How to use a BOGO Coupon on a BOGO Sale.

NOTE: The following only applies to stores who offer “True BOGO” (I.e. Drugstores & regional grocery stores).  Stores that actually give you 1/2 off the price of a BOGO item don’t apply in this reasoning.

We get lots of questions about using a BOGO coupon on a BOGO sale –

  • How can it make both items free?
  • Is is cheating?

We’ve had problems with it oursevles – about 1/3 of the times I’ve tried, I’ve had problems.   Most of those problems, however, were because the cashier either didn’t understand the logic behind it or didn’t know the store’s policy – but if YOU know it well enough to firmly (but kindly) stand your ground,  you should have fewer difficulties.  Here’s the logic and the documentation to back it up!

Logic behind using a ‘Buy One Get One Free’ Coupon for a ‘Buy One Get One Free’ Sale:

  1. When a store offers BOGO sale, we pay for one item, and the STORE gives us the 2nd item free. (One item is FREE)
  2. When we use a BOGO coupon, we pay for one item and  the MANUFACTURER gives us the 2nd item free. (One item is FREE.)

When you use a BOGO coupon on a BOGO sale, you are paying for item #1 with the coupon (FREE), and receiving item #2 from the store (FREE).  *Remember – Coupons are like Cash – a form of payment.*

The manufacturer will reimburse the store for the value of one FREE item (from the BOGO coupon).

The store takes responsibility for the value of the OTHER FREE item given (from the BOGO sale).

Ethics of BOGO  on BOGO:

UPDATE: Rite-Aid has since changed their policy to DISALLOW using a BOGO coupon on a BOGO sale.

Just because you are clever enough to take advantage of a store offer at the same time as a Manufacturer offer does not mean you are “Cheating”. This is totally ethical, and is supported in the Rite-Aid Coupon Policy HERE - as well as the Walgreens coupon policy HERE - and is not prohibited in the CVS coupon policy.
Here’s the Rite-Aid Quote:

“If a customer presents a Buy One Get One Free coupon for the purchase of two items that are on a Buy One Get One Free promotion; we accept the coupon, essentially making both items free.”

If you’ve kindly explained a BOGO situation to your cashier, and presented a printout (if available) of the policy and they STILL won’t allow it – you may want to simply find a store that is more coupon-knowledgable/friendly.


  1. grