know about it?
Thanks so much!
I just started with the Walgreens’ rebates last month. This month, I’m getting some really good deals by printing coupons for the free items, so that I actually get money back!
Whereas there are a ton of Walgreens around here, there is only one CVS. I’m actually going to go there after work today to see if I can get the April free items. If they are already all out, I’m going to give up on CVS. They run out of deals pretty fast since there’s only one.