Shopping with coupons now has its own verb: "couponing." It also has websites where devotees swap strategies, share coupon codes and even sell actual clipped-out pieces of paper.

Shopping with coupons now has its own verb: "couponing." It also has websites where devotees swap strategies, share coupon codes and even sell actual clipped-out pieces of paper.

The best way to maximize coupons, diehards will tell you, is to use them on items that are already on sale.

Lacie Shipman once sent her husband to Walgreens with coupons. He came back with the items and 13 cents because he'd taken advantage of multiple offers and coupons, she said.

Shipman, a working mom to two young children who lives in Mount Gilead, learned the ropes from a friend who's "hardcore into couponing" - a stay-at-home mom who buys two newspapers each Sunday for their coupon sections and plots out each week's shopping based on what's on sale where.

"The point of couponing is, you kind of have to create a stockpile," Shipman said. "You're buying things you don't necessarily need right then. For instance, I have probably a dozen jars of spaghetti sauce because they were free or nearly free."

She suggests checking out MomsByHeart.net for advice on combining coupons and offers.

At her peak, Shipman was regularly saving 50 to 60 percent on her Kroger bill. Lately, though, she's been busy and has fallen behind on clipping coupons.

"There's huge savings to be made if you could just find the time to work on it," said Shipman, who owns Peanut Butter & Pickle, a product review site that posts coupon links and giveaways.

The average family spends $5,000 on food and household items each year, but they could save an average of 20 percent by using coupons, said Marybeth Loughlin, a savings expert with Smart Source. The coupon packet provider also offers printable coupons online at SmartSource.com.

Producers know coupons are more important than ever in this economy, Loughlin said. These days, companies are offering coupons that are worth more, don't expire as quickly and require shoppers to buy fewer items. Brands are trying to keep people from reaching for generic products, she added.

Online retailers and apparel stores also offer coupons and discount codes. Start your search at Printable-Coupons.Blogspot.com, which has coupons and tips in many shopping categories.