TAMPA - Janet Paula's four boys will awake Christmas morning to find a minimum of 40 presents total.
What's her budget? $100.
That's right, and Paula has no fear of busting that number, as she did it last year.
What started out 3 years ago as coupon clipping to cut their grocery bill morphed into a money-saving passion that Paula estimates saved her family $17,000 last year alone.
How? Paula is loyal to two apps, iPhone friendly iBotta and iPhone and Droid compatible Endorse. Both actually pay consumers to buy certain products.
For instance, Paula bought two bottles of cough medicine that she needed. The app paid her $1.25 for each bottle. All she had to do is scan the receipt.
Paula says she earns about $120 a month using the apps. She picks up additional cash using Walgreens balance rewards.
Toys cost her pennies on the dollar. Paula strategically combines all the cash she's earned through the apps and rewards points with sales and coupons to maximize savings.
Paula, who is a stay at home mom, admits she spends three hours a day on the apps and couponing but says anyone can do this on a smaller scale. On top of the apps, she uses coupon blogs True Couponing and Hip2Save.