This week Frys (aka Kroger) is bumping up all coupons to equal one dollar (or the cost of the item which I discovered with my yogurt). Basically if you have a coupon for Blistex you can get it free (since it's on sale for a dollar).
I also bought toilet paper 28 rolls for 2.03 because I had a 25 cent coupon for Angel Soft with a minimum of four roll pack purchase. Since I dumpster dived for the coupons, I had seven of them. They are on sale for 1.29 for the four roll pack. Which means I literally paid .29 for a four pack of tp. That's roughly 7 cents a roll.
Looking at the shelves the lowest at-cost value for a four pack of toilet paper is 89 cents. I paid nothing for the coupons and saved a small fortune on something that you use a small bit of and uh hum...dispose of thereafter. Hopefully it will last until the next sale. We use about four rolls a week (roughly it varies). And sales tend to circulate about 6-8 weeks for these type of items.
Last week Kleenex was on sale and this week Puffs is (although not as big a sale).
Man my neighbors are just throwing money away.
In addition I got a small Frappe from McD's for free. They didn't even charge me tax (which is surprising). It was a local coupon and no purchase necessary.
So my advice:
Think seasonal. Stock up for what you think you need for 6-8 weeks or a year depending.
Look at the ads and think in terms of what store doubles/triples your coupon or offers a gift card (Target does) or has good catalinas (that's a coupon that prints at the register) or will accept a manufacturer coupon along with a store coupon (Safeway). Learn what their rules are and stay up to date because they do change like with Fry's this week. Normally they double everything up to a dollar. But now my 25 cent coupon is really a dollar (just this week).
Decide what's a steal and what's a pass. Compare to the generic. Sometimes even with some coupons it's cheaper.
Look online for printable coupons. Write notes to your favorite brands. They sometimes will have reward programs or will offer to send you coupons in the mail.
Buy the smallest item possible (since sometimes it's cheaper) and use multiple coupons. My toilet paper is a good example. A 16 roll package would not have saved me as much money as buying 4 four packs. I know that seems so backwards to me. I used to think you could only use one coupon and so you wanted to use it on the biggest item. And that is so so so wrong. Unless the coupon limits you to so many coupons per day, you can use as many coupons as you like so long as it follows the guidelines. Which is why I could use seven coupons on multiples of the same item.
Also ignore the picture. If the coupon says "any" it means any. So it may say "any" Shamrock dairy item and have a picture of a gallon of milk, coffee creamer, and half and half. But it will include anything from butter to sour cream. The coupon picture is misleading. And sometimes even cashiers get that part wrong. But any is any and that also means the size unless it excludes it or says on a certain type of course.
(I know way to many ellipsis right? Bare with me I'm having to unlearn all the wrong crap I learned about couponing. Like I said before, the blog is my brain.)