1. Stock up when things are on sale
We get in the habit of making our grocery list based on what we run out of (or what the kids beg for!), and end up paying whatever the store happens to be charging this week. Instead, stock up when things are on sale. Most grocery store items hit their lowest price every 2-3 months -- so, if your store, say, has granola bars on super-saver special for $.99 this week, grab enough to last you 2-3 months until they hit that rock-bottom price again. That way, you won't run out and end up paying $2.50 for the very same box next week. Be sure to use a coupon to stretch your dollars even further!
2. Look for coupons online
Visit big coupon sites like Coupons.com and SmartSource.com to print out coupons for hundreds of products right from your computer. Not enough there? Visit the manufacturer's website for more. Companies from Betty Crocker to Stonyfield Farm put coupons online for their customers to print, so you can save at the store on everything from fruit snacks to cereal to organic yogurt.
3. Find a local "deals" blogger to follow
While you're online, look for coupon bloggers who cover your local area. Over at MashupMom.com, for instance, I write up the Chicagoland grocery (and national drugstore) deals each week, telling you the best things to buy and where to find the coupons that match up. Do a quick Google search for deals at your local store (search Safeway deals, Kroger deals, Acme deals) or check out the BeCentsAble Grocery Gathering for bloggers in your state. These folks do all the work for you, for free, so all you need to do is follow their advice.
4. Double up savings
Saving once is great. Saving twice on the same item? Even better. No, you can't use two paper manufacturer coupons on one product. But, did you know that you can use a store-issued coupon plus a manufacturer coupon on the same item? One comes from the store as a store discount, the other from the manufacturer -- two different pots. Always check your ads and your grocery store website for store coupons, and sign up for their email list while you're there to take advantage of any emailed coupons.
5. Stack 'em up with e-coupons
Then, stack those savings up even more! Check out electronic coupons you can load right onto your grocery store loyalty card, which come off right at the register, no clipping required. Visit Shortcuts.com and Cellfire.com, set up an account, and pick the coupons you want to add. And, check it out -- most of these let you use a paper coupon on the items, too. Saving twice or three times on one item? Does it get any better?