A three part series on using coupons wisely and effectively:
It's important to use coupons wisely, and not just run out and buy things just because there's a sale and you have a coupon for it.
Having said that there are the few and rare times to "purchase" items that are good Money Makers (MM), or provide overage. Because in these scenarios you are gaining and not losing anything. I love overages because they help bring my overall total down, and are especially excellent for more expensive items or Need List items. Even if it isn't something you need or would use, overage items will help you get the items you DO need.
MMs are similar to overage, you normally have MMs at the drugstores (CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid), or from Mail In Rebates (MIR). MMs at drugstores are items that you will receive an instore cash back after you purchase the item (CVS: Extra Care Bucks (ecb); Walgreens: Register Rewards (RR)). A mm will usually take place with the right combination of coupons and discounts. For example:
At CVS, let's say body wash is on sale for $3.99. After you pay $3.99, you will then receive an ECB for $3.00. Here's how this could be a mm. There's a manufacturer coupon (Q) for -$3/1 for the body wash. When you go to purchase the body you give them the coupon for $3 off the body wash, you only pay $.99 Out Of Pocket (oop), the store then gives you $3.00 back to spend on nearly anything in the store (there are usually a few limitations). In the end you turn $.99 into an extra $2.01, you can then use on items you need within that store, CVS in this example.
It's also important to not just use a coupon to use it. Unless it's an item you need, or there's an amazing sale, or it's a high value coupon and about to expire, don't feel obligated to use every coupon out there.
Also, it's important to not go through and toss out coupons you think you'll never use, which leads me into tomorrows discussion. . .