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Save Money on your Purchases by Taking Advantage of the Rebates Offered

Many manufacturers offer mail in rebates to encourage consumers to buy their product. The way these rebates work is that you have to pay the full price for the product when you get it. Then you fill out the rebate information and mail it in along with a copy of your receipt. They will then send you a check.

However, you will be amazed at how many people fail to get around to sending in the information for their rebate. Most offers have a set time frame so it is a good idea to get the information in the mail as quickly as possible. They either don’t want to mess around with the process or the simply forget with so many other things taking place in their life.

Since it can take weeks to get your rebate in the mail, it is a good idea to keep a file of the rebates you have mailed in. Always make a copy of the rebate information and the receipt before you mail it in. This way you have proof of your purchase and a phone number to contact them if you don’t receive the rebate in a timely manner.

The amount of any given rebate will vary but when you consider that the average on is $25, that is a great deal of money that consumers aren’t taking advantage of. It is a good idea to always use them to your advantage. Otherwise you are simply throwing your money away.

Each rebate process may be slightly different so make sure you take the time to read all the information that comes with it. You don’t want the frustration of waiting for 60 days to get the rebate only to get a letter instead that says you aren’t eligible because you failed to provide some piece of information or your form wasn’t completely filled out.

It is also a good idea to take action when a rebate you send it is not honored. This doesn’t happen very often but it is very important that you follow-up. If you only purchased the item at the price offered because of the rebate than it is even more important that you get it.

Getting your rebate should never exceed 60 days. If you don’t have it by then contact the company. Make sure you document all the information about when you called and who you spoke to. It is good to have a log of this information so that if you want to pursue getting the rebate by other means you can back up your information.

There are a couple good websites you can use to track your rebate including www.MyRebates.com, www.WheresMyRebate.com, and www.Rebatestatus.com.  If you don’t find your rebate and the manufacturer isn’t working with you then file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau.

The majority of company’s who offer rebates do honor them though so this really should never be an ongoing issue for you. There are plenty of businesses that do look forward to the unclaimed rebates though because at least 40% of them never get filed by the consumer.

As a rule of thumb though, I wouldn’t recommend basing your purchase on a rebate. If you don’t end up with the funds then the product cost you more than you were willing to pay for it. While you wait for the rebate process to be completed you will have the loss of that additional money that could be allocated for something else.

You should also be prepared for rebates to ask for your personal information including your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address. This could result in you getting coupons and promotions that will save you more money in the future. However, they can result in you getting bombarded by offers by the manufacturer that you aren’t interested in.

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Bank Foreclosures

Bank foreclosure real estate, also referred to as REOs (Real Estate Owned), is foreclosed real estate that is owned by the bank due to an unsuccessful foreclosure auction. There are several reasons the home may have not sold at the auction. The most common reason is negative equity the bank foreclosure real estate is worth less than the amount owed to the bank. Of course, the bank seeks to receive the outstanding balance of the original loan; therefore, the minimum bid for the bank foreclosure real estate is usually the amount of the outstanding balance of the original loan, plus interest and any additional fees. No smart investor or buyer will consider bidding on such a property.

Nevertheless, an unsuccessful sale will not stop the bank from trying to make an attempt to get the bank foreclosure real estate sold. The bank will consider removing some or all liens and fees on the bank foreclosure real estate in order to get it on the real estate market and resell it to the public. The resell process may be retrying an auction or working through a Realtor.

This is a hot market for real estate investors. Real Estate investors take an eager interest in bank foreclosure real estate property. The market of foreclosed homes may be large; but, not always suitable for some investors. The foreclosed property may not meet some important needs. Nowadays home buyers and investors alike are scrambling through the market of bank foreclosure real estate looking for better deals. Though, most bank foreclosure real estate property is in poor condition, the low sale price of the home highly compensates for the property poor condition.

Investing in bank foreclosure real estate property offers a great return for investors. Bank foreclosure real estate by far offers greater deals than typical foreclosed homes. As an investor you must consider all your options. Make sure you get the bank foreclosure real estate property at the best price. Hopefully, the bank foreclosure real estate that an investor chooses to invest in will give the investor rewards; such as a larger return in profit, either through renting the home out or through selling the home.

