One thing you need to begin doing, if you haven't already, is ad shop your grocery store. This means you look at the ad, see what the best deals are, and plan your menu and list accordingly. Choose the proteins you want, I usually pick the fruit that is on sale that week to purchase, which also exposes my kids to new things and is not so boring. Once you have "ad shopped" find matching coupons. Don't just stick to what you have on hand, go to the internet and look at the manufacturer websites to see if they are offering any coupons for the products that you want. If they have coupons, youmight have to sign up for their newsletter. This is why I would reccomend a "junk email" email. That way your couponing won't get mixed up in your personal email.
If you are really looking to stretch your buck, you need to find a store that:
1) at least DOUBLES your coupons (up to .50). Tom Thumb triples up to .39 and doubles .40-.50. This means a .39 coupon is actually worth $1.17. Yes, awesome, I know :)
2) acccepts other manufacturer coupons. Tom Thumb says they do, but I was unable to use a Target coupon on Wednesday. I will try again, maybe if it is a Target coupon from an insert they will take it.
3) has BOGO. Unfortunately, Tom Thumb does not have good BOGO's. If you live by a Winn-Dixie, you might want to consider shopping there. Not only do they have BOGO's ( A LOT OF THEM) but they also accept TWO coupons per BOGO!! That is awesome. What that means is if pasta is on sale for BOGO for .75 and you have two coupons for .50 off of 1 pasta, not only will your coupon be doubled, but you will have TWO coupons doubled!! So, not only do you get both pastas free, you get OVERAGE, which is the goal of every frugal shopper.
4) allows overage. Tom Thumb does, Winn-Dixie does, Target does not :( Most grocery stores do accept overage. I have been reading a lot about this store called PUBLIX and I am EXTREMELY JEALOUS OF ANYONE WHO GETS TO SHOP THERE!! It is like heaven for us couponers. Overage is when you purchas an item and through sales, or store coupons, or manufacturer coupons, or in the trifecta of couponing, ALL THREE, you get the item FREE, the money from your coupons actually goes towards deducting the overall total of your bill. Yes, awesome, I have not been able to acheive this yet. There is a really good video on HIP2SAVE where the blogger Collin follows a reader on her shopping trip to PUBLIX. Let's just say she had overage, so much so her bill went INTO THE NEGATIVE!!! Most stores will not allow you to have a negative bill, so you will have to quickly gather up all of those trash gossip magazines you know you want and throw them on the belt :)
5) has their own store coupons that are stackable with manufacturer coupons. Tom Thumb has these, Target has these, Winn-Dixie does not. HOWEVER, since Winn-Dixie does AWESOME BOGO's, I think this negates the whole store coupon issue (or lack there of) since you are getting two for the price of one and with coupons, you are getting two items REALLY CHEAP. Stacking means if I have a Tom Thumb coupon for a specific item, I can use that coupon AND a coupon I either printed from the internet or stole from my neighbor's paper (just kidding!! just wanted to see if you were reading :) This means you can get an item for really cheap, especially if you have a coupon that is .50 or under and it is doubled or tripled. Last week, TT had yoplait parfait yogurt on sale for $1.49 w/ store coupon. I had a coupon for .50 off of one pack of yogurt. That's right, I got the "fancy" yogurt for only .49!!!! YUM!!
6) has a price adjustment policy. I just found out on Wednesday that TT does. I was checking out and realized I had left over $5.00 worth of coupons at home. The cashier told me to bring my receipt and the coupons back to customer service and they would adjust my bill :) That made me happy!! Ask customer service about this the next time you go to the store of your choice. And don't be afraid to ask them!! This is your money and if you are like me, you are saving this money for your family. Remember, every dollar you save goes toward your family in whatever way you choose to use it, so SAVE IT!!!
7) offers rebates, manufacturer coupon books, etc. This you need to check with your store customer service, but you need to do it. This is another way you can save money. More coupons means more money in your pocket. So when you are asking about the price adjustment police, ask them if they have any coupon books or know of an manufacturer rebates that you can have in on :) Like my mama always said, "it never hurts to ask" :)
I hope this helps!!! Eventually I am going to try to do coupon matching with TT ads, so if you live in Texas or by a TT, you can use that to help plan your shopping trips.