Learn To Coupon | Understanding Buy One, Get One Free Coupons

Learn To Coupon

Welcome to Learn to Coupon... in 30 days. For the next 30 days (week days),  I will be posting a couponing how to.  Each day we will build on the prior days information. The goal of this series is to teach you the basics of couponing. Where to start, what coupons to use, how to use your coupons and more.This series will focus on realistic strategies for couponing.  There will be some depth to the posts, so you will need to spend the time reading the posts in the entirety. Since each post will build on the day before, I suggest you read them chronologically.

If you have not read the previous days post, you can read them here.

One of the most confusing coupons is the Buy One, Get One Free Coupon.  A buy one, get one free or BOGO coupon, offers a consumer a free product when they purchase another product.  A BOGO Coupon can be very straight forward,  you purchase a product and you get a product free.   This transaction would simply be buy one item and get the product on specified on the coupon.

The questions about BOGO coupons usually come into play when combining with other coupons and sales.

There are few things to be aware of when using BOGO Coupons with other coupons or sales:

:: Stores may have policies that overrule the general couponing rules. Be sure to know your coupon policy first.

:: Stores may have specific policies regarding BOGO coupons. See your stores policy for specifics.

:: You may encounter an uneducated manager or cashier who is insistent on the rules of BOGO coupons. Unfortunately, while it is totally stinks, there is often little we can do about it.

There are two ways a BOGO coupon barcode look:

You will notice the coupon on the left is coded 01 in the value code.  The second coupon is coded 14 in the value code. These Buy One, Get One Free Coupons are from the same insert and same manufacturer.

The value code 14 indicates that the coupon attaches to both coupons. So with the coupon on the right, you would not be able to use a dollar or cents off coupon.  With the coupon on the left, the 01 indicates that it is a free product coupon and will only attach to one item. You may be able to use a dollar or cents off coupon with this coupon.

Note: I do not know why manufacturers chose or how they chose what coupons to code this way.   

Update 7/2011:  Coupons are no longer coded this way. BOGO coupons are now coded to attach to TWO items in all scenarios – making using another coupon with a BOGO a no go.

Here is a scenario for the coupon on the left.  You are required to purchase the Febreze Flameless Device. Since the coupon is coded 01 (free item), you can use another coupon on the Flameless Device to lower the cost of the item.

Buy (1) Febreze Flameless Device
Buy (1) Febreze Flameless Refill
use BOGO Coupon (attaches to Refill)
use $1.00/1 Febreze Flameless Device  (attaches to Flameless Device)

Here is your scenario for the coupon on the right. You are required to purchase Swiffer Wet Mopping Refill.  Since the coupon is coded 14 (buy One, get one free) the coupon will attach to both coupons. You may not use another coupon to lower the cost of your purchased item.  (The register will say item not found)

Buy (2) Swiffer WetMop Refill
use BOGO Coupon (attaches to both coupons)

Using two BOGO coupons together should never be allowed. For example:

Buy (2) Febreeze Flameless Device
use (2) BOGO Coupons

I have had people tell me that this has worked at the register. Remember, coupons scanning or coupons being pushed thru do not mean that the coupons are being used ethically or as the manufacturer intended.

Another question is can you use a Buy One, Get One Free Coupon with a Buy One, Get One Free Sale?

Technically, the answer is yes. However, many stores outline their rules in the coupon policy. If your store allows BOGO Coupons with a BOGO sale, you will get 2 items for free. Recently, Rite Aid ended their policy that allowed BOGO with a BOGO sale.

Overall, you should follow your stores guidelines regarding using BOGO coupons. Some stores specifically outline usage of BOGO Coupons with BOGO sales. Other stores, will never allow a coupon on a free item. If you are unsure of your stores BOGO coupon policy, don’t be afraid to ask.

If your store doesn’t have a concrete policy, YMMV at the register. It certainly doesn’t hurt to ask.

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