One of the questions I hear most often is, How do I know I'm getting the best price? Here's my standard. Whether buying a bottle of barbecue sauce or a winter coat, my goal is always to cut the price by half or more.

While I love to get “crazy” deals (such as matching a $1 coupon to that barbecue sauce when it goes on sale for $1!) my usual goal is to cut the price of products I purchase in half.

When you use this simple rule of thumb, it becomes easy to recognize when an item falls into a good “buy” range. While you may find that over time your range of savings will fall a little over or a little under this mark, it's a good one to aim for. When shopping for groceries, you're most likely to achieve that goal by combining a sale and coupon.

For example, I purchased a 12 double-roll pack of name-brand toilet paper. Its regular price was $7.99 but it was on sale for $4.99. With a $1 coupon, I cut the price to $3.99 — half-price! I knew this was a good buy, too, because the per-roll price hit my personal “buy” benchmark for toilet paper: less than 25 cents per single roll, less than 50 cents per double roll or less than $1 for a mega roll. I paid about 33 cents per double roll, a very good deal.

Of course, when a good sale comes around, you'll want to stock up as much as you can. I had four coupons for the toilet paper sale, so now I have plenty in the house until the next great sale.

Want another example? I also stocked up on pasta. A popular brand was on sale for $1 per box, down from $1.50. I had coupons good for $1 off the purchase of two boxes that dropped the price from $1 to 50 cents per box! That's a drop of about 66 percent, even better than cutting the price in half!

Many clothing and general-merchandise stores offer coupons and sales, and putting the two together often results in taking products home for great prices.

Stores shift inventory so often that it seems there's always something new hanging around at the back of the store, waiting for someone to come and browse for deals. Recently, I received a coupon good for 20 percent off from a major clothing store.

In the boys' department, I spotted some great buys for my sons. Long-sleeved shirts were on clearance for $3, marked down from $10. With the 20 percent off coupon, the price dropped to $2.40!

What price are you willing to pay? Your goal may be different from mine. Achieving a 20 percent or 30 percent savings may be your goal, and that's fine. Any money saved is better than paying full price!

Email jill@ctwfeatures.com.