Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Rebates in a Material World

A few weeks ago I broke down and bought a new phone, a really nice one!  The purchase price was a bit hefty, but it promised a rebate.  I love a rebate, and quickly sent in the form.  Last week the "rebate" arrived.  Gone was the familiar check I am used to seeing. In its place was a VISA card; it is "worth" $100.  Sadly, I cannot deposit it into my savings account, which is what I normally do with rebates. No, it has no cash value.  It designed to be spent.

This really irks me.  And is another annoyance I have with US Cellular.  Now that they've gone to a no-contract plan, I am going to be looking around for other options.  Until then, I have to figure out how to spent this $100.  I made the purchase through my legal practice, and most of my expenses are for fixed items: rent, salary for an assistant, bar dues.  None of which can be paid with the rebate card.  It also expires in October, so I don't want to let it slip my mind.

Beware readers.  Rebates are no longer what they used to be. They are designed to get you to spend.  We are living in a Material World!


  1. You could use it to pay down your phone bill, or transfer $100 from your checking to savings and use that card as your grocery money for the week. It doesn't need to go to a frivolous or extra expense. Some cards even have the option to get cash using them at an ATM. Not a total loss! We use our "points" on our credit card in a similar manner - instead of redeeming them for "rewards" we use them to pay down the balance of the card.

    1. Elizabeth -- Thanks for the comment. I did exactly what you described; used the card to pay for household expenses and transferred the amount to my business account. It is now used up; no more need to keep track of it. I'm going through an anti-credit card phase, and was disappointed to see a rebate come in this form. The forces are for people to spend, not save, and I see grave problems with that. More later this week as I review a book on women and money.