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Coupons and Sales: B1G1 or BOGO Free

Rules for BOGO Sale and a BOGO Coupon

It is hard to understand that you can walk out of a store with Free stuff. And, it’s all legal :) One question I am often asked to explain is a B1G1 or BOGO Free Sale, and how you can use a B1G1 Free coupon to get both items FREE.

Let’s dissect this so it’s easy to understand.

Cover Girl Products are on sale for Buy One, get One Free. The coupon to the right says that you will receive one Free Cover Girl Face Product when you buy any Cover Girl Face Product. However, with a B1G1 Free sale, the one you *purchase* is the one you will receive Free with the coupon.

The math works like this:

$3.49 Cover Girl Product
$2.99 Cover Girl Product
minus $2.99 value with Cover Girl B1G1 Free Sale
– Total $3.49 after B1G1 Free Sale Deducted per Advertisement –
minus $3.49 value with B1G1 Free Coupon (the register has nothing else to deduct BUT this value)
Grand Total $0 (or maybe tax depending on your state and goods purchased)

Hopefully that explains the logic a bit more. Feel free to ask questions in the comment section!

Are you new to couponing? Check out the Beginner’s Guide to Savings to help you learn 7 steps to Shop with Coupons!

About Andrea Deckard

Andrea Deckard is a personal finance expert and speaker. She lives by the following motto, "save on what you need so you can spend on what you want." She started Savings Lifestyle in 2008, and long-time readers remember the site as Mommy Snacks. Andrea is a go-to resource on frugal living for local news outlets such as WDTN, WGRR, and as well as national outlets like Good Morning America. She has also been featured in multiple national publications.


  1. K on March 8, 2010 at 8:37 am

    Unfortunately not all stores apply this coupon this way….

    *Some* require you to buy 4 items to use this coupon successfully:
    Do B1G1 twice. You have now bought two items…..use coupon and get one of those for free.

    In the end, you have 4 items, only 1 of which you have purchased.

    Personally, I am not big on “educating” cashiers or management (if the computer fails to apply it in the method you mention….) and find this a much less stressful way to use this coupon, with 100% success…..

    • Andrea Deckard on March 8, 2010 at 12:40 pm

      This is sometimes a YMMV. But, for as long as I’ve been couponing, I have never been told I couldn’t use a B1G1 coupon on a B1G1 sale.

  2. Stephanie on March 8, 2010 at 9:56 am

    I agree with K. This explanation makes sense to me, but always gives me trouble in application. I hear things like “you have to actually buy one to get one free” from cashiers and managers. I know that I should be able to get 2 free with this method, but often avoid this scenario because it so often does not end very nicely. Thanks for the explanation, but I think that this is a YMMV situation.

  3. Shelby on March 8, 2010 at 9:57 am

    This has never worked for me in any store. Part of the stores cut their price in half on bogo items.

  4. Sara on March 8, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Is this an actual sale or just a tutorial? If it’s actually a sale where is it running?

    • Andrea Deckard on March 8, 2010 at 12:39 pm

      Sara, this is an actual sale, but it was just used in this example. If you look at the Rite Aid post this week you will see the details on it!

  5. Jenifer on March 8, 2010 at 11:06 am

    It is actually a sale running right now at Rite Aid. Rite Aid’s policy clearly states they accept BOGOF coupons on BOGOF sales and I’ve never had a problem there.

    Here’s what I tell the cashier if they ever question it…Typically, a cashier says that I have to buy one in order to get one free. So, I tell the cashier that I understand and I do intend to pay for one. I’m simply using my coupon to pay for that one. Just like using a gift card to pay for it, but instead my coupon pays for it. That works every time! But, I’ve never had to deal with that issue at Rite Aid.

  6. rose on March 8, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Getting two items for free has never worked for me – even the 4 item scenario described above. The only thing that I have been able to do is buy 1 item, get the 2nd free (since it’s B1G1 sale anyway at the store), and get 3rd item free (with B1G1 coupon). I’m still not certain how to verbalize any of the above 2 deals to a cashier/mgr to make it work at a store.

    • Andrea Deckard on March 8, 2010 at 1:43 pm

      Rose, do you think if you added a small filler item so your total would not be Zero would help? If the registers accept the coupon and you had several other items, they wouldn’t even know that it was given as Free. I’m just baffled at the stores sometimes, honestly…

      • rose on March 8, 2010 at 7:46 pm

        I’m not sure if that would work as the cashier would have to write the total amount of the free item on the B1G1 coupon. I think doing that would call attention to the item I’m trying to get for free.

  7. Sadie on March 8, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    This sale is running at Rite Aid right now. Their coupon policy states that if you use a buy one get one coupon and there is a buy one get one sale, the products are both essentially free.

    I did the cover girl deal this week with no problems. If you feel better take in the coupon policy from the store and have it just in case of a question.

