Sunday, January 23, 2011

Paid to Shop Today...

Before I give you the promised list of money saving tips, I have a great example of how you can use coupons and store "bucks" to get paid for certain items you may shop for.  Perhaps you are familiar with couponing;   perhaps you are overwhelmed and decided it's too much work for you.  Don't give up!  It's not hard.
I don't coupon for food.   A lot of the big deals are for foods that I don't eat.  But I DO coupon for things like dental care, paper goods and other non-food items that can really put a dent in the budget.  I don't remember the last time I paid more than a dollar for floss, toothpaste, mouthwash-and I certainly don't pay for my kids toothbrushes!  Razor blades are another huge cost but there are special deals for great brands of razors all of the time.
Today, at CVS, I was paid $2 to take home this Crest Pro Health Mouthwash.

Here's how it worked.  I get the Sunday paper (if you don't get it, I have a coupon code below where you can receive it for .50 a week!)...  Pulled out the ads for the grocery and drug stores.
On the front page of CVS, I saw this box...

 I then went to to see if there were any coupons that I could use toward this item.  Well lucky me!  $2.00 coupon in the Proctor and Gamble insert from the 12/26 Sunday Tribune.

I clipped it, took it to the store, picked up a bottle, paid $2.00 and received $4.00 back in CVS extrabucks (which is like cash and can be used on any item in the store).
I also picked up some makeup.  Spend $10 get $4 back.   There is a coupon in today's paper for $2 off any Almay product.
It's $8.79 for a pack of eye color.  I found another for 75% off to get my total to $10.00.
I paid $2.25 each after my $6 dollar coupon and extrabucks savings.  Not too bad consider one costs $8.79!  I saved 75% on both!
It can be easy to get caught up in these deals and buy things you won't use.  Remember to only do this for items that you'll actually use!  For example- you can get $4 extrabucks when you buy two Fashion Toe Nails.  Seriously?  They have fashion toe nails now?  Don't be tempted to do all of these deals ;)

Before you run off to CVS, check out the list below of other great ways to save yourself some money...
Again, this list is not all from me.  It's a compilation of ideas from the healthy wallet women ;)

Ways to Get Coupons:
Newspaper – Chicago Trib (Sunday only delivered for .50/wk using coupon code X277), or purchase it at Dollar Store/Menards
In Stores – booklets available on displays

Printable & Electronic Coupons:

General Tips:
Spend cash -   research shows that you spend less when you spend cash
Shop only 1-2 times a week
Shop ahead – out of season
Shop from a list

  • ASK!  Ask for complementary upgrades on hotel rooms, ask for free shipping, ask for a store coupon if you don't have one, etc.
  • Stock-up on items when they are cheap.  Don't just by 2 shaving gels when they are cheap, buy 10!
  • Cook & bake from scratch.  Muffins, bread, pancakes, pizza, etc are virtually free when you have basic ingredients in your house.
  • Stay-out of the malls and stores.  Nothing makes you realize what you "need" more than a trip to the mall!
  • Shop for children's clothing for the next season when they are on clearance 
  • Use coupons for eating out or the entertainment book
  • Make lunches for kids and husband instead of eating out or buying school lunches
  • Buy meats at a bargain price and freeze
  • Find items for less then their price on ebay, craigslist, amazon 
  • Paid studies - Fieldwork in Schaumburg and  AIM Chicago which is in Schaumburg too, if you qualify these studies meet at various times and days
  • Don't pay full price for anything!
  • Find a "Couponing Buddy"!  Much easier to spot/shop deals when you compare notes with a friend.  And it's much more fun!
  • Baking Day - get together with a friend and spend a morning baking things that freeze well.  Possible items include many of the "convenience" baked goods you'd normally spend much more to buy packaged, such as muffins, waffles, cookies, granola, breads, breakfast bars, etc.
  • Food Swap – start a group where you prepare a freezable entrée for others and receive the same # of entrées in return
  • McDonald's sells treat coupon packs from time to time.  It costs $1 for 12 coupons for assorted free treats for your kids, including ice cream, fries, apple dippers, hamburgers - varies depending on the time of year.  A great way to give your kids a special treat from time to time!
  • Watch for prescription coupons in the ads from Walgreens, Meijer, CVS, Target, etc during the winter months.  Most times, you can get a $10 - $25 gift card for any new or transferred prescriptions.


  1. Great post and saving ideas! If you want to read more about the couponing trend, you may enjoy this:
    Also, these posts contain a lot of info about saving with coupons: and . Enjoy!

  2. LOVE CVS! I've been playing their game for two years now. I have a tote FULL of body wash, shampoo, deodorant, hair styling products that I was either 'paid' to take or paid VERY little (like $.50/ea or less). I'll buy things I don't use if I can make money. Then I find someone to give it to or make more money by selling it at our annual garage sale!

  3. Don't mock the fashion toe nails until you've tried them!

  4. Christy, I better not be getting fashion toe nails for my birthday.

  5. GREAT list of tips! Don't forget the ever-popular kids clothing swap! ~ Sara at thredUP


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