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Join in on the Jargon-fest

Name Brand Versus Store Brand

Store brands aren't always cheaper than name brands if you're diligent with your couponing. By combining coupons when prices are low, name brands often come out far ahead of their generic competitors.

The next step is to get familiar with coupon lingo and policies. Are your coupons stackable? (Meaning you can use a manufacturer's coupon in tandem with a store coupon.) Do stores in your area offer double coupon deals? (Meaning at certain times you can use a coupon and it'll be worth twice its face value.)

Next, brush up on the acronyms. OYNO? MIR? BOGO? You need to learn terms like these in order to maximize savings. We'll give you these three for free: On Your Next Order, Mail-in Rebate and Buy One Get One. But there are many more you may run across as you navigate the world of extreme couponing. Learn to talk the talk before you try to walk the walk.

You'll also want to get a handle on pricing. A "sale" doesn't always mean significant savings, so start keeping track of how much products typically sell for. There are also price-comparison Web sites which you can reference to tell whether you're getting the best rate. With a little practice, you'll get better at recognizing real savings.

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