One type of coupon or sale that you will run across from time to time is the “Buy One Get One Free”. This offer has a few cousins, notably the “Buy 2 Get 1 Free”. These coupons and offers allow you to receive one item for free just buy buying one (or more) of the same item.
While it may seem like these offers are pretty easy, some people still get confused about using them and that is why we are presenting this lesson. By making good use of the B1G1 free coupons you can save a lot of money.
First off, while a Buy One Get One sale might seem like a straight 50% offer, it is not! You MUST buy 1 item to get any sort of discount. You can’t go up to the cashier and hand them the item and tell them to just make it half off since you are only buying one of them. Don’t laugh, I worked as a grocery clerk for several years and you would have people doing all sorts of weird things like this. So take full advantage of the coupon and get 2 of the item, you will only be charged for one of them.
When you are watching the register (and you ARE watching the register as your items are rung up, right?) you will see the first item ring up at normal price, and then when the next item is scanned it will be displayed at $0.00. This is how it usually works, but some stores have register systems where discounts and coupons do not actually show in the totals until the Total key is pressed. Why they do this I do not know, probably just lazy programming on the part of the cash register maker.
Since prices can vary from store to store, you will sometimes get a coupon that says “Buy One Get One Free’ and then there is a space where the price of the item has to be written. It is YOUR responsibility to make sure this gets filled in although most cashiers will handle it for you. Be polite and have a pen ready to write in the price of the item for the cashier!
A B1G1 offer is a good time to stock up. So if the price is right and it’s a non-perishable item or an item you will use many of, then go ahead and take advantage of the offer as much as you can. Most stores will have a limit on how many times you can use the B1G1 in a single transaction, so you might have to make multiple trips to the store if you are wanting to buy a whole lot of the item while it is on sale.
The big savings come in when you have a store that is running a buy one get one sale AND you have coupons for that item. Recently I had a coupon for 75 cents off a tube of Colgate toothpaste, and the local CVS was running a Buy One Get One Free sale on the same item. I used my coupon and paid about $2.00 for 2 tubes of toothpaste.
Since you are buying 2 items, can you use 2 coupons? The answer to that question is “it depends”. Some stores will let you do it, some won’t. It’s not worth it to argue with the cashier cause she can’t change store policy. It never hurts to try so just hand her the two items and the two coupons and if she hands one back to you just smile and say thanks. For stores that allow you to do this though, you can get big savings. If I had been able to use 2 coupons in the scenario about I would have paid only $1.25 for two tubes of toothpaste (or about 63 cents a tube).
So always be on the lookout where you have either a coupon for a B1G1 item OR a store is having a B1G1 sale and you have a coupon for that item. Don’t feel bad for the stores, they are running the sale for a reason, usually because they have too much of Item X and want to dump it as quickly as possible. Don’t feel bad for using coupons because the store gets that money back with a little extra on top.