What Do You Do With Your Mail-in Rebate Money?

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I was asked the question recently, “What do you do with your mail-in rebates.”  I always try to your questions and comments, so here it is.  I love to get “free” items after a rebate or get money back for items I’m already purchasing.  That said, I do have to be very careful how many rebates I submit for each month.  You do have to pay the money out of pocket and wait 6-8 weeks on average to receive your rebate check in the mail.  I am very strict about my $75 per week budget.  Once the money is gone, it’s gone!   A recent mail-in rebate I submitted for was FREE Olay Quench Lotion after rebate. I did have coupon, so I “made” money on the deal.   That money is now gone from my cash envelope and it won’t return.  Submitting for mail-in rebates is factored into my grocery budget, so the money doesn’t get added back in to the grocery fund once the check is received.

The exception is rebates from other funds.  I submitted for a $9 Hasbro Game rebate from Toys R Us recently.  That money came from the gift fund and it will be replaced once the check is received. 

I do the same for extra grocery money.  Extra cash left at the end of the month is pulled and goes for the same types of savings or spending as mail-in rebates.  Once upon a time I’d lowered my grocery budget to $400 a month.  I kept it that way for a long time and gradually decreased it to our current $300 month budget.  With a budget that high, I frequently had a lot of extra grocery money left-I was just scared to officially lower the budget.  I put a lot of money away during that time.  I consider anything left over as extra because I’ve already factored that money out of our total monthly budget.

Checks received from mail-in rebates and extra grocery money is currently being added to the emergency fund.  My husband works in the construction industry which has been hit hard by the recession.  We want to prepare even more in case things don’t work out well for the company he works for.  I’m hoping to hit my goal soon! 

A few things we have put rebate and extra grocery money into are:
Vacation fund
“LuLu”‘s new bedroom furniture
Student loan pay off
House renovations
Garage freezer (still looking for)
Meat stock up fund (still haven’t needed to use)
Fun kitchen gadgets from Pampered Chef
Extra dinner out-no kids :)
Busch Garden’s passes

Ideas:
Pay off consumer debt
Whatever you’re currently saving for-new tv, house down payment, etc
Shopping splurge
Summer camps/sports for kids
Adding more organic foods into diet
Gym membership

Your imagination is the limit!

What do you do with your mail-in rebate checks or extra grocery money?

*I’ve used quotation marks on some words because the money isn’t exactly free if I have to pay for it initially and I can’t actually make money for the same reason.

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This post is linked to Madame Deals, Melissa’s Bargain Blog, and My Coupon Teacher


Comments

  1. Renae @ Madame Deals says

    Dana,
    Thanks for linking up today! I agree, you have to be careful with rebates. Some rebates take a long time to get! You don't want to go into debt waiting for a refund! Plus, you have to remember to mail the form. I have to admit that I have forgotten to submit a rebate a few times. Not very savvy spending/saving!

  2. Coupon Teacher says

    I try to put my rebates straight into savings, but if an emergency or unexpected expense occurs, I would rather use rebate money than the credit card!

  3. Dana says

    Good point Madame Deals, rebates are no good if you forget to send them in!

    I agree coupon teacher, rebates are MUCH better than using credit cards!

  4. Anonymous says

    I've been putting any rebates into my kids savings accounts. I split up the amounts as evenly as I can and away to the bank we go.

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