I'm still learning a lot about this whole thing, but you can always learn more, right? The first rule to saving money with coupons is to save your coupons and use them when the item goes on sale! This will drastically increase your savings potential! And make sure to stock up at this time, that way you have enough of the product to last until the item goes on sale again. After watching ads for a few months, you will find that most items come back around on sale on a pretty consistent schedule! This will help you to plan your stock up amount.
Next, gather up as many coupons as possible, buying multiple papers, more when the inserts are large or there are more than usual. I typically buy 3, but if the inserts are really good, I'll pick up 4-5! ( You can get the Sunday paper at most Dollar Tree's for $1) Always hold on to all of your inserts until they expire, even if there are coupons you don't think you'll use. They may come in handy for "overage" or it may be an item you can get for free, and what better time to try a new product than when it's free!
There are also plenty of internet printable (IP) coupons available, but be sure to print them when you see them, because if you wait til you need it, it may be gone! And remember, most coupons will only print 2x's per computer. Most reset periodically or at the beginning of a new month.
Find out if your store doubles coupons, and if so, up to what amount. This, too will increase your savings. Also check to see if your store accepts competitors coupons and who they accept as competitors. And always be on the look out for your stores "store" coupons, you can use these along with a manufacturers coupon (mq), which are the coupons you'll find in the newspaper as well as on the internet. Most MQ's are clearly marked manufacturer coupon. You may use 1 MQ and 1 store coupon (if you have one for your store) per item, even when it's on sale, this is called "stacking."
Also, start shopping at your local Walgreens, CVS or Rite Aid for incredible savings. These stores almost always have store coupons that can be stacked with a MQ. Walgreens puts out a monthly saving booklet each month filled with Walgreens coupons. I recently got Crest Toothpaste (the big tube) reg. price $2.59, for .09 cents. I used a Walgreens Q (coupon) for $1.50/1 Crest and stacked it with a MQ for $1/1 Crest. I had a total of $2.50 in coupons toward Crest that cost $2.59! Can't beat .09 cents for Crest! Also, sign up for CVS's savings card and you can scan for Q's each time you go into the store and save big with they're Extra Care Bucks (ECB's) that work as cash in store. Walgreens has a similar system of "cash back," register rewards, that can be earned and used in store on your next purchase. To learn more about saving at CVS go HERE
To learn more about saving at Walgreens go HERE.
I also LOVE saving at Target, especially with the Gift Card deals they offer weekly! The best way to save with the GC purchase is to make your initial GC purchase, and hold on to the GC you earned til you make another GC purchase, then use your current GC on the purchase and earn a new one. Hold on to that one til you make the next GC purchase...and so on like that. In other words, I always have a $5 Gift Card in my wallet for my next $5 GC purchase. It's even better when you have coupons to use along with a Gift Card purchase. Recently Venus Razors were on sale for $6.99 each, plus a buy 2 get a $5 Gift Card deal. I had (2) $2/1 Venus Razor Q's and (2) "buy 1 Venus Razor Get 1 Olay Body Wash free' Q's. After all coupons and using my $5 GC from a previous purchase, I spent $4.98 on (2) Venus Razors and (2) Olay Body Washes, thats less than the price of 1 Body Wash!!!
Another GREAT way to save is with REBATES! I love getting "free" money in the mail for purchases I would've made anyway, and a lot of the time, after all the coupons used in my purchase, the rebate MORE than pays me back what I spent on the product. I'll keep a running list of Rebates posted or a link to a list! I have learned, though, to print the Rebate form when i see it, because they can be hard to find near the end of the rebate period!
Also, always sign up for any coupon booklets available to be sent to you by mail, its just more free coupons that can be used. And MOST of the time, the coupons booklets send by manufacturers seem to have more high $ amount coupons in them.
It also might be a good idea to get a separate email address if you plan on signing up for booklets and freebies, or if you become a "registered member" of certain sites in order to get coupons. Most of these sites will require you to sign up for some kind of email newsletter in order to join, and I've found its easier to have it sent to another email rather than clog up the one I use regularly!
If there is something I didn't cover, or I wasn't clear on, let me know so I can help you be better informed...and happy saving to you!