BOGO and beyond: How to get more for less

BOGO and beyond: How to get more for less

Recently, we discussed ways to use buy one, get one free coupons on BOGO sales to achieve maximum savings. Readers popped up with additional questions about these valuable coupons. Listen in and learn how to start saving more.

Dear Jill,

With a BOGO sale, can I use one coupon on each item I'm buying or just on the free one? — Danielle P.

Dear Danielle,

In most cases, you can indeed use a coupon on each item purchased in a BOGO sale. Let's revisit a couple of the scenarios we discussed last week and plug in your information.

Example 1: My store has packages of disposable razors on sale for $8.49, buy one, get one free. At this store, the first package of razors rings up at $8.49, and the second package scans as $0.

I have two $2 coupons for the razors. This store allows one coupon to be used on each item purchased in a BOGO sale, including the free item. When each $2 coupon is scanned, the price drops to $4.49, so I'll pay $4.49 for the two packages.

Example 2: My store has packages of crackers on sale for $3, buy one get one free. At this store, both items ring up at half-price during a BOGO sale. Each package of crackers rings up at $1.50. I have two 50-cent coupons for the crackers. I use one on each item and pay $2 for both, or $1 each.

Stores that sell each item for half-price during a BOGO sale typically will allow you to "split" the sale. Imagine I had a $1 coupon and only wanted to buy one package of crackers, because I didn't have a coupon to use on the second package. With this sale structure, I would pay 50 cents after the coupon and not have to buy the second package.

Check your store's coupon policy to determine how your store structures BOGO sales. Some stores do not allow a coupon to be used on the free item in this situation.

Dear Jill,

If I have a buy one get one free coupon, can I still use a second coupon on the first item I am buying, the one the BOGO coupon doesn't apply to? I mean, I'm paying full price for it. My store policy says it's fine, but sometimes the coupons don't scan right. — Sherri C.

Dear Sherri,

Depending on the store's policy and the way the coupons are coded, you may, indeed, be able to use both coupons. Let's use another example: My store has dog treats on sale for $2 per box. I have a buy one box, get one box free coupon for the treats. I also have a $1 manufacturer coupon.

I will use the $1 coupon on the first box and the BOGO coupon on the second box. This leaves me paying just $1 for both boxes of treats — a price that I (and my dog) can get excited about.

But what might stand in the way of this deal? Some stores' coupon policies prohibit shoppers from using a dollar-off coupon in conjunction with a BOGO coupon. Additionally, some BOGO coupons are coded in such a way as to discount one of the items while prohibiting a dollar-off coupon from being used on one of the items in the transaction. Unfortunately, there's no easy way to ascertain how your coupon is coded. The only way to know whether it will work is to try the coupon at the point of checkout.

No matter how you BOGO, the bottom line is that with your coupons, you pay far less than someone who simply buys the items with no regard to sale prices or coupon discounts. My goal is always to cut the price of what I'm buying by 50 percent or more. High-value BOGO coupons are a big component in helping me achieve that goal.

Jill Cataldo, a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more about couponing at her website, http://www.jillcataldo.com. Email your own couponing victories and questions to jill@ctwfeatures.com.

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keleher3 wrote on August 07, 2012 at 6:08 pm

I had to chuckle reading this article!  I visited one of our CVS stores last Sunday because the store has BOGO for vitamins this week (yeah!).  I also had $2.00 coupons for same vitamin brand.  At the register, I handed the clerk my coupons and she started scanning them and abruptly stopped.  I asked her what was wrong, thinking I inadvertently had expired coupons.  But, no no...not the problem.  The clerk said I don't think you can use coupons on the free bottles of vitamins.....to which I responded that CVS coupon policy says that yes, I indeed can use them (wondering why she didn't know this as she has worked there a while).  So, she proceeds to scan the coupons and looks at me and states, "It may be policy but it is morally reprehensible."  Really??  I laughed right at her (couldn't help it).  I stifled myself from commenting though!!! ha

Moral of the story:  Do not let a clerk or manager intimidate you....plan ahead and know the store's policy.  A great website for this information is coupondivas.com under "Coupon Matchups".  The site lists coupon policies for almost every store/retailer.