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South Texas Living

Tips form the Coupon Queen: Readers question BOGO sales

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CTW Features
January 16, 2013 | 2,857 views | Post a comment

My readers often ask about Buy One, Get One Free sales. Here are some recent BOGO-related questions in my inbox.

Dear Jill,

Can I stack Buy One, Get One Free coupons during a Buy One, Get One Free sale? I think my store allows this, but I am not sure how it works.

-- Bryan A.

Dear Bryan,

This is one of my favorite super-couponing techniques! Using a BOGO coupon on a BOGO sale can be a little confusing, but you’re going to love the outcome because it often equals two free items.

Here’s how it works: When a store has a BOGO sale, it typically works one of two ways. Either the first item in the sale rings up at full price and the second sale rings up at $0, or both items ring up at half the original price. Here’s how each of these examples work:

Example 1: My store has packages of disposable razors on sale for $8.49, Buy One, Get One Free. I have a coupon that carries the statement, “Buy one package of disposable razors, get one free.” The coupon has a maximum value of $8.99. At this store, the first package of razors rings up at $8.49, and the second package scans as $0. Now, here comes the coupon! When the coupon scans, it pays for the price of the first package of razors, taking $8.49 off at the register. The second package of razors is already free because of the store’s sale. Keep in mind that in most areas, sales tax is figured into a pre-coupon total, so I took home two packages of razors for nothing but tax.

Example 2: My store has packages of crackers on sale for $3, Buy One, Get One Free. I have a coupon that carries the statement, “Buy one package of crackers, get one free.” At this store, both items ring up at half price during a BOGO sale. Each package shows up as $1.50. When the coupon scans, it pays for the price of one box of crackers, taking $1.50 off at the register. I pay $1.50 for two, the cost of the remaining box. You’ll notice in the second example that even though the sale was labeled as BOGO, neither box was actually free.

Dear Jill,

Every time I use a BOGO coupon on a Buy One, Get One 50 Percent Off sale, I never know what I’m going to have to pay. Help!

-- Cora Y.

Dear Cora,

When a store has a Buy One, Get One 50 Percent Off sale, it’s hard to know what you’ll actually pay. Let’s say a store has shampoo on sale for $6, Buy One, Get One 50 Percent Off and I have a, “Buy one hair care product, get one free” coupon. The first bottle of shampoo scans at $6, and the second bottle scans at $3. Now, when the Buy One, Get One 50 Percent Off coupon is scanned, the mystery begins! Will the coupon pay for the price of the more expensive $6 bottle, or will it pay for the less expensive $3 bottle?

Believe it or not, there’s no correct answer here. The cashier gets to decide. If it’s applied to the $6 bottle, I’ll pay $3. But if it’s applied to the less expensive $3 bottle, I will pay $6.

I understand the frustration of not knowing what the outcome will be, so I usually approach these sales with the understanding that I’m okay paying either price. If I’m not, I’ll sit the sale out.

Jill Cataldo, a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more about couponing at her website, Email your own couponing victories and questions to

© CTW Features

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