Learn How To Coupon | Day 10: Buy One Get One Free Coupons



Welcome to Day 10 of the monthly series: Learn How To Coupon!!


Can you believe we are already at Day 10?! If you are just joining us now, this is a monthly series called: Learn How To Coupon. It’s filled with everything the beginner coupon needs to know or needs clarification on when using coupons. This is also a great refresher for everyone else.

If you would like to see what we have been talking about these past 10 days, then you can click any of the links below. Read them in chronological order to catch up:


Day 1: Anatomy of a Coupon


Day 2: Anatomy of a Barcode


Day 3: Types of Coupons


Day 4: Where to Find Coupons


Day 5: Stacking Coupons


Day 6: Coupon Abbreviations


Day 7: Electronic Coupons


Day 8: Doubling Coupons


Day 9: Catalina Coupons



Today’s Topic: Buy One Get One Free Coupons


Using Buy One Get One Free coupons, can be one of the most confusing coupons out there! Especially when trying to combine it with store sales and/or other coupons. So today, I wanted to try and tackle some of the most asked questions about using BOGO coupons. Some of these scenarios may not have a cut and dry answer. You may just have to go with what your morals and gut tells you to do. When used correctly, these coupons are a great money-saver, and lots of times our way of getting FREE stuff!


What is a Buy One Get One Free coupon?

A Buy One Get One (we will now refer to it as BOGO) coupon is a coupon that when you purchase an item, you get another item free (usually of equal or less value).

The FREE item doesn’t always have to be the same item. In this coupon below, you can see that when you purchase a Swiffer, you get the refill free:

Here’s an example of a BOGO coupon that does offer the same product:

*Wording on the coupon*

This is something that (especially with BOGO coupons) you will want to pay attention to. While you are getting something FREE with the coupon, most manufacturer’s will have a maximum limit that the coupon will cover for the free item. This is so that they won’t have to cover all retail prices, and so that they can have a set limit. Let’s take a look at a coupon and see where that max value is:

This means that if you were to go to a store that has these Tresemme products on sale for $6.50 each, then here’s what the transaction might look like:

Tresemme Products, on sale for $6.50 each

-Buy (2) Tresemme products (at $6.50 each) = $13.00

-Use your BOGO coupon (will ONLY deduct $6 because of the max value on the coupon). So deduct $6 = $7

Final Cost = $7 (you ended up paying only $0.50¢ for the “free” item).

Of course, most of these prices listed on the coupon are on the higher side most of the time, so you can usually find products well within the range of the max value. Let’s use the same scenario, and pretend that Tresemme products are on sale for $6.

Tresemme Products, on sale for $6

-Buy (2) Tresemme products (at $6 each) = $12

-Use your BOGO coupon (will deduct full $6 max value). So deduct $6 = $6

Final Cost = $6 for 2 products!

How stores ring up Buy One Get One Free Sales

You may notice that when you are shopping at stores, some of the BOGO sales ring up differently than at other stores. Typically, at a grocery store, their BOGO sales, aren’t a true BOGO sale. This means that each item is actually half price (still totaling the price of ONE item, like a BOGO sale). But when this happens, you usually don’t have to buy BOTH products to get the “half off” sale. You can just buy the one product if you wanted. Here’s a pretend example:

Suave Deodorants, $4, on sale Buy One Get One Free (in a grocery store)

-Buy (1) Suave Deodorant = $2

Final Price = $2 (still half the original price, but did not have to buy 2 products)


If you wanted to use a BOGO coupon at a grocery store, then here’s how it would work:

Suave Deodorants, $4, on sale Buy One Get One Free (in a grocery store)

-Buy (2) Suave Deodorants = $4 for 2 ($2 each = $4)

-Use BOGO coupon, would deduct $2 (the price of one at half price)

Final Price = $2 (or $1 each)

* So here, your BOGO coupon wouldn’t work as well as it would in a drugstore (which we will look at below). Be sure and still read your grocery store’s coupon policy, because even though the items may ring up half price, the stores may prohibit the use of a coupon on a FREE item.


Other stores, like drugstores, will usually charge full price for the first item, and then charge $0 for the second item. This means that you MUST buy both products to get your BOGO savings. If you don’t pick up that second item, then you are leaving your savings on the shelf. Here’s what a BOGO sale would look like at a store like this:

Suave Deodorants, $4, on sale Buy One Get One Free (in a drugstore)

-Buy (2) Suave deodorants = $4 ($4 for first product, and $0 for second product)

Final Cost = $4 for 2 deodorants


If you wanted to use a BOGO coupon here, this is how it would work:

Suave Deodorants, $4, on sale Buy One Get One Free (in a drugstore)

-Buy (2) Suave Deodorants, $4 ($4 for first product, and $0 for second product)

-Use BOGO coupon (deducts $4)

Final Cost = 2 Free products! (if your store allows this)

*These scenarios below are generally referring to drugstores or stores that ring up BOGO items Full price for the first item, and $0 for the second. If you use these scenarios at a grocery store or store that rings up BOGO sales half price for each item, then your results will vary (as we saw in the example above).


