Rebate offers cause an immediate reaction from me depending on my latest experience with them. Up to a month ago I had wonderful experiences with rebates, in most situations I would photocopy my information before I sent it out so that if anything was in dispute over the rebate, I had the copy to back up my complaint.

Over time, I have gotten lazy about photocopying them because the rebates I have sent in for items ranging from 1-6 dollars have had no troubles at all, I usually get the rebate check mailed back in the typical 6-8 weeks.

A month ago I tried out a new protein bar at the store that had a money back guarantee on the back of the packaging if I only sent in my sales receipt and the upc code from the protein bar. No trouble, the bar tasted horrible and I sent in the entire [empty] wrapper and the receipt with the circled price without photocopying it.

Four weeks later I get a letter back from the company that the upc was not sent in and the offer of the rebate was declined. I was mad, but not necessarily at them because it wasn't totally their fault. I was too confident that things would go smoothly and I didn't photocopy the wrapper/receipt as a back-up.

Because of that I am back on the photocopying bandwagon for my latest rebate offer, Reynold Wrap's recycled tin foil that they offered for a couple weeks after Earth day.

I circled the date I bought the tin foil and the item on the receipt as stated by the rules. I then mailed it off with the UPC cut out and the rebate form filled out. I then photocopied them and have them in my rebate folder.

It seems like a lot of work to go through for 2.50 back on some tin foil, but I figure it took me all of 5 minutes maximum to do that, so all that work is the equivalent of $30/hr, and I'm ok with that.

Now I just wait the 8-10 weeks for the rebate check and when it comes I can breathe a sigh of relief and pull that sheet from my rebate file as I don't have to worry about fighting for my rebate check.

Here are the steps for a quick rebate process:
1. Read rebate form rules at least twice and note all items needed whether original is needed and if more than one rebate can be used at the house [rarely].

2. Use any coupons to get the front end cost down as the company will still reimburse you for the scanned price. In this case I received 80¢ off the tin foil at the check out but the company will still send me a full refund for the 2.50

3. Immediately organize what you need and cut out the required UPC, circle the price of the item on the receipt and fill out the rebate form and place in an envelope so they aren't separated and lost.
If you are buying a large amount of groceries you may want to have rebate items rung up separately in case you have to bring something back to the store and need a receipt for the return.

4. Photocopy everything you are sending. This would include the rebate form, the UPC and the receipt.

5. Mark your copy with any information you may need, such as date mailed out, date item bought if the receipt doesn't show it, approximate arrival of rebate check, etc.

6. File your copy away for safe keeping and don't forget to mail your envelope right away if you are already close to the deadline.

Now I just wait for Reynold's Wrap to send me the rebate check in July and watch out for other rebates that I will be able to use.