I've said before that using coupons is vital to getting the most savings at the grocery and drugstore.
You have to spend either time or money. You cannot avoid this. You will either spend the time cutting coupons and watching sales to save money or spend the money on just buying what you need when you need it to save time. That's okay if have more money than time. There is NOTHING wrong with that if that's where you are and where you want to be.
It's not where WE are, though. I'm a homeschooling mom with 3 kids trying to pay off medical bills. I sometimes run tight on time, but have more of that than I do money...and so we coupon!
The first step to saving money on your groceries is getting over brand-snobbiness (is that even a word?). Yes. I just called you a snob. Don't worry, I was a snob too...many, many years ago.
The truth is that many of the products with all their fancy names, descriptions, and claims...are really just the same product...with a couple of different flavor enhancers or side-ingredients that don't affect how the product works. If you're not convinced, go to the store and look at the ingredients.
I tell everyone that they need to make a list of things they MUST have a certain brand of...and this list will vary with every person. For example, you might just be SOLD on Dove soap whereas your neighbor is convinced that Ivory is the bomb. (Yes. I just said "the bomb". I blame it on the kids. Or my husband.) Or, you might be like me. I think Ivory and Dove are both fine, but if Olay is cheapest with a sale and a coupon...then I'm buying Olay.
There are some justified reasons for sticking to some brands. For example, my grandmother MUST have non-scented products. She also has very sensitive skin and prefers one lotion over the others. There's nothing wrong with having some brand preferences. Really, once you start couponing like I do, you'll have ALL brand-name products...and many different brands from which to choose.
The bottom line, though, is that the more flexible you are on which brand you buy, the more money you'll save. So make your list!
After you make your list of "must-have" brand-name items then carry that list with you for easy reference.
For everything else, buy whatever is cheapest. Don't worry about which store you're at. If you're at Wal-mart, buy the cheapest lotion or soap they have there. If you're at Target, do the same. The goal isn't to have you running to every store. It's to have you saving money where you already shop by being open to choosing other brands.
Remember that thanks to sales and promotions, the generic is often NOT the cheaper option. You'll want to check sizes, too. Sometimes the bigger size is NOT the cheaper size per unit; especially if a smaller size is on sale but the bigger one isn't.
Also, keep in mind that when you're not brand sensitive, what you buy might change from month to month. Colgate might be cheaper this month, Crest the next, then Colgate again the next. Be flexible; and you'll save more money!