Save A Bundle – Online Rebates

My handwriting has always been messy. My check signature would be unidentifiable if my name weren't pre-printed at the top. I draw a swoop for my "G" and then a quivering line that looks like a Richter scale reading, followed by the long tail of my "y" that plunges nearly off the check. If I'm in a hurry, my short last name looks like a tangle of hair. I've never had my scrawl analyzed; what it says about me, I'm sure I already know.

Because I dislike the look of my handwriting, I resent most situations that require me to use a pen. Filling out rebate forms is a good example. When I purchase an item that comes with a rebate, I'm always amazed at the second, rebate receipt the clerk hands me. The itty-bitty, two-inch-wide form has blank lines -each the height of a linguini noodle -for me to write my
Name
, Address, City, State, and Zip. The parenthesis for my area code is no wider than a staple. To protest, I draw new, big parenthesis -hoping it won't become a frivolous excuse to invalidate my rebate. The only thing worse than forcing me to use handwriting, is to make me shrink it down to one fourth its normal size.

The rest of the rebate process is no less tedious. More often than not, I'll need to rummage through my wastebasket to find the box that I threw away in my eagerness to play with whatever new thing lured me with a rebate. I have to find the POP (proof of purchase) label. Once I identify what I think is the POP (I've seen three bar codes on one box before), there's never any perforation to help me remove it. I then have to hunt for something sharp so I can finish the dangerous task of hacking the POP from the box.

If the "rebaters," as I call them, think I won't bother going through this trouble, then they are mistaken. There's good money to be had and I fill 'em out, every single one -happy to hold them to their promise to return some of my money.

But Geoff, what does this article have to do with technology?

I'm glad you asked. Some of the very best rebates at this time of year are for your favorite electronics and other high-tech gadgets. Better yet, many of the rebate forms can be filled out and submitted online. Fast, and no handwriting -a great combo!

Some manufacturers place printable coupons on their web sites so you can print out your own coupons and forms. With a large, legible form printed on a full-sized sheet of paper, you may have to write, but it won't have to be microscopic.

Last week I purchased some software online and was thrilled to discover that my proof of purchase for a generous rebate was simply a printout of my email confirmation message. I forwarded it back to the manufacturer and, "bam," rebate validated!

The ultimate in online, money-saving ease is the instant rebate discount code. This wonderful invention allows you save cash by entering a simple code into a box when you checkout with your online shopping cart. You have to hunt for these beauties, but such instant savings-offers are a real score and won't cramp your fingers like old fashioned paper and pen rebate forms did.

Before you make a purchase at your favorite retail store this shopping season, Google the search term "rebate, discount, coupon" along with the name of the product you seek and see if you don't save yourself a grip of cash! You can thank me later. Happy Holidays!

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