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IThe basic definition of "Refunding" is the hobby of saving the UPC codes and cash register receipts from the products you purchase and then sending them in with a refund form to receive either cash back or a promotional item from the company sponsoring the offer.  Of course, there is much more to Refunding than just the basic definition.  If you are interested in learning how to save extra money, hopefully this page will help you get started.  Before going any further, you might want to take a look at the lingo that will be used on this page.  To those who are not familiar with it, it may sound like Greek!!  Click  the Key To Terms button at left view a list of Refunding Lingo and Terminology. 
Combining Coupons & Refunds
No doubt you are already familiar with what a coupon is.  Coupons have been used by shoppers to trim their grocery bills for generations now!  I can remember as a child helping my mom cut out .05 cent coupons!!  These days 5cents isn't even worth the time it would take to cut it out!  While you do not need to use coupons religiously in order to save money with refunding, if you learn to combine the two hobbies, your savings will soar even higher.  Watching the store flyers can add even MORE to your savings. 

For instance, say you clipped a $1.00 coupon for Healthy Choice frozen entrees.  You know that there is a refund for $1.00 back on the purchase of one entree.  For now you know that you can save $2 off your purchase.  That's not bad!  But...if you file that coupon in your coupon organizer and sit back (keep in mind the expiration date of your coupon!) and wait for a store sale, you can actually be PAID to purchase that Healthy Choice entree.  How?  It's simple!  Let's say Acme Grocery has a sale this week on Healthy Choice frozen entrees....regular price is $2.99.  For this example lets say they are having a 50% off sale.  That brings the sale price of the item to about $1.50.  Take your $1.00 coupon, go to the store and purchase the item.  Your total for taking that entree home is $0.50.  What a deal!  But wait, it gets better!  If you take your receipt and the proof of purchase (usually the UPC) and pull out that refund form that you have been holding onto which entitles you to receive a $1 cash refund if you purchase a Healthy Choice entree, follow all the instructions on the form...sometimes it may feel like they are asking for your first born...and mail your form, receipt and UPC to the address listed on the form, in about 6-8 weeks you will receive a check in the mail for $1.00.  Lets see how we did: 
  
  

Healthy Choice Entree Regular Price:
$2.99
Acme Store Sale 50% Off Price:
$1.50
Manufacturer's Coupon Savings:
$1.00
Total To Purchase Item (Pre-Refund):
$0.50
$1.00 refund less 32c stamp:
$0.78
You are PAID to buy this item:
$0.28
You can't get any better than that!!  You not only got the item for free...you were paid to buy it!!
Of course this level of savings is not always possible.  But if you could do this on just a few items in your shopping cart...isn't it worth the effort?
The Basics of Refunding
Simply put, Refunding means sending in proofs of purchase to major manufacturers in exchange for cash, free items (promotions) or free coupons.  Refund offers are printed on refund forms.  Generally forms can be found hanging on shelves by the product if you are lucky, while most often you will need to ask at the customer service desk of your store for the form.  There are also refund forms printed on the packaging of certain products.  These are called SMP forms...Specially Marked Package forms.  All refund forms require that you fill in your name, address, and zip.  You attach the request items...it could be the UPC or the UPC and the cash register receipt or sometimes JUST the cash register receipt, mail it to the address listed on the form.  In 6-8 weeks you will receive your refund in the form of a check made payable to you if your refund was for cash, in the form of a free product coupon which you redeem at your local store or a free gift item such as a t-shirt, toy, phonecard, magnet, etc. 
The Proof of Purchase
All refunds require some sort of proof of purchase or "Qualifier".   The most common proof of purchase is the UPC code. However, some companies require that you send something other than the UPC code as your proof of purchase.  Click  HERE for a listing of some products that request items other than the UPC code as a Qualifier.   Most refund forms also require that you send in the cash register receipt with the purchase price of the item you are receiving the refund on circled.  It is IMPERATIVE that you save EVERY receipt you get....you never know when a refund may comeout for that item you have already purchased!  In fact, a good rule of thumb as far as what to save is "When In Doubt, DON'T Throw It Out".  As you become more familiar with refunding and what items have refunds and what you should save, you can go back and get rid of all that stuff that won't do you any good!  As time goes on and you continue to save what you used to call garbage, you will need some organization!  Start small....and as your collection of UPCs grows, expand along with it.  The easiest way to start out organizing your UPCs is to make generic "files".  You can use ziploc bags, file folders, envelopes...anything...just don't invest money into organizings your UPCs yet!  Use what you have on hand.  Label your files very generally.  Then as time goes on you will work out a system that works best for you at that time. 
Well, hopefully by now you have a better idea of  just exactly what refunding is.
This Page and All Graphics Created by 1998 SUSAN ZENNARIO