Extreme couponing is so last year — extreme rebating has transformed engineering student Jonathan Hood’s budget. Hood, a doctoral student in computer science and software engineering, used his engineering know-how to opt out of student loans and instead invested in items that come with mail-in rebates to pay for his tuition. He has earned 337 rebates for a total of $11,617 (all free-or-better items after rebate) this year, and has earned 729 rebates over the past three years.
“Using the knowledge I gained from the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering, I set up several websites like www.myecubby.com that give me a commission on books it sells,” explains Hood. “For the rebates, I wrote some computer programs that actively monitor websites for free-after-rebate deals, and other programs to keep up with the status of each of the rebates I have or will receive.”
By knowing which deals could be most profitable, Hood was able to stock-pile hundreds of free-after-rebate items such as laptop bags, antivirus software, paper, ink, computer components, Bluetooth headsets and other items that he knew would sell well on eBay. If the items did prohibit reselling, Hood donated them.