Coupons! BOGOs! Discounts! If you're paying full price for something, you aren't trying very hard. Here are my methods for saving money.
For everday grocery store purchases, subscribe to the Sunday paper or visit these sites weekly for click-n-print coups:
These are the same companies who put out the coupons found in the paper, so if there's a coup for something you buy a lot of, go online and print out a bunch more! I recommend getting a coupon organizer and coming up with logical categories so it's easier to find what you are looking for. Some of mine are Fruit and Veg; Meat; Fibery stuff (eg, bread, cereal, granola bars); Dinner stuff (soup, pasta, kits); and Household (cleaning supplies, toilet paper, ziplock bags). I've seen some really cute coupon organizers in stores recently, like this one from Francesca's.
City-specific Daily Emails
Groupon started it all. Now I also get LivingSocial, CrowdCut, DealStork, and STeals (from the Star Tribune). I suggest being selective with what you buy--things that are actually a good deal, and things you will use. I like the discount to be more than 50%. Make sure you read the fine print (some restaurant deals exclude the busiest days of the week or the happy hour menu) so you know what to expect.
Amanda and I bought a couple Groupons to RollerDome at the Metrodome last spring.
Events and Activities
Goldstar sends out weekly emails for usually 50% off plays, comedy, and other stuff. Many theaters do $20 student rush a couple hours before showtime. or get on their mailing list and be on the lookout for discounted shows!
The fact that you have to pay to get into the MN State Fair sucks, but you can get tickets for $2 less in advance at Cub Foods (the deadline for that might have passed as the fair starts tomorrow), or find out if your place of work (or someone else's) can get even cheaper tickets. Also, buy a Blue Ribbon Bargain book for $4 at Cub ($1 less than at the fair!) to save monies on all the yummy food you were going to buy anyway! (I know the concept of buying coupons seems stupid, but sometimes you've got to spend money to make money!)
Also those big Entertainment books that retail for $25-35 are a good deal if you actually go out a lot or have a big family. I'm always afraid I will never remember to use the coupons before the year is up! A good idea might be to split the cost with some friends, family members, or co-workers, then more coups would get used.
You never know what stuff these sites will have for sale every day, but if you like designer clothes and accessories, you can save a ton (unless you actually like your money and you don't buy things at designer prices anyway). I joined (for free) Beyond the Rack and have bought a few things off of it (shipping is not cheap though so I try to combine items from multiple events).
I got this shirt from BtR, and wore it to Tiger Sushi II to help Rhiannon use her Groupon! Here's a site my sister referred me to: Ideeli.com
If anyone needs a referral to one of these websites, leave your email in the comments and I'll send it your way!
Another cool website in the Twin Cities is Pocket Your Dollars, which aggregates coupons and deals from multiple sites into one place. at Restaurant.com you can browse through discounted gift cards for local eateries (generally to use yourself).