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?