Friday, December 9, 2011

Couponing 101: The Art of the BOGO Deal

Our next Couponing 101 segment is going to cover the art of the BOGO. BOGO stands for Buy One Get One Free. Combining these with coupons will give you some serious savings.  Sometimes you will see BOGO also referred to as B1G1, B1G1F, BOGOF.

BOGOs in the Grocery Store

Most grocery stores handle BOGOs in the same way – instead of paying full price for an item and getting the second for free, each item is 50% off.  This means you are only required to purchase one item, and it’s half price!

The exception is for coastal Georgia and Florida, where it is true BOGO and the first item is full price, the second is $0, you are required to buy both items. We will refer to this area as ‘True BOGO’ and any other examples are for the way listed above where each item is 50% off.

Here’s an example. Let’s say Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes are BOGO at $4.00. This means each item is half price – or $2 per box. Make sense? If you’re in a True BOGO area, then you would pay $4 for two boxes, making them $2 each.

Combining BOGO Deals with Coupons

Now here is where you’ll maximize your savings. Combining coupons with BOGO sales makes it a great deal, because you’re taking even more money off of an item that is already half priced!

Let’s take the example above: Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, BOGO at $4.00. You have a $1 off coupon. You purchase one box, and since it’s already 50% at $2, you will only pay $1 by using the coupon! This means you’re paying 25% of the retail price and saving 75%! You can buy multiple boxes and use a coupon for each one. This would be a rock bottom price, or a price to stock up on. If you’re in a True BOGO area, you would have to buy two boxes, but could use two coupons!

Another example: you have a $1/2 coupon (that means $1 off 2 boxes). In order to use this coupon, you would need to purchase two boxes of cereal. So you would buy (2) boxes at $2 each, or $4. Use the $1/2 coupon, and that makes it $3 for (2) boxes, or $1.50 per box.

Combining BOGO Coupons with a BOGO Sale

This is where it gets a little tricky. This will be your domain if you live in a True BOGO region. How a BOGO coupon works is it deducts the price of one item.

In a True BOGO region, we will use the cereal example.  Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, BOGO at $4.00. In your area, the second box already rings up at $0. The BOGO coupon will take off the price of the first box - $4. This makes both free! Depending on the store, you can also use a $ off coupon (ie. $1/1 box). This would turn the deal into a moneymaker! You’ll need to refer to your particular store’s coupon policy regarding overage and if they allow you to use BOGO coupons with BOGO sales.

If you are not in a True BOGO area and everything is 50% off, here’s how it works:

Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, BOGO at $4.00, or $2 each. Purchase (2) boxes, and use the BOGO coupon. Since the boxes will ring up $2 + $2 = $4 at the register, the BOGO coupon will take the price off of one item, or $2. This makes it $2 for (2) boxes, or $1 each. If you combine with a $ off coupon, say $1/1, then it will deduct an additional $1 and you will pay $1 for (2) boxes, or 50¢ each.

You can only use one $/1 off coupon with a BOGO coupon. Why? Well, the BOGO coupon attaches to the second item because it stipulates that you must buy one  to get one free. However, it doesn’t affect the price of the first item that you must buy, therefore you can use a $ off coupon for additional savings. You cannot use a $/2 coupon because you can only use one coupon per item, and the BOGO coupon is already attached to the second, or free item.  

Some BOGO coupons will attach to both items, and the register will not accept a $/1 off coupon as well. How do you know if you can use one or not?

Look at the Barcode of your BOGO coupon. The numbers in the 10th & 11th place of the barcode (see above photo) will tell you what you need to know.  BOGO coupons are either coded with a “14,” “01” or “00″.  What do these codes mean?
  • If the numbers are “00″ or “01″ – Then the coupon only attaches to the second product (the “free” product)  and another coupon can be used for the first product.
  • If the numbers are “14″ – The coupon attaches to both products and you cannot use another coupon.  Any additional coupons used will beep.

BOGO in Drug Stores

This is where those of us who don’t live in True BOGO regions get to have a little fun. The drug stores (CVS, Walgreens) ring up BOGO as traditional BOGO deals – full price for the first item, the second rings up free. So we get a little taste of what the True BOGO folks get to do. I did this deal at Walgreens for body wash, I had (2) BOGO coupons and the product was BOGO. I got (4) bottles for jus tax – 70¢!

Note: Rite Aid does not allow BOGO coupons to be combined with a BOGO sale.

B2G1 Coupons and BOGO Sales

Sometimes we run into B2G1 coupons, or Buy Two Get One Free coupons. How can you use these in conjunction with a BOGO sale? The following scenario is for a True BOGO region.
Normally you would buy 2 and get 1 free. But there’s no sense in buying only 3, because the sale is BOGO. So you should buy 4, so that you get that extra free one (for each item you “buy” you get one free, remember?”.  So in this case I would buy 4 of them and use the coupon. You would get 3 for free – 2 from the stores sale and one from your coupon.

If you’re not in a true BOGO area, here’s how it works.
Say the product’s full price is $1. If they’re BOGO, each will ring up at 50¢.
50¢ + 50¢ = $1. Use the B2G1 coupon and it makes a third absolutely free. So you pay $1 for (3) items, or basically full price for one, while getting the other two free. If you had a $/1 or $/2 coupon, you could use them here as they would attach to the first two.

Truth be told, these are the trickiest and sometimes stump me. I usually have to sit and think a bit before I do one of these deals just to remind myself how it makes sense. My advice is to come back and read this before attempting to do such a deal, or if you’re still confused, post a comment or in the community and we’ll be more than happy to help!

One more tip: now that you're an expert at BOGOs, don't let the Payless sales fool you. Their BOGO is Buy One Get One 50% Off. Lame!

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