Supersizing a deal: Sale + Coupons + Rebate + Free Gift

I buy massive amounts of cereal. I only eat it a few times a week, but as most of you know by now, I’m fond of donating it. I get asked a LOT how I get this stuff for a net cost of free, better-than-free, or like 25 cents a box. What they don’t know is that I do even better than that sometimes…

Kelloggs has a “Fuel for School” rebate offer, where you buy 10 qualifying Kelloggs/Keebler products on one receipt, submit it with the bar code, and get back $10. I did this at Target when they had Kelloggs cereal on sale for $1.88 a box and there were valid $1 coupons available. I spent $8.80 for 10 boxes of cereal, and will get a rebate check for $10.

Many of the cereals have a couple of cute free gift deals valid thru sometime next year. You cut the tokens off the boxes and submit with the form printed on the inside of the box. Some of the gifts don’t appeal, like “classic” DVDs of Rocky 3 and such. However, there are two things available for the “Wake Up To Breakfast” token:  a digital alarm clock and a cereal cup that keeps the milk separate and chilled. So far I’ve sent away for two alarm clocks – 6 tokens makes it free, or you can send 2 tokens plus $5.99, shipping included either way.

So let’s see what the true cost of this venture was. I did two rebates (one for my address, one for my mother’s):

TOTAL COST:  $21.78
$17.60 … 20 boxes of Kelloggs cereal @ $1.88 – $1 coupon
$2.50 ….. Purchased 20 x $1 Kelloggs coupons, incl shipping
$1.68 ….. Postage for submitting for rebates/gifts
GET BACK:  $20 in rebates + 2 free alarm clocks valued at $5.99

I keep hoping General Mills will start offering cute gifts. They put out some great printable coupons, and I did a 4-boxes-for-$8 deal at ShopRite yesterday using .55 & .75 coupons that double (whee!), so I spent $2.80. Lo and behold, amongst the less-than-interesting deals spat out by the catalina coupon machine was a “$2 off your next order” coupon, making the net cost just 20 cents a box. Didn’t notice it until I got home, otherwise I’d have done it all over again. As it is, I managed to get 10 boxes of Eggo waffles for $9.90, used 5 x $1-off-2 coupons, paid $4.90, and guess what? It qualifies for that $10 Kelloggs rebate deal. I spent $13.50 total on great deals at the supermarket (3 boxes Betty Crocker cake mix, 3 cans of BC frosting, 4 boxes General Mills cereal, 2 jars of Welch’s grape jelly, 10 boxes of waffles plus a $1 donation to a local food pantry drive that earned me a free reusable tote). So I got a $2 instant rebate from the cereal, will get a $10 rebate for the waffles…and ended up a whopping $1.50 out of pocket for all this.

Yes, it’s fiddly. Yes, there’s some $$ outlay up-front. But once you get this all going, you’ll be getting back rebate checks for past purchases that roughly cover your current rebate spending. The sad thing is, this doesn’t work so well for families that live paycheck-to-paycheck. Plus, you need to enjoy the game or else you’ll never remember to follow through.

One Response

  1. Seriously awesome deals you are finding! It’s good to hear what you wrote at the end, that it’s not for all families, especially ones living paycheck to paycheck. That is good to know so I don’t go overboard and try for these deals then get stuck in a rut.

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