Can I use a Buy One Get One Free Coupon WITH a Buy One Get One Free sale?

This is one of the most confusing scenarios for couponers AND cashiers! But the answer is: Yes! (If your store permits it).

Many stores will allow the use of a BOGO coupon along with a BOGO sale of the same products. So how does this work, and what will I pay?

I want you to think of the STORE BOGO SALE and the BOGO COUPON as two separate things. When you are shopping at the store, and buy two products, that have a BOGO sale going on, the register automatically deducts the other price of the product. In the manufacturer’s eyes, you are still buying TWO PRODUCTS even though you received one for FREE from the store.

This means that you can use a BOGO coupon along with the sale, if it’s for the right products.

This means that because the store paid for one free product, and the manufacturer coupon paid for the other, then you get TWO FREE PRODUCTS! You still have to pay any applicable tax.

An easy way to look at it is: the Manufacturer is paying for one Free product, and the Store is paying for the other Free product. The store can still get reimbursed their amount when they submit the coupon. Here’s an easier look:


*One important thing to note, is that while this might be a legit transaction, some stores still can override these kinds of transactions. You can read their coupon policies, or ask if they allow this. Stores like Walgreens DO allow this, while stores like Rite-Aid prohibit this in their coupon policy.


Can I use both a BOGO coupon AND a “$” off coupon together?

This is a topic that is kind of a gray area, and something like I stated above that you will just have to judge on your own to see how you feel when doing this, and go with your morals.

Whenever you are purchasing a typical product, you can use 1 manufacturer coupon per product. That is kind of the understood rule, and is usually stated on most coupons.

Even when you have a $1 Off 2 coupon, it is understood that the coupon attaches to BOTH products, meaning that you can’t try and use another manf. coupon along with it.

So what gets confusing is when you have a BOGO coupon. You are buying “two” products, and one of them is FREE. So many people believe that the BOGO coupon is attaching to, or is for the FREE item. And because of this, they will try and use another “$” off manf. coupon (like a $0.75 off 1 coupon) on the product you are still paying for (the non-free item).

Even though this may work at the registers, I believe that the BOGO coupon attaches to BOTH products (just like a $1 off 2 would), and means that you CAN’T use another manf. coupon along with it.

My reasoning for this is because you still have to BUY the first product to get the second product Free, so it still requires BOTH products to make the BOGO coupon work.

As we talked about before, all coupon barcodes are changing to the GS1 Databar code. These new codes are not “human readable”. I bring this up because on the standard barcodes, there are ways that people have figured out the numbering system on the coupons or “barcode dechipering”. In doing this, they are able to tell if BOGO coupons attach to BOTH or ONE product. This might help in determining if using a second “$” coupon would work or not.

But in my opinion, no one should have to look at the numbers on the coupon to know if they can use another coupon along with it. You should go by the wording on the coupon, and knowing your store’s coupon policy. And now with all of the barcodes changing, the deciphering of the numbers won’t be possible anymore, so the wording is all we will have to go by.

This is just my opinion on using a BOGO manufacturer coupon AND a “$” manufacturer coupon together. If you feel that it is okay to do otherwise, then that’s totally up to you. Because some of these rules are not clear cut, we have to make our own assumptions as to what works. Doing your own research, and talking further to the manufacturer’s of the coupons may help you in determining this question.


How do “$” off coupons work with store BOGO sales?

When a store is running a BOGO sale on products, the STORE is paying for the price of the FREE product.

But in the manufacturer’s eyes, you are still purchasing TWO products, so you can still use TWO manufacturer coupons (or one manf. coupon per item).

If you read Walgreen’s coupon policy, they specifically state that “When items are featured in a Buy One, Get One Free sale, up to TWO coupons can be used against the products being purchased, as long as the net price for the items does not go below zero.”

So at Walgreens, using two “$” off coupons would be aloud. However, you still need to read the coupon policy, because again, some stores can override this and prohibit the use of two “$” off manufacturer coupons on a BOGO store sale.


How do BOGO coupons work with Buy One Get One 50% off sales?

This one may be confusing, but it is very simple to figure out. Let’s look at a pretend scenario:

Suave Deodorants, $4 (on sale for Buy One Get One 50% off)

-Buy (2) Suave Deodorants = $6 ($4 for the first one, and $2 (50% off) for the second one)

-Use a BOGO coupon. The coupon will deduct the cheaper item ($2 deodorant), so it deducts $2. You may find that some cashier’s or stores deduct the HIGHER priced item, but don’t count on it.

