First, here are some common lingo translations...
OOP: Out Of Pocket
RR: Register Rewards ("Walgreens Money")
ECB: Extra Care Bucks ("CVS Money")
MQ: Manufacturer Coupon
BOGO: Buy One Get One Free
A BOGO Sale combined with a BOGO coupon equals 2 items for FREE.
Shopper's Cards are your friend, especially for CVS and Kroger.
Walgreens offers Register Rewards when you buy certain products. Register Rewards have a monetary value that can only be used at Walgreens. Treat them like cash and you will be on your way to greal deals! RR's are only printed once per transaction. For example, if a product is 2/$5 and receive a $2 RR and you have 4 products you must split your purchase into 2 transactions to receive both $2 RRs. Combining Manufacterer Q's with RRs make for great products for pennies. Wags does have a coupon to bar code ratio. So, if you have 3Q's and 2 RRs but only 4 products, you need to find a small inexpensive filler for like 10 cents or so. Wags does have their own in-ad q's and a monthly coupon booklet that CAN be combined with MQ's. The trick to this is that you need to hand over your MQ's first and then your Wags Q's so that the transaction will go through. Wags can be a deal mecca once you get the hang of it. Remember, have fun while you're learning.
CVS has a Shopper's Card that one has to sign up for but well worth it. They have Extra Care Bucks that you can earn on certain products. ECBs can be stacked but, they also good for only a month so keep that in mind when shopping. CVS is my favorite store and the easiest to begin with. Look for products that offer ECBs that you have coupons for and along with ECBs can make for many free products.
Sign up for Kroger's Shopping Card and along with Manufacterer Q's you can cut your grocery bill almost in half. Check your local Kroger for double coupons. My Kroger doubles up to and $0.50.
The key to shopping thrifty, is only buy what you use and being picky needs to be thrown out the window. Though there are some products that are my favorite that I can't live without in which, unfortunately I do pay full price for. But, I save so much in other ways, that buying my favorite brand of coffee creamer or Hellman's mayo doesn't bother me at all.
I hope you find my tips helpful and you're on your way to happy couponing!!