There are several ways to search for bank foreclosure real estate property.  You can search the Internet, magazines, and newspaper listings. The Internet can lead you to thousands maybe millions of connections. Here you can view listing by state, banks, county, and much more.

You should also invest time in finding a good real estate agent.  If they know what you are looking for, they can save you a lot of time and work.  They can also help you determine the true market value of the home you are considering investing in.

Rent-to-Own at Three Times the Price

If you had the opportunity to buy a television or a sofa at a price that was three times the suggested retail price, would you do it?  That scenario may seem ridiculous, but thousands of people do just that every day when they sign an agreement at a rent-to-own store.  Rent-to-own, or RTO for short, is a system that allows consumers with little or no credit to acquire furniture, electronics or appliances by renting them by the week or by the month.  At the end of the rental agreement, the renter gets to keep the merchandise.  The renter may also agree simply to rent the merchandise for an agreed-upon period of time.

While furniture or appliance rental may be suitable for someone who needs them for only a month or so, it represents an expensive way to buy for someone who intends to keep them.  A television may seem inexpensive at only $10 per week, but if the agreement requires eighteen months of rental before the customer owns it, the total amount paid will be $780.   That would be fine if the television were valued at anywhere near that amount, but in most cases, that $780 will provide a television that sells for only $250 or so at electronics stores.  The additional $530 goes to the rental company in the form of profit.  Expressed as an annual interest rate, some rental fees can exceed 400% annually.

In addition to the rental charges, the customer will also likely have to pay sales tax, delivery charges and possibly return charges if he or she elects not to keep the merchandise.  Late payments may also incur a late fee, provided that the rental company doesn’t elect to terminate the agreement and take the merchandise back altogether.  In that case, the customer has nothing to show for the money invested.

Rental companies point out that for those who have no credit cards, the RTO concept provides an opportunity to “have it now.”  That is true, but consumers who have little money would be better off either saving that $10 per week and buying the television in six months’ time.  Alternatively, the consumer could put the television on layaway at a retailer and pay it off over time.  Either way, the consumer would save hundreds of dollars in rental fees.

A consumer who needs furniture or appliances for a short time, such as someone on a temporary assignment to another city, might find an RTO agreement useful in order to avoid living in an empty apartment.  But anyone who wants to buy furniture, electronics, or appliances might be better served by simply saving their money until they have enough to buy the merchandise outright.

Get the very best Rates on Hotel Rooms

It can be fun to go on a trip and enjoy staying in a luxurious hotel room. Yet many people have to pass up that option and go for a more moderate hotel because of the expense involved. There are some good ways to get the hotel you want at a price you can afford though. It does take some research and planning but it can be done.

Regardless of the hotel you are looking at, weekends are generally their busiest time. Planning your stay during the week will help you get a much lower rate. You also need to do research to find out the slowest time of year for that given hotel. They will offer lower prices during that time period so that they can sell rooms rather than leaving them empty.

If you have any type of membership such as AAA or military, you may be eligible for discounts on various hotels without even knowing it. Call the hotel and ask them what discounts they offer. While you have them on the line ask them to quote you the very lowest price they can offer. Then compare this price to different online sites.

Sometimes the hotel offers the best price and other times you will find it online. If you are more comfortable booking with the hotel directly, ask them to honor a price you found somewhere online. Many hotels offer discounts for people who have stayed with them before, even free nights or upgrades after you have stayed with them a set amount of times.

If you will be staying at the hotel for several days at a time you will likely get special treatment. This could be a room close to the elevator or with the best type of view. Make sure you mention the length of your stay and what you are interested in when you make the reservation. There is generally no extra cost for such features but make sure you ask before you agree to the reservation.

When you arrive at the hotel you can ask them for a free upgrade. If they have the room available they may be able to honor your request. There is no guarantee that it will happen though so be prepared that you will be in the type of room you paid for. If you are visiting the hotel on the off-season or during the week you are more likely to get such an upgrade at no extra charge. You may mention that you would really love one of the balcony rooms if they could offer you an upgrade if you want a specific type of upgrade amenity.