  8. andrellia jackson on March 8, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Where can i download he coupon

    • Andrea Deckard on March 8, 2010 at 1:42 pm

      Andrellia, there is no coupon available this was used as an example so you can see. That coupon is in the 2/21 P&G Insert though.

  9. amanda on March 8, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    I intend to use this sale at rite aid this week, with the BOGO coupons. Rite Aid has ALWAYS given me a huge hassle about this, even though their coupon acceptance policy clearly states they accept the coupon with the sale, making both items free, plus sales tax. I don’t intend to leave the store this time until they give me my free items. In the past I have called the 1 800 rite aid # because they would not take the coupons. THey have tried to make it up to me with gift cards, since the coupons had since expired. But the fact is, they have denied me and cheated me out of free product that their policy clearly states I am entitled to!
    Not this time, Rite Aid. (lol) I am getting that free makeup!

  10. Dee on March 8, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    BOGO with BOGO sale has always worked for me at CVS :) If it tries to deduct half show them their ad -and make them credit you for the ad price.

  11. Amber on March 8, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    I have never had a problem using a bogo coupon on a bogo sale before.


  12. Mechelle on March 8, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    Just did the BOGO with Purex @ Walgreens & both of my items were free. Also used 2 coupons on the covergirl as mentioned above b/c they were having a buy one get one half sale. Not a problem. I’ve found the girl @ the cosmetic counter is always really helpful & even tosses in some “gift certificate” coupons left to her by vendors that can be stacked with instant savers & other manufacturers coupons. :) So nice:)

  13. Heather on March 8, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    When I bought Purex @ Walgreens they rang up 2.99 and 3.00. With the BOGO coupon they would only take off $2.99.

  14. S on March 8, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    Awhile back I tried to use a BOGO coupon for M&M’s when RiteAid had them BOGO. The cash register canceled out the 2nd one so it looked like I only purchased one and would not take my coupon. I had purchased other things, the clerk tried to scan the coupon but the register would not accept it.

  15. Allison on March 8, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    Today I had coupons at Walmart, which I rarely do because they just aren’t great for coupon deals. I had a B1G1 for Starkist Tuna pouch, and $1 any tuna pouch. Am I crazy in thinking I should be able to buy two pouches and use both coupons? I used to cashier at Walmart, so I know how poorly trained they are, plus this gal (and the manager!) was just plain rude. I ended up voiding the tuna and getting my Qs back. It made me mad! She gave me the whole ” you have to buy one first” line.

    • Andrea Deckard on March 27, 2010 at 9:42 pm

      Allison, some stores do allow you to use two coupons like that. So, two items, a BOGO coupon and a X off coupon. It just depends on the store, unfortunately. I usually don’t do it because it seems most of my stores don’t allow it.

  16. Sariah on March 10, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    I’ve had cashiers/registers that say BOGO free basically cuts the cost in half, so in your example, the price is now $1.75 per item, and then they’ll give me $1.75 off with my BOGO. I’ve run into that a bunch of places. I had that happen at Kroger as well once with candy bars – candy I was expecting to get for free with BOGO I got for 25 cents each. A good price, but not what I was expecting.

  17. Cindy S. on March 12, 2010 at 2:11 am

    I completed this deal three (three different stores) times and only had a problem the first time. The cashier at the first store seemed confused that I would receive two items for free. She calls over the manager and I was told I would have to buy four items and pay for the most expensive on. I explain how the company was going to reimburse the store and I only wanted two items. In the end I receive both items free. I used two coupons at three other Rite Aids and had no problems. I’m new to coupon and get confused by “one per purchase‚Äù? How do you know when you can use more than one coupon per transaction?

  18. jacinta on March 15, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    I have a B1G1 Free question on a Target deal.
    Can you use 1 coupon for each item listed on the coupon AND the B1G1 Free coupon? For example, there is a B1 Gillette shave gel G1 Gillette Body Wash free. Can I use a $1-Shave Gel and a $2-Body Wash coupon AND the B1G1 Free coupon?

  19. Angela on May 5, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    I don’t understand why, if the store will let you coupon your free item, why can I not use 2 B1G1 coupons and they cancel eachother out and I get the 2 items free. One coupon for each item.

    • Savings Lifestyle: Amber on May 6, 2011 at 8:35 am

      Angela, the reason for that is that the coupon (B1G1) requires you to at least buy one of the items. Now, in this case, if it is a B1G1 sale and you have a B1G1 coupon, the one you are “buying” is actually being paid for by the store, then the manufacture “buys” the second. The store buying the first meets the requirement for the “buy one” portion of the coupon. HTH!

  20. Angela on May 6, 2011 at 8:52 am

    Well if I have 2 BOGO coupons, can you buy 1 and get free one then use 2nd coupon on the free one and get a 2nd one free?

    • Savings Lifestyle: Amber on May 6, 2011 at 11:54 am

      If a store is having a B1G1 sale and you have 2 B1G1 coupons, you would then get 4 free (as long as the store allows a B1G1 sale and B1G1 coupon together to equal free).

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