The following is an article from Faatima Evans, TLC Extreme Couponer.
1. Before you head to the grocery store, you should know exactly what your total will be before and after coupons if you did all your homework. Math is a HUGE part of couponing. There is nothing more humiliating than when your total before coupons comes to $700.00 and you end up paying $338.00, when you thought you were going to pay $100.00. This is the sound you will hear in your mind… “Womp, Womp!” Make sure you do your math before heading to the store!
2. Always make sure you check the expiration date and size restrictions on your coupons before heading out to the store. It will greatly affect your total if the coupon is expired. Make sure the coupon is valid and always get the correct size the coupon calls for.
3. It’s important to know that you don’t have to run out to do EVERY deal that comes along. Couponing is HARD work plus you don’t want to end up with stuff you will NEVER use (unless you plan on donating the item). You must have self-control. The purpose of couponing is to save money, but if you end up trying to take advantage of every deal — whether it’s a good deal or not — are you really saving money? Nope.
4. Always try to follow coupon etiquette. One way to follow etiquette is to avoid clearing shelves. Imagine that the closest Walmart is 30 miles from your home; you have done all the math, and checked the expiration dates on your coupons. Now, with your list in hand and your homework done, you get to the store and fin that someone has cleared the shelf. You have wasted time, energy and gas! Nobody likes “Shelf Clearers,” they give couponers a bad rap.
5. This is the most important thing to remember — you don’t have to use the coupon as soon as it comes out! Be patient and wait for the right sale. Learn prices on the products you use most so you can recognize a “stock up” price when you see it. If the stock up price doesn’t come around before the coupon expires… oh well… use your stockpile.