Final Price = $4 (or $2 each)

How do BOGO coupons work with Buy 2 Get 1 Free sales?

Here’s another scenario below with the Suave deodorants again, to help explain the math in using a BOGO coupon with a B2G1 Free sale:

Suave Deodorants, $4 (on sale for Buy 2 Get 1 Free)

-Buy (3) Suave deodorants = $8 ($4 each for the first two, and the third one is free with the store sale)

-Use a BOGO coupon (will deduct $4)

Final Price = $4 for all 3 deodorants (or $1.33 each). 

*You essentially got one FREE with the store sale, then one FREE with the coupon, leaving you to pay for only one!

What if you have a Buy 2 Get 1 Free coupon WITH a Buy 2 Get 1 Free sale?

This can be another tricky one, so let’s look at the math again (using our trusty deodorant example :) ) :

Suave Deodorants, $4 (on sale for Buy 2, Get 1 Free)

-Buy (3) Suave Deodorants = $8 ($4 each for the first two, and the third one is free with the store sale)

-Use a B2G1 Free coupon (deducts $4 for 1 free product, because you have “purchased” two other items) deducts $4

Final Cost = $4 for all 3

*If you do have a store that prohibits you using coupons on the free items, then you would have to buy (4) products instead of (3). This way your coupon won’t be attached to any FREE product.

I hope that this has helped anyone with any BOGO questions. These can be very tricky at times, so it’s best to really plan out your scenarios, and do the math before heading into the store to save yourself a headache. But used the right way, these can be a great asset to us couponers!


Stay Tuned for Day 11!




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  1. Thanks for all the helpful advice:)

  2. Stacy Welch says:

    I have a question. What if you have a BOGO free coupon, but on the coupon it says, “(Coupon Value=$6.00)?” It does not say “up to,” nor does it have a space for the cashier to write in an amount for the item. How do you think this should be handled?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Stacy! Thank you for your question ;) I see that often where a coupon will just say “Coupon Value = X amount”. This wording just means that the value of the “Free” product that the coupon is giving you is only good up to $6. They did make it a little harder to understand for couponers and cashiers because they don’t have a space for cashiers, or say “up to” on it. If you buy a product that is $5 and give them the coupon, it should only take off $5. But if you buy the product and it costs $7, the when you give the coupon, it will deduct the full value ($6) and you will still pay $1. What’s nice is that the registers usually do all the work for you, so you should not have to worry. If you want to make note of the sale price in case the cashier has to manually enter the price for the coupon, then that’s a good idea too. Even though the full value is $6, it should only take off the amount for what the store is selling the product for. I hope this helps you and thanks so much for stopping by!

      • Stacy Welch says:

        I can understand how it would work like that. My only hang up is that they store will be receiving $6 for the coupon since there is no space to enter in any other amount, so they’re making money off me. Unless I am wrong on that?

        Thanks so much for your reply!

        • Stacy Welch says:

          Should have said they’re making money off the coupon. They’re already making money off me. :P

        • Ahh, yes, I get what you mean! That can be frustrating because you never know! They may submit their coupons as is, meaning that they would get more money from the manufacturer if the product is less than $6! Manufacturer’s usually don’t approve of this, so they should have some way of only submitting the “used” amount of the coupon. Another idea is that the manufacturer may have meant for the store to get paid the $6 reagrdless of the price (sometimes you find nice companies like that!). But in that case, the won’t have to enter a price, and technically the store is making money off of us :( Personally, I would call that specific manufacturer, and say “hey what does this coupon value mean?, and is it okay for the store to turn in the full value?” then try it at your store, see what happens and maybe ask the cashier if they will write or submit the “sale price” of the coupon or just submit it as is. That’s very interesting to find out! If you do, let me know :) Thanks so much! :)

  3. This is my question: Walgreens will give you $8.00 in register rewards for purchasing 2 gillette razors. If I use a MFC for B1G1 am I filling the requirement of buying 2 or just one? Will my catalina print out or not since one is technically free?

    • Jacinda says:

      Hi Katy! Thanks so much for your question! Yes, even though you are using a coupon to get a “free” item, you are still “purchasing” two products, so you still meet the requirements for the register rewards, as long as you buy the right ones. I love when that happens! If you purchased the right ones, and your coupon is for the correct razors, then your catalina (register reward) should print for you. If it doesn’t, then try and see if they can figure out why it didn’t. They might be able to void the transaction if needed. Good luck, and thanks for your question!

  4. Hi Katy!! I have a question. I have 2 BOGO coupons for Mach 3 razors.. Can I use two to get two free like a store BOGO and a BOGO coupon?

  5. My question is. There is a bogo sale on a product. Then I have the competitors coupon for buy 2 get 1 free. Isnt it better for me to do the bogo items say 4 of them them use competitors coupon & get 4 for price of 1

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