I am a huge fan of shopping sales and using coupons to get great prices on things. I have a few tips that have helped me build up a stockpile and get great prices for the items. (If I even paid anything for them!)
1. Get the sunday paper. The coupon inserts have many coupons you can't find anywhere else. You can find coupons online but you really need the sunday paper to get the best deals. I would recommend a paper for each person in your household. That way you have a few coupons to build a stockpile. If you don't want that many papers, I would at least get two. The price of the sunday paper will be nothing in the end due to the amount of money you save from the coupons.
2. It usually takes 2-3 months to get the hang of using coupons. Don't get discouraged at first if it seems confusing or hard. It comes over time. :)(Walgreens was the hardest for me to get the hang of-I will have a post coming soon on shopping at Walgreens.)
3- Stock up on items that are extremely cheap or free. By buying a few of the items ahead of time, you won't have to run to the store when you need it and pay full price.
4- Make a savings goal. Try to save $20 dollars the first month and keep going lower and lower. We have got ours down right now to where we spend $200 a month for any shopping at all. Grocery shopping, toiletries, diapers, formula, etc. Not only in that budget should you be able to get all the necessities, but also to build up your stockpile.
5- Try paying cash for groceries. Once the money is gone its gone and thats all you have for the month. This way you will not go over your budget and will really try to find good sales.
6- When a good sale comes around, you don't need to buy a million of that item. If a good sale comes around on something, it will come around again.
7- Don't be loyal to just one store. If there is a sale on something at one store that you usually don't go to, go to it!
These are the main things that have helped me save money. You really can save a ton on items when a sale comes along and you can put a coupon with it. As far as non-food items, I never pay more than $0.50 for toothpaste, toothbrushes, shower gel, shaving cream, razors, deodorant, dish soap and paper towels. I constantly can find shampoo, conditioner, makeup (especially cover girl), toilet paper, laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, feminine products, medicine, baby products (diapers, formula, wipes, baby shampoo) all for around a dollar or two. Many of any of these items though often I get for free or they actually give me money back! You can get almost anything at a fraction of the price!! There is lots of other items you can get for a lot less but thats all thats coming to mind right now. :) You can also save on food items too! (A post coming on food items soon too.) I have been couponing for a year or so and have got a good stockpile in a small amount of time and paying nearly nothing for it. (I will post pictures soon. We are moving right now and lots is in boxes.) Any of you can do it too! :) I hope this has helped. If you have any questions you can e-mail me or leave a comment. :)