If you have visited any coupon blogs you have probably seen the term "money maker" or "MM." This means (supposedly) that you got back more money than you spent. The reason that I don't like this is because many times it gives people a false impression because they are subtracting any earned register rewards, gift cards, or extra bucks from their total. Confused? Here is a scenario:
Let's say that Tampons are $7 at CVS and you get a $7 Extra buck with purchase, let's also say that there was a $1 off printable coupon online (there was a similar deal to this last week.) Okay, so you pay $6 plus tax and receive a $7 extra buck. Some people call that a $1 money maker.
Now, if you used extra bucks from a previous week to pay for it, it would be a "money maker" because you spent nothing or very little out of pocket. If you actually spent $6, then you SPENT SIX DOLLARS. It's great to have the reward for next week, but those rewards can be lost or forgotten about (especially for newbies.) I also see people counting rewards TWICE. The day they get them and the day they spend them, this doesn't make sense at all. For me, I count whatever CASH I spend out of pocket as my total spent. If I have rewards left over from last week (and I usually do) this total is little or nothing. Last week I spent $.04 at CVS at Walgreens ($.03 at CVS, $.01 at Walgreens) because of leftover rewards.
Why is this a big deal? Well it isn't, but I think some people who are new to couponing get confused or discouraged because their actually expenses seem higher than what they see online. To me, counting the CASH that I spent makes the most sense. Now there are true "money makers" out there. For example Wal-Mart will give you money back if your coupons go over your total amount. I've never done this personally because I use overage toward other items. Also if you use your Extra Bucks from last week at CVS, spend little or no cash and come out with more Extra Bucks than you went in with, that is also a "money maker" (even if it is paper money.)
I think that anyone who is keeping track of their total expenses and savings should keep this in mind. Saving money is great, but we shouldn't trick ourselves into thinking we are saving more than we are!