Cool Ideas

BOGO - Buy One, Get One Free

by Stephanie Nelson

Question: How does it work when an item is on sale "buy one, get one free" and I have a coupon for the same item that is "buy one, get one free?"

Coupon Mom Answers: Great question! When that happens, you've hit the savings jackpot. The key is finding more "buy one, get one free" coupons and making these deals work to your advantage by knowing where to find more "buy one, get one free" coupons. Start by going to the Virtual Coupon Organizer at couponmom.com for your state (or a nearby state if your state isn't listed) and enter the term "buy one" in the search box at the top of the coupon list. You will get a list of every type of "buy one, get one free" coupon that has come out in your newspaper that is not expired. Print that list and have it on hand when you see "buy one, get one free" offers at your grocery and drugstores. Simply cut out the coupon you need when you find a match.

There are a few different ways these sales combine with coupons, depending on how the specific store charges for "buy one, get one free" sale items.

Here are three possible strategies to maximize your savings by "stacking" the "buy one, get one free" offers:

1) The register will charge full price for the first item and zero for the second item: In this case, if you had a "buy one, get one free" coupon the cashier may simply deduct the full price of the first item, and you would get both items free (100% savings for two items).

Example: $4 item is on sale "buy one, get one free"
You buy 2 items (full price $8), one rings up at $4 and one rings up at zero
Your coupon takes off the $4 item, so the final charge is ZERO for $8.00 worth of items (100% savings)

2) The register will charge full price for the first item and zero for the second item: If the store has a policy against giving two free items, then you should purchase four of the items, with two of the items ringing up at full price and two ringing up at zero. Then the cashier would use your "buy one, get one free" coupon to deduct the full price of one item. Result: Buy one item, get three free or a 75% savings overall for four items.

Example: $4 item is on sale "buy one, get one free"
You buy 4 items (full price $16), 2 ring up at $4 each and 2 ring up at zero (total $8.00)
Your coupon takes off one $4 item, so the final charge is $4.00 for $16.00 worth of items (75% savings)

3) The register will charge half price for each item. In this case, when you present your "buy one, get one free" coupon the cashier will deduct the price of one item, and you will get two items at 75% off.

Example: $4 item is on sale "buy one, get one free"
You buy 2 items that each ring up at $2 each
Your coupon takes off one $2 item, so the final charge is $2 for $8 worth of items (75% savings)

Stephanie Nelson has shared her savings tips on ABC News' Good Morning America, Good Housekeeping Magazine and hundreds of local radio and TV stations. You can find more of her savings tips in her book "The Greatest Secrets of the Coupon Mom" and on her website at www.couponmom.com. Copyright 2007 Stephanie Nelson.

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