Some people pay for golf balls, or other merchandise, by drinking their favorite soft drink.
Others take vacations by using points accumulated with business travel.
Many others buy a newspaper to clip the coupons that help them get free meals at restaurants.
In other words, people buy what they want or need and use the benefits of that to get other things they want.
"Using" your spending to get more of what you want is not new.
Forty and 50 years ago, people collected trading stamps every time they bought groceries or other merchandise.
They would lick the stamps and put them in books.
When they got the right number of books, they took them to special stores and traded them for merchandise.
Of course, coupons from newspapers, magazines and even through the mail are among the traditional ways to spend to your advantage.
Over the years, we have seen the birth of membership clubs that provide those who join savings on things that they would buy anyway, be they necessities or pleasure items.
Product makers have cut deals with other manufacturers or service providers to allow consumers of one set of products to get special deals on items made or sold by others.
Drink enough Coke or Pepsi, record numbers from caps or cases and collect points toward merchandise from Nike and other dealers online.
BUDGET WISELY When setting a household budget, figure out not only what you use, but how to use that product to get other things.
When determining where to buy, figure how you can put money back in your pocket by shopping at specific stores.
Will buying something online, and getting it shipped to you, save you money? Or will it get you something else for free, or nearly free? If you use a credit card, perhaps find one that gives you something back - even cash -- for what you spend.
Of course, don't forget to keep your credit card balances under control.
So spend, and score points that will get you other things.
Don't buy what you don't need or want, but get what you need or want and enrich yourselves.
A penny spent can turn into pennies earned, if you pay attention.