Have you ever been paid to shop? I know you’re probably rolling your eyes right now, thinking another one of those ‘too good to be true’ kind of deals. Well, I was honestly right there with you years ago. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that some deals can be so good, that literally you will come out ahead!! The very idea of walking into a store, paying nothing AND then earning a little bit for next time is so foreign, most people don’t even believe it’s possible. I’m here to tell you it happens, although not all that often!
An overage is the difference between an item’s actual value and the coupon’s face value. For example, let’s say you have a packet of tuna that’s on sale for $.50, and you have a coupon for $1. That’s a strange thing, right? What do you do? Well many stores will honor the $1 coupon even though the item only costs $.50!!! That means by simply using that coupon, you will earn $.50. Now when I say ‘earn’ the stores generally never give you money back, but what they do allow, is for you to get something additional that is $.50 and pay nothing!!
So, imagine a scenario where you have twenty $.50 coupons for tuna. You are earning a $.50 credit for each one off your bill simply by redeeming the coupon. After using twenty coupons, you have a $10 credit towards anything in the store! I go buy meat, chicken and other essentials that never have coupons and pay nothing! This is an important concept with overages. You must find things to ‘eat up’ the credit you have built up. The last thing you want is to get to the register and have a negative total. They zero it out and you lose the overage! Overages are rare, but they do happen.
Another important thing to remember is that an overage is a privilege not a right.
Stores can adjust down the coupon which results in a free item (not the worst thing that could happen lol). Some store’s registers are programmed to automatically “adjust down the coupon” to the price of the item, which means no overage, but you still get the item for free.
Many people have asked me pointedly why stores would do that!? Stores allow overage because they will get reimbursed by the manufacturer when they submit the coupons. The coupon will get submitted to a coupon clearinghouse, a machine scans it, and then returns the face value of the coupon back to the store! Some stores allow overages because they aren’t losing money; they are simply passing that savings onto you, the shopper.
The other more common way to ‘make money’ at the store is by finding a ‘money making’ deal. These deals are all over from CVS to Walgreens to many major grocery stores! Let’s take what I’m doing right now at the store. I’m shopping at my local grocery store for Kraft Salad Dressing. Currently it’s on sale for $2. I have a $1 off one coupon from the manufacturer and a $1 off one coupon from the store. They are combine-able, so the dressing is free! Most people would be happy to get free dressing, but wait, there’s more!! When you buy four Kraft Dressings, you get a $3 catalina back to use on your next order.
So let’s stop and think about what is happening here. I purchased four bottles of dressing. I paid nothing because I had coupons and then the store hands me a $3 coupon for my next trip!? WOW. So what if I did 40 dressings instead of just 4?! I would actually make $30 in catalina coupons for my next shopping trip!!! By simply purchasing salad dressing, I can then turn around and buy things like meat, milk and eggs and spend nothing!
What to do with 40 bottles of salad dressing? Well you could fill up your bathtub and rule like Caesar but most just donate it to needy food-banks! Your goal is to obtain the $3 coupon in order to use on milk, meat, fresh produce, or other weekly essential items!! Making money at the store is an amazing thing. Most don’t believe it until they try it for themselves. Generally you won’t ever make much, but simply coming out ahead is fantastic!!
A final note, overages and moneymakers are rare, and in some areas of the country literally unheard of. Just like coupon policies overages vary from store to store, region to region. Overages also vary in success rates. When you find a potential overage, understand that you may not get it. Overages are not a right, they are a privilege, so keep that in mind. Moneymaker deals are a little more common, but still not an everyday thing. They are exciting to find, but keep in mind that these deals are great but often times very rare.