One store coupon per item
One manufacturer coupon per item
Best scenario is when an item is on BOGO (Buy One Get One Free)
You have 2 items that you are purchasing.
You can use 2 coupons on each item (1 store coupon, 1 manu coupon)
Ex) Ronzoni Pasta BOGO $1.75
Buy 2 = $1.75
Use 2 competitor coupons ($.75 each)
Use 2 manu coupons ($.50 each)
Total = $1.75 - (2 x .75) - (2 x .50) = -.75!!!!
That is OVERAGE!!!
Some stores wont accept overage and if an item comes up as a negative amount, they will reduce a coupon to cover the item without it equaling zero. You may have to pay tax depending on your state. Florida does NOT pay sales tax on food or medicine.
Overage is great! For one, anything better than free rocks! For two, you will likely have other things in your cart that don't have a coupon.
If for some reason you are buying something and you DONT have other stuff in your cart, you CAN get around this. Right now, Walmart has changed their coupon policy and allows overage and will in fact hand back cash. I wouldn't count on that lasting very long. However, you can almost always throw in a gift card to eat up the overage! Check out my best trip ever... I left in shock (Publix - $17 Overage on $183) I actually had to purchase a $20 Publix gift card so that they didn't hand me back cash. I paid $3 for that gift card!
I wont lie. That was a time consuming coupon clipping, organization and shopping trip. The cashiers sometimes shutter. It is sooo important to be friendly and happy when going through the line. Also be courteous to the shoppers behind you. Let them know that you have a coupon for literally everything in your cart. Some will walk away. Some will stick around to see if your efforts paid off. (It's great advertising for this blog! LOL)
Couponing does NOT take me very long anymore. I spend maybe 30 minutes a week putting together my grocery list and at most an hour doing the shopping. In the beginning I was so careful and precise and I added up my totals before I went out and I tried to replicate reader trips... the whole process took me hours each week.
Dont worry, it wont take you long forever. You just have to get your groove.