File this one under “Why didn’t I think of that?”: A student attending Auburn University to get his PhD figured out a way to cut way down on his tuition expenses by amassing thousands of dollars in rebate checks and prepaid debit cards. After punching in the numbers on anywhere from 200 to 250 debit cards he received as rebate payments along with $1,000 in rebate checks, he’ll only have to pay $450 out of pocket for this semester’s $4,500 tuition.
It all started when his dad took him shopping on Black Friday for video games, reports Business Insider.
“My dad kind of got me hooked,” he said. “We stood in line early in the morning and I found out then I could get the games I wanted for either really cheap or for free [with mail-in-rebates].”
From then on, he’s basically refused to buy something without getting a rebate — and there are plenty of opportunities where a product is free after the mail-in rebate. He’s even paid his $95 cell phone bill each month with such offers.
In this case, slow and steady definitely wins the race, as the rebate game takes awhile to pull off. There’s the buying of the item, then filling out the forms and mailing them in, followed by waiting for the money to show up. He also uses a cash-back credit card to amp up the effectiveness of his scheme.
Here’s how it works:
“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.”
Now he’s just got to get to work saving up enough rebates for next semester. We wonder when he has time to actually study and go to school what with all that rebating going on.
Genius PhD Student Paid His Tuition With Mail-In-Rebates [Business Insider]