Many people plan their hotel arrangements way in advance. This is good so that you are guaranteed a room. However, if you can get away with flexible days to stay then you can keep a watchful eye on the very best prices. You can grab some great last-minute deals on hotel rooms online at different travel sites. You have to be careful though because you don’t want to end up with no hotel room at all.

You can try to work out a deal by simply walking into a hotel in the late evening to see what is still available. You have a good chance of working out a good deal since the room may go unused if they don’t offer it to you. However, they may be viewing it as a chance to get more money for the room since you are looking for one at the last-minute. Don’t be afraid to say no to their offer and try to renegotiate it. Too many people simply walk into a hotel, as the price, and then pay for it without any negotiating taking place whatsoever.

If you know several other people who will be staying at the same hotel you can ask for a group discount rate. In some cases the rooms all have to be paid for together but the majority of hotels will accommodate individual billing.

Give Great Gifts without Paying a Fortune for Them

Sometimes it seems that you are always trying to budget for different occasions where you need to provide a gift. There are always plenty of housewarming to attend, weddings, anniversaries, and birthdays to keep you digging into your pocketbook. Since you know you will always need gifts, it can save you plenty of time and money if you purchase such gifts in advance while they are on sale. This is the perfect way to find bargains for gifts so that the recipient thinks you spent more than you did.

To make this concept work well for you, organization is very important! I know people who buy plenty of bargains to give as gifts, but the problem is they can never remember what they have or where it is when they need something. If you create a list and keep it in a safe place you will always know what gifts you have available. I keep them in an air tight Tupperware storage container (that I got on sale!).

If you have children then you know there are always plenty of birthday invitations coming your way throughout the year. When the toy store or another retailer has a sale on toys purchase some common ones. Girls generally like dolls and Barbie’s. Boys will always enjoy cars and action figures. Board games, puzzles, and books make great gift items for both boys and girls.

Try to avoid anything that is trendy because you don’t know how long that fad is going to be in existence. If you give a gift that used to be trendy but isn’t popular anymore it will be very obvious that you didn’t shop for the gift recently. Some children’s characters are always in style though like the Disney Characters and Looney Tunes so you should be save purchasing toys with these themes.

For adults, there are a variety of great items you can find at bargain prices to give them for most any occasion. Flower vases, picture frames, photo albums, and candles all make great gifts for even the most difficult people on your shopping list. These items are timeless as well so it doesn’t matter how long they stay in your gift chest before you give them to someone.

You can even incorporate this concept to purchase birthday and Christmas presents for your spouse and your children. This way you will spend less around the holidays, and you won’t be burdened with shopping while everyone else it that time of year. It can help to keep a list of the items that catch the eyes of those in your family so you can make sure you get the right item when you see it on sale.

Being able to offer someone you care about a very special gift is important, but it can also be stressful when you are pressed for time and money is tight. By purchasing bargain items as you come across then you will always have plenty of great gifts to share without breaking the bank. This will allow you to give people better gifts than if you have to shop for them right before the occasion. Sure, you may get lucky and find a good sale at that point it you can’t be sure it will happen.

Don’t Pass up the Value of using Coupons

Most retailers understand the amount of competition they have out there, especially in larger towns. To help encourage customers to remain loyal to them they accept coupons for various products. One of the best uses of coupons is for purchasing grocery items you already use. Look for stores that offer you double or triple the face value of the coupon. Some stores only offer double and triple coupon values on specific days of the week so make sure you take advantage of them if at all possible. You will be amazed at how quickly this type of coupon system can help you slash your grocery bill.

It is very important that you make sure the store isn’t inflating the prices on their items though because if they do you won’t save much with the coupons. Don’t be tempted to use a bunch of coupons in items you don’t normally use though or your grocery bill may end up increasing!

You can get coupons from magazines and newspaper ads. Pay close attention the to the expiration dates on them as well. If you have access to the internet go to the sites for the products you use. Many of them offer coupons that they will mail to you or that you can print at home. If these sites offer an opt in list for you to get promotions and coupons by e-mail then take advantage of it.

Some retail stores that welcome coupons offer a counter where you can take your unwanted coupons for other people to use. At the same time you are welcome to pick up various coupons others have left to make your own purchases. There are great coupon organizers that you can use like a mini filing system. You can categorize the coupons by the listed areas as well as create some of your own categories. This will reduce the amount of time you spent going through them while you are shopping.

Many retailers are more than willing to honor the coupons for a competitor so that you will purchase the item from them instead of the other store. The best way to approach this issue is to take the coupon into the store with you. Ask to speak to a manager and explain that you really want to make the purchase from them but that the other store offers a much better price. In most cases they will at least match the price of the competition. Other retailers will even beat the price to encourage you to remain a loyal customer of theirs.

Any time you plan to visit a museum, amusement park, or other activity check to see if there are coupons offered anywhere. Many times you will find buy 1 get 1 free coupons for such outings and that can be a great savings for your trip. You can usually find this out by looking online or calling the chamber of commerce in the area of the event. Online auctions like Yahoo! Auctions and eBay offer you plenty of opportunities to take advantage of discount coupons that others are selling as well.

Restaurants often offer discount coupons to get people to come in and eat. You do need to pay close attention to the details of the coupon though. Many of them will have specific days of the week they can be used. Some of them also have a set time frame where they can’t be used after 4 pm or something similar.

If you take the time to seek out coupons for items you will already spend money on then you can get the rewards of spending less while still getting all the things your family needs. You may think it is silly using a $.75 cent coupon here or a $2.00 coupon there but it will really start to add up over time. When you consider the amount of money you spent on groceries, eating out, and entertainment for a whole year those coupons really start to sound good!

Finding a Bargain on a New Vehicle

We have all heard that depressing statement that a new vehicle depreciates in value the second you pull away from the dealership. I used to think that was an exaggeration until my friend got into a wreck in her Dodge Durango a week after she purchased it. The insurance wouldn’t give her enough to cover buying a new one even though she was not at fault in the accident. She had to get an attorney and eventually she was able to get a new vehicle to replace it, but not without quite a circus taking place around the issue for a couple of months.

Buying a new vehicle is one expense that you have to consider very carefully. Those monthly payments can sure take a chunk out of your disposable income. You also have to consider the cost of license plates, insurance, gas, and regular maintenance on the vehicle. To help you find the very best bargains on the new vehicle of your choice you will want to conduct some research before you start negotiations with the salesman.

There are a variety of ways to find out the book value on a particular vehicle. You can go to www.NADA.com or www.KellyBlueBook.com. You can get a very detailed price by listing the make of the vehicle, the various accessories it offers, and the mileage. This information will help you find the lowest price you can expect to purchase that vehicle for.

Next, take a close look at your credit report so you know exactly what interest rate you can expect on a new vehicle. This way you don’t waste your time haggling with the sales. See what they offer you for a price and financing before you bring your information into play. If they match or beat it then great. If they want to give you higher price or interest rate, present your researched information. If they won’t sell you the vehicle for that price with that interest rate then go somewhere else.

October is a very good time of year to start considering the purchase of a new vehicle. This is because they want to start clearing out vehicles on the lot to make room for the next year’s models that will soon be arriving. Since many vehicle dealerships don’t see much in the way of sales over winter due to the cold and the holiday season, they are more likely to present you with the deal of the century to make the sale.

If you see other sales around the holidays they may be a good time to save money as well. The key to making sure it is a bargain is to make sure the cost hasn’t been inflated or your interest rated jacked up a percent or two to cover the promotional cost of the vehicle. Too many people get caught up in what they see on the windshield of a vehicle rather than looking at the big picture.

New vehicles often end up with a scratch or a dent on them soon after you buy them. While this can be very upsetting you really can’t do much about it. Someone leaving their shopping cart in the parking lot of the store can result in the wind running it into your vehicle. You can find great deals of new vehicles that have some body damage such as small scratches and even hail damage from a recent storm. In most cases you will save several times what it costs you to repair the damage.

To motivate customers to make a purchase of a new vehicle instead of just looking many dealerships offer incentives like 0% financing and cash back. Make sure you find out all the details of such promotions as they may be a good way to save money or they may cost you more in the long run. Take the time to calculate all the possible scenarios so that you get the bargain you were after with your new vehicle purchase.