Pros: Lots of great deals inside
Cons: newsprint, bimonthly, most info can be found for free on the web
Shortly after making the decision to be an At-Home Parent I sat down and looked at where all our money was going. One area that I identified as a place to save money would be to refund (use coupons, do rebate programs, etc). After a few months of "doing it on my own", I realized that a big part of "saving the big bucks" came about from a bit of networking. There are a plethora of money-saving community sites and groups online, as well as publications dedicated to this very subject. For some it is merely a hobby, for others its a way of life. For myself, I'm somwhere in the middle. The biggest reason I do it is to save money and help stretch our dollar because we are a single income family. But, also a big part of why I refund is that I find it a challenge to see how much I can get for little cost, or even better.. FREE!
The first refunding publication that I subscribed to was Refunding Makes Cents .
I was pretty happy with Refunding Makes Cents, but a few friends kept telling me that they liked Refund Express better than RMC, so I decided to check it out.
Refund Express is a bi-monthly magazine which tells you "everything you need to know about couponing and refunding". Each issue is around 150 pages on newsprint type paper, staple bound. A subscription for 1 year (6 issues) is around 22 dollars for a standard subscription which includes internet access, and the bi-monthly magazine mailed 2nd class. Other subscription quantities are available and listed on their website. If you are looking to purchase a single copy to check it out expect to pay between 4 and 6 dollars (if you want it mailed first class). They offer a subscription for online only access for 6 or 8 months, or paper magazines (which come standard with online access as well) from 6 months to 3 years. I opted for the 1 year subscription mailed second class since I couldn't justify paying an extra 15 dollars to have it mailed first class for the year.
Inside Each Issue
Each issue contains the following:
-Listing of new refund offers (more than 800 at last count)
-Over 50 pages of ads (for trades, etc there are well over 1,000 trader ads in every issue)
-Reader submitted articles (usually around 8-10 per issue)
-Contests (Scavenger hunts and drawings)
On the Companion Website
This website includes just about anything and everything you need for refunding. A few sections are under lock and key (password required) to subscribers of the magazine, including a section on printable forms & coupons, last minute offers, auto-test drives, and editor's spaces. However the rest of the website is free and open to the public. There are message boards for freebies, coupons, and more.
Compared to RMC
The biggest differences between Refund Express and RMC are obvious. This publication is bi-monthly vs RMC which is monthly. So instead of a monthly publication of around 80 pages, you get a bi-monthly publication that is about twice as thick, around 150 pages.
Definitely a more professional looking website than RMC, but equally as cluttered. Refund Express also makes more information available on their website to the general public. Few areas are members-only and accessible via a password that is provided in each magazine.
I'd have to say that the deals in RMC and RE are pretty much the same. So, if you subscribe to both be prepared to read a lot of redundant content. One difference, that is a result of the publication being bi-monthly is that you will find less short-dated deals than in RMC. I've also observed there are more ciggie promotions in RE and in RMC there are more alcohol promotions. Since I am one of those wholesome people who no longer smokes and rarely drinks neither of these sections do much good for me.
A large portion of Refund Express is dedicated to different contests. Some of these contests are run by other subscribers and others are run by the editors of RE. Contests range from simple drawings to elaborate scavenger hunts that challenge subscribers to pick up certain items and mail them in by a certain date. Proceeds from a current scavenger hunt are divided up between a charity and the winner of the contest.
Refund Express is definitely the larger publication dedicated to the subject but I'm not convinced its any better than RMC. They each have definite strengths and weaknesses but for the most part they offer the same thing. Both magazines are printed on the same horrible newsprint type paper which leaves me feeling filthy dirty after I read it. Honestly, I feel that for $20 a year they could print it on nicer paper. I don't happen to be big on the ads or reader trading and exchanges since I like to know the people who I trading with before proceeding but for some people this is not a problem. Also, I don't have time for contests so I skip those too. I find that personally the Refund-Express Website offers pretty much everything that I need and most of what I use is available in the Free areas.
I do recommend this publication to others who do refunding or who may be getting started to refunding. But, I'd recommend picking a single publication either RMC or RE since if you get both you are paying twice for a lot of the same information. For myself, I will probably stick with the website only access of RE once my paper subscription runs out.
For More Info
Review of Refunding Makes Cents