Using the Internet to get cash back isn't as time-consuming as you think!
"Instant rebates" are a different story, because they are essentially a sale, but I guess "instant rebate" just sounds sexier. Some drugstores offer easy rebates, where you can go online, input some information from your receipt and your mailing address, and a combined check will be sent at the end of the rebate period. I've been pretty good with those, but I have saved far more with Internet rebates on cash-back sites.
It works like this: you sign up on the site (free), and then you click through the site to go to the Internet store where you were planning on shopping anyway. They track your purchase and return a percentage to you. Some mail you a check automatically after you reach a certain dollar amount, and some require a request from you. Usually, coupons and promotional codes for the individual stores are also accepted, but sometimes they will only take those listed on the rebate site. Some of my favorites are: Mr. Rebates, Ebates, Fat Wallet, and Cashbaq. There are often daily double rebates on selected sites.
And don't worry -- you won't have to keep track of all that yourself. There is a comparison site, cashbackmonitor.com, updated daily, that lets you see at a glance which rebate site offers the greatest percentage back for the store where you're shopping. No stamps required!
A former state deputy attorney general and current stay-at-home mom, Recession Mama Michele Ashamalla has three kids and ten years of experience stretching one salary to cover the necessities and more. She's all about saving money whenever you can, so you have it to spend on whatever you want!