Applying Rebates to Your Budget
Each day of the series offers new tips, ideas and a challenge to start the year with a solid financial plan.
A few months ago, Kay Lynn from Bucksome Boomer shared great tips on mail-in rebates—free after rebate, mail-in offer & cash back shopping can be a really great way to impact your family finances. However, it works best if you’re already staying within your budget for the item you purchase. That way, if you misplace the form, forget to mail it on time or something goes wrong, you didn’t overspend.
I’m notorious for rebate fails. Ask the hubby about the time I accidentally sent a $50 rebate check through the washing machine. I will never live that one down. Luckily, the computer part we had bought was already at a decent price. The rebate was just going to be bonus money. Still, flushing it away was just another in a long list of my organizational fails.
When the check arrives, cash it before you lose it! Then, it can go back into the original spending category to lower the next month’s budget. Or, you can use all of your rebate money for something specific—save for vacation, buy holiday gifts or add to your emergency savings. Rebate funds can also be used as fun money throughout the year.
A tight budget can be difficult to manage, and rebates could provide the wiggle room you need for spending cash. If you’re on a debt management plan, rebate checks should all go towards your repayment plan. Your challenge for today: rethink rebates and develop a process for redeeming them. You know, so you actually have rebate checks to cash.
I’m not a financial planner or a budget expert. I’ll just be walking you through the steps I take each time my budget needs an adjustment. In fact, I’ll be participating myself!