Saving More Money With Product Refunds

Robert Willams shares his strategies to save money using box tops, labels, and more to cash in on product refunds.

| November/December 1970

  • Product refund cash back
    Taking advantage of refund offers—even if you don't buy the products—is just a matter of careful planning and a few minutes work each week.

  • Product refund cash back

Taking advantage of refund offers—even if you don't buy the products—is just a matter of careful planning and a few minutes work each week. I save all the national brand food and detergent labels and packages I can get my hands on (because some sponsors purposely make offers in which unusual parts of a package must be returned, it's necessary to save entire boxes). I file all these packages (you can knock them flat to save space) alphabetically according to brand name in large boxes in the basement and I can find any given package in seconds.

How do I learn about all those refund offers? I spot some (and the more plentiful cash-off offers) while scouring through the magazines and newspapers I collect from relatives and neighbors. By the way, I save the papers and sell them to a scrap paper dealer for sixty cents per hundred pounds. It's no fortune but it makes good ecological sense and brings in stamp money. I also recycle the magazines by giving them to a local nursing home.

Although I do get many blanks from this reading matter, such coupons add up to only a small percentage of all current offers. This is where a subscription to one of the many refund bulletins now published comes in handy. I tried several before I found a bulletin that really paid for itself in convenience and service. It's called Friendly Neighbors and it's published by a very nice lady who makes it her business to find out and tell her readers about all current offers.

Neightbors is divided into two sections. The first is a list of refunds in the order in which they expire, with all the information you need to use the offer. The second part is about five pages of advertisements from many people who want to trade, buy or sell spare coupons, boxtops, trading stamps and other unusual items.

Since I can receive only one refund (all blanks tell the customer that more than one refund to an individual constitutes fraud) from each offer that interests me and no refund from the offers I don't care for, I use the ads mentioned above to sell or trade extra refund blanks, cash-off coupons or box tops and, so, benefit from some offers several times. Recently I traded two hundred or so cash-off coupons for the same number of refund blanks. Although I already had most of the blanks I received several I could use and I'll save the others to trade later.

When I first started refunding I spent too much time looking through piles of blanks for offers. So I devised a system using two files. In one file I put one of each refund offer and all of the cash-off coupons I think I will use. These are filed alphabetically according to brand name. I even keep the coupons in an envelope so I can take them to the supermarket with my shopping list.

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