Tag Archives: rebates

A Rebate Hack

Okay, this sounds totally crazy but I actually set up Google Alerts for a few of my favorite brands/products.  Since setting these, I’ve been notified of rebates from brands such as L’oreal and Olay.  These rebates are often $10 or higher and make a big difference if you stock up when there’s a rebate, sales and manufacturer or store coupon.   If you’re not a coupon master, you’ll save money even if you buy the product at Walmart’s regular low prices and then send in the rebate.  (Yes, you have to be willing to actually mail in a form!) Anyway, it’s super simple to set up and worth it for certain brands that regularly offer rebates.

Did I Really Save Money?

I often read about frugality bloggers who post about amazing savings on groceries and toiletries ($204 worth of products for $23! or $25 a week to feed a family of four!).  While I am trying to pare down our monthly grocery bill, I don’t think we’ll ever have the time or desire to get that low on grocery bills.  That leaves no room for shrimp, mussels, imported cheese and meats etc…

Truthfully I’ve been a bit suspicious of their savings on toiletries and household goods. Many will buy items they don’t need just to make extra bucks via rewards or cash back.  They claim to sell the unwanted items but what if it doesn’t sell and languishes in their pantry?  Some will give items away to friends and family. That’s nice but also means they’re not the one saving money.

Recently I bought a few toiletries from Rite Aid because of a $25 rebate offer if you purchase $50 of selected products.  On paper, this is an amazing deal. However, I decided to check my math and see if I really saved all that much.

I bought two items at full-price, something a very frugal blogger would never do.  The other four items were on sale and I had an extra $3 off coupon.  I also made the beginner mistake of buying two items that I’ve never tried before in order to get to the $50 total. (I may return it and buy something else, if I have time.)  I also find it a bit strange to stock up on face washes and cosmetics even if I will use these within the year.

For my comparison, I jotted down the regular prices for the same items at Walmart.  Their prices were $1 to $2 lower than Rite Aid.  However, with the Rite Aid sale and coupon, I spent $2 less even before rebate.

The good thing about the Rite Aid rebates is that you can submit your receipts online; within 2 – 3 days, you’ll get an email saying if you qualify for the rebate or not. If for some reason, I don’t qualify, I have time to return the items and buy something else to get to the $50 total.  I also haven’t had any issues with their rebates since they started allowing online submissions.  So if the $25 rebate goes through, I’ll spent $29 less.

In summary:

1 )  If you buy toiletries and household goods at full-price, go to Walmart or Target. 

2 ) Sales at Rite Aid and drugstores will bring it the price down to Walmart’s level or lower.  However, I’ve learned not to go out of my way for deals.  (I’ve documented by ongoing struggles with time vs. money here, here and here.)

3 ) Walmart is a  better choice if you don’t want to look for sales or worry about out-of-stock items.  As I mentioned, “frugalites” (is that a word?) will clear out the shelves on sales items. You can get a raincheck but that means another trip.  I think Walmart will match prices if you bring in the sales circular.

4 ) Rite Aid rebates can mean pretty big savings.  You have to stock up and meet requirements but it’s not a hassle like mail-in rebates.