Q: Can I stack Buy One, Get One Free coupons during a Buy One, Get One Free sale?

A: 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. 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.” At this store, the first package of razors rings up at \$8.49, and the second package scans as \$0. 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. 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. In the second example, even though the sale was BOGO, neither box was actually free.

Q: 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.

A: 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. 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?

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 OK paying either price.

Email Jill Cataldo at jill@ctw features.com.