Monday, October 13, 2008

Why I Buy Things I Don't Need

I have been asked many times why I would buy something that I don't need. I have one specific reason for doing it...I'm getting paid to buy it. My shopping philosophy in general is that I don't buy things I don't need, yet basically every week I come home with something that I will never even use. But when I am getting paid to buy something, there is no reason why I shouldn't. You may be wondering how I can get paid to shop. Here are several of the ways that I can actually earn money on the things I buy.

1. Overage
If a coupon is more than the price of the item I am buying, many stores will take the entire amount of the coupon off your total. If the price of the item is $1.00, and the coupon is for $1.50 off, I would make $.50 buying that particular product. It is especially easy to get overage at a grocery store that doubles coupons. If the item is $1.00, and you have a $.75 coupon, that coupon will double to $1.50, thus providing me with $.50 overage.

2. Catalinas
Many times a store will has a special promotion on a product, and if I buy that product, a coupon will print at the register for a certain amount off my next order. These can be a good deal in and of themselves, but when I combine a coupon with the product, I can actually spend less than the amount of the coupon that prints. A recent example of this would be Glade gel warmers. Food Lion had them on sale for $1.50, and a $2.00 catalina was printing for each one purchased. There were buy one get one free coupons out, so I could have purchased two, paid $1.50, and gotten back coupons worth $4.00 off my next order.

3. Shopping at CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid.
Each of these drugstores has their own programs. CVS has the Extracare bucks program, which you can learn about here. Walgreens has 2 programs - Register Rewards and rebates. Rite Aid has a rebates program. Many times these stores are promoting a certain item, and they will offer it "free after Extrabucks", "free after Register Rewards", or "free after rebate" on a particular week. If I use a coupon on that item, though, I will actually earn money on that item. For example, a couple weeks ago, CVS had a blood glucose monitor that was $14.99, but it gave back $5 in Extrabucks (a $5 coupon to use on another purchase). I had a coupon to get the monitor for free, so I paid only tax, and got $5 to spend on something else. (Find out more about Walgreens here and Rite Aid here.

4. Mail in rebates
Products often have "try me free" rebates, meaning that I'll get back the full price of the product. Buy those same products often also have coupons that can be used on them. If the product is $4.99 and I use a $1.00 coupon, I will only have to pay a total of $3.99, but I will get back $4.99 from the rebate. Sometimes there is a rebate for a product that I already got for free at one of the drugstores I mentioned. In that case, I would pay nothing, yet I would get back a rebate for the full price of the product.

I hope you all understand now my reasoning behind buying things I don't need. If the store or manufacturer wants to pay me to carry something out of the store, I will gladly comply! I can always find someone who needs the products I brought home. I'm happy because I got paid to bring the item home, and the person I give it to is happy because I'm giving them something they probably would have had to pay for.


  1. Please remember your local Free Clinic. They will accept any over-the-counter items that are not open, such as cough syrup, tylenol, childrens motrin etc. They provide dental and medical services for adults and children. Can you imagine not even being able to buy children's tylenol for your sick child? The Salvation Army centers provide meals for the poor and showers for the homeless, plus they distribute food baskets monthly. Since this is a stricly donation based organization, they can use everything from office supplies, cleaning supplies and food. I have found that donations are returned 10 fold, maybe not monetarily but sometimes with the greatest peace of mind (family situation improved). Now my concern is for the pets. I know that our Humane Society accepts food for the animals in their care but what about the pets of the people who can not feed themselves and rely on donations, where can they get pet food? Thanks

  2. Ask your local food bank if they will accept pet food donations for their customers with pets.

  3. I'm still confused over the glucose monitor thing...unless you're going to donate it, why get it unless you have diabetes? Just for the extra $5? I guess I'm of the thought that durable medical equipment should be purchased or gotten for free (or for a $5 OYNO coup) by someone who actually needs it and will use it.

  4. anonymous,
    Like I mentioned in the post, there is always someone I can give the products to. I know several people personally that I give the glucose monitors to as well.

  5. Quoting: medical equipment should be purchased or gotten for free (or for a $5 OYNO coup) by someone who actually needs it and will use it.:End Quote

    Not everyone who need monitors is able to get to the store or has access to coupons. So someone who can get them for free and give them away is doing a huge favor to those people especially those who are homebound.

  6. I'm fairly new to this whole ECB/RR/rebates world. I understand why you doit, but I'm having a hard time with how much time and effort goes into it.

    I use various websites that post the best weekly deals, so some of the legwork is dine for me, but it still seems like so much work. Any suggestions on how to be more efficient or organized about this?

    Thanks in advance...


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