Don't leave rebates sitting on the table

See any good rebates lately? These money-saving offers are harder to find, but the ones that are out there can really help stretch your budget.

"While the sheer number of rebates is going down, we've found that the number of high-quality rebate deals is going up," says Lindsay Sakraida at dealnews.com.

Sakraida says tech products most often have high-value rebates. That's especially true right now for solid-state hard drives and computer software. It's not uncommon to find security software - from well-known companies - available for "free after rebate."

Free money is always good, so it would be silly not to take advantage of a rebate offer. But it's just as foolish to buy something with a rebate and not claim your money back.

Don't leave this money sitting on the table!

When you apply for a rebate, carefully follow all the instructions on the form and enclose all the required documentation.

Make a copy of all the paperwork you'll mail in. You'll need it if something goes wrong.

Put a note in your calendar to remind you when the money is due, so you can contact the company if you don't get it.

If the worst happens and you can't get the company to honor its rebate, file complaints with the Better Business Bureau, State Attorney General's office and the Federal Trade Commission.

For more information

Fewer rebates offered, but deals are getting better