Paper Saving: I try to save paper as much as I can, especially the patterned special papers I've found. One way I do so is by turning the sticky matt to get the most cutouts on a page. To do so, unload paper and turn the mat end to end. This way you can "fool" the Cricut machine into thinking there is alot of paper when it thinks it is at the bottom of a page, but you know your shape will fit.
Background Cuts: When you have a special paper but not enough to complete a full background cutout; cut out parts of the background where you have space, the Cricut machine will cut on blank areas but it's ok. When finished cutting, piece the cutouts together to form a full background, covered by the photo.
Cutting Tips: One of the Blogs that I follow has the best advice on how to successfully cut your designs using the Cricut; checkout her Blog Obsessed with Scrapbooking and her cutting guide: Obsessed with Scrapbooking: Cutting Guide.
White Cardstock: To save your beautiful papers for the actual cutouts; buy a stack of white cardstock. The price is very low and you can cut designs to your heart's content, practicing with size. I have actually used my white cardstock when I need a pure white paper.
The Blades: For cutting shapes and designs out of materials other than paper with your Cricut Personal Electronic Cutter Machine, make sure that you designate a specific blade, by that I mean, use only that blade for cloth and the rest for paper.
Cutting Cloth: To successfully cut cloth with a designated blade, make sure you sue a stiff iron-on backing and a clean panel to stick the cloth on for cutting. It is a bit tricky but can be done.
I purchased this glue and have loved it ever since. It doesn't pour out but is on a spongy tip. When you want a dot or a strip of adhesive you simply push it down once and a blue dot will appear on your cardstock. Then just slide it along for the strip. It comes out blue but dries clear and is so neat and tidy to use. I am able to use it on the smallest and most narrow strips of cardstock.