Couponing 101: How To Properly Shop Using Buy-One-Get-One-Free Coupons!

bogo

Recently, I came to the aid of a newbie shopper at my local grocery store, who was having trouble using buy-one-get-one-free coupons, in conjunction with store promotions. Her problem seemed basic, but I thought that it would be a great blog tops, or refresher piece for others on my blog. As the phrasing on these deals is so lengthy, so I will refer to the offer thereafter as B1G1 or BOGO coupons! So, here is the correct way to use them:

1) Buy 1, Get 1 Free Coupon:

When a coupon states “buy 1, get 1 free”, it means can use the one coupon to buy 1 item and get another item for free.

Example:

Palmolive Dish Soap @ $2 x 2 = $4
B1G1 Free Coupon
Final Price: $2 for 2 bottles, which would then be $1.00 for each bottle!

2)  Buy 1, Get 1 Free Coupons for 2 Items:

In this model, you will be stacking deals with savings coupons, both a manufacturer and a store promotional weekly deal. Each B1G1 Free coupon attaches itself to 2 products, and because of this, you could in theory receive two free items, or two truly discounted items, as the example below shows:

Palmolive Dish Soap @ $2 x 2 = $4
B1G1 Free Coupon
Final Price: $2 for 2 bottles, making each $1.00.

3) BOGO Coupon with a BOGO Store Coupon:

Mass Retailers, such as Kmart and Target, offer store coupons to their customers. These coupons are not offered by the manufacturer, but are stores; this information will be listed at the top of each coupon and you are generally allowed to print two per computer, per ISP address. You can use both 1 manufacturer coupon and 1 store coupon per item.

Example:

Palmolive Dish Soap @ $2 x 2 = $4
-Use (1) B1G1 Free Store Coupon
-Use (1) B1G1 Free Manufacturer’s Coupon
Final Price: 2 bottles for free, plus applicable tax (you will still pay tax on your free items)

4) Buy 1, Get 1 Free Coupon + Cents/Dollar Off Store Coupon:

Let’s say you are now looking to use a cent off of a dollar coupons, say a $0.50 coupon, instead of a B1G1 Free coupon. If your retailer allows this practice, you would then be allowed to use 1 manufacturer coupon, in conjunction with 1 store coupon for each item.

Example:

Palmolive Dish Soap @ $2 x 2 = $4
B1G1 Free Coupon
Stack your $0.50 Store Coupon
Final Price: $1.50 for 2 bottles, as you are paying $0.75 for each bottle.

5) Buy 1, Get 1 Free Coupon + Buy 1 Get 1 Free Sale:

In this example, which often confuses cashiers and managers (another reason to carry the corporate coupon policy for every store you frequent in your coupon binder), is when you combine a B1G1 coupon with a B1G1 store promotion to get 2 items for free; many stores including CVS and Walgreens frequently have this deal! Please note, you cannot preform this example at Rite Aid due to coupon policy changes implemented in 2013.  I have often had issues at Walgreens with this scenario, but I would suggest that if a cashier won’t let you do this deal, ask for a manager, and if that manager is less than ablidging, despite your coupon policy in hand, do not buy your items, and go to another of their stores!

Example:

Palmolive Dish Soap @ $2 x 2 = $4
Use (1)- B1G1 Free Coupon
Use (1) B1G1 Free Sale Promotional Weekly Offer; be sure to carry a copy of the weekly ad with you as well!
Final Price: 2 bottles for free, plus applicable tax, as you will have to pay tax on your free item as well.

6) Buy 1 Get 1 Free Sale + 2 Cents/Dollar off Coupons:

Let’s say a store is offering a B1G1 Free sale, where you can clearly use 2 coupons on the 2 items you are buying, even though 1 of them is free, you will be able to do this!  Always have your store policies with you, and remind cashiers that all stores will be reimbursed for the coupons they accept, at full value of the items,  not at store pricing, and then most will allow you to do this.

Example:

Dawn Dish Soap @ $2 x 2 = $4
Use (1)  B1G1 Free Sale Promotional Savings
Use (2) $0.50 Coupons, manufacturer or store coupons
Final Price: $1 for 2 bottle, making them $0.50 each, plus applicable taxes, even on free items!

7) Buy 1, Get 1 Free Coupon + Cents/Dollar off Coupons:

This was the example of the trouble the shopper I aided in-store the other day had, and it can be tricky! The woman was attempting to purchase 2 items, while using a B1G1 Free coupon,  plus a cents/dollar off coupon. The store insisted she could not use this method, and for some stores, this is true. However, at many drug stores, excluding Rite Aid, you actually can as in this scenario, the  B1G1 Free coupon attaches itself to 2 products, so if you also want to use a cents/dollar off coupon, and assuming its a manufacturers coupon (only if the coupon does not say it cannot be combined with other offers), you will not need to buy another products, and can use this offer. If stores like CVS, for example, often advertise store coupons which can be used in conjunction with this offer and other coupons. Some shoppers, and bloggers, will say this is unethical, but consider that the store will be reimbursed for three coupons, not just two, and will then be tripling their profit margin, and so this deal is a win-win for you both! Added to this, you can use store percentage coupons off items before coupons are even presented, thus you can add coupons to such transaction, as well as rewards points as well!

For example:

Palmolive Dish Soap @ $2 x 2 = $4
Use (1) B1G1 Free Coupon
Use Your Store Free Coupon
Final Price: Two Free Products, but you will have to pay applicable taxes on both products!

8) I also wanted to share this tidbit as well! When dining out, always try to use gift cards, which can be purchased online or at Warehouse Clubs on discount, and combine these offers with BOGO food deals as well!

Many bloggers like to pass judgment and say that BOGO offers and coupons cannot be combined as they will make stores lose money, and that this practice is an act of fraud toward the manufacturers, but I just wanted to set this theory straight, for as a law student I can honestly say, if stores profit margins were effected by the usage of coupons, they would not distribute them; store and manufacturer alike! The true savings to be found, is not in the use of coupons, nor in the stacking of coupons, but in the usage of coupons combines with shopping the weekly deals! Basic knowledge, skill, and mathematics makes for a happy shopper and stockpiler!

Coupons 101

coupons2

Good morning, savvy savers! I thought I would start this morning by posting an oldie but a goodie post on basic coupon jargon and verbiage! I am sure many of you are familiar with the basics of couponing, but it never hurts have a refresher on terms and what have you, from time to time!

Here is my short list of things you need to know while couponing:

1) Sunday Newspaper Inserts generally are referred to by abbreviations online, such as:

GM = General Mills
PG = Procter and Gamble
RP = Red Plum
SS = SmartSource

2) The Dates for most inserts can be found on the outside spine of each insert.

3) Even drugstores have coupon jargon, such as:

ECB = CVS ExtraCare Bucks
RR = Walgreens Catalina Weekly Register Rewards
IVC = Instant Value Coupon Found in the monthly Walgreens EasySaver booklet, found in the front of their stores

4) Need to Know Terms:

B1G1 or BOGO = Buy One, Get One Free
B2GI = Buy Two, Get One Free
DND = Do Not Double
EX = Expires On
FAR = Free After Rebate
Filler = Item Purchased to Reach a Minimum Total in Order to Get a “Deal”
GC = Gift Card
IP = Internet Printable
MQ = Manufacturer’s coupon
MIR = Mail In Rebate
NED = No Expiration Date
OOP = Out of Pocket
STACKING: Using Both a Store Coupon and a Manufacturer’s Coupon on a single purchase
TMF = Try Me Free Offer
UPC = Universal Product Code – Those black straight lines with numbers under them

5) For stores you will frequent, always carry a copy of their coupon policy (I have links for many of the national drugstore and grocery chains listed in my Store Shopping  101 Tab above) in case any issues arise!

6) For whatever reason a coupon will not work for you, simply ask to speak to a manager for assistance, and if this avenue still does not produce savings for you, then simply ask for the item to be removed from your transaction; do not feel pressured while shopping with coupons!

7) Be aware that other shoppers, store clerks, or even managers may not be as courteous as you are, in terms of your couponing. I have often experienced the patrons behind myself sighing loudly, making rude comments, and the occasional insinuation that couponing is a way to “rip-off stores, live off of the government, or bankrupt stores.” Do not be fooled by any of this misnomers or arrogant assumptions, as any proud couponer will know, couponing is a way of budgeting your grocery totals, so that you can afford a better way of life! There is no shame in that!

8) When couponing, try to hit stores at non-peak hours, and avoid times when people are heading out to lunch or getting off of work.

9) Always be organized and have your coupons, store flyers (if price-matching or price verifying), and coupon policies on hand to ensure your transaction goes as quickly, and smoothly as possible!

10) Take things slowly! Knowing that learning to coupon, or coming back to couponing after a respite, is a process and takes time! Slow and steady is the way to do it!