CATALDO COLUMN: The many ways of BOGO
Last week, we discussed ways to use Buy One, Get One Free coupons on BOGO sales to achieve maximum savings. Readers popped up with additional questions.
Q: With a BOGO sale, can I use one coupon on each item I'm buying or just on the free one?
A: In most cases, you can, indeed, use a coupon on each item purchased in a BOGO sale.
Example 1: My store has disposable razors on sale for $8.49, Buy One, Get One Free. 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 for the two packages.
Example 2: My store has crackers on sale for $3, BOGO. 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 and pay $2 for both.
Stores that sell each item for half-price in 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 for how it structures BOGO sales. Some don't let a coupon be used on the free item in this situation.
Q: If I have a BOGO 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.
A: Depending on the store's policy and the way the coupons are coded, you may, indeed, be able to use both coupons. Let's say 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. So I pay just $1 for both boxes.
Some stores' coupon policies prohibit using a dollar-off coupon in conjunction with a BOGO coupon. And some BOGO coupons are coded to discount one of the items while prohibiting a dollar-off coupon from being used on one of the items.
There's no easy way to tell how your coupon is coded until checkout.
Jill Cataldo, a coupon workshop instructor, is at www.jillcataldo.com.