Thursday, September 20th, 2012

American Student Pays for School with Mail in Rebates

There’s extreme couponing and then there’s this. Extreme Rebating: University Edition. Jonathan Hood, a 25-year-old PhD student and a computer programmer, covered most of his $4,500 tuition costs by taking frugal to a new level.

Hood said he paid his way by using the earnings from rebate cheques and pre-paid debit cards he’d received through countless promotions.

“On a weekday, I usually have about two or three debit cards or rebate checks coming in,” Hood said. “[Stores] usually have at least one item come up online that’s free with a rebate, usually two or three. I’ll purchase the item, save the UPC code and mail it in with the receipt.”

Is this really worth the time? Just to collect, he took the time to enter between 200 and 250 prepaid debit cards into the university’s online payment system. That aside, how much time does it take to take part in all these deals and promotions?

“My average rebate takes 11 minutes to fill out and cash, and is for $40. My envelopes and pens were free after rebate, so their cost is negligible. For this $40 rebate, I use a 2% cash-back credit card to purchase the item ($0.80 profit) and receive anywhere from 0-5% using FatCash from Fatwallet or a similar service. Stamp price is $0.45. Then, I turn around and sell the item on eBay for an average profit of $11.91 after shipping and taxes per item.”

He also added he pays his cell phone bill exclusively with rebate money.

Ryan Leclaire
Author: Ryan Leclaire
Ryan has been writing for 7 years and has been featured in Chatelaine, Canadian Living and Cottage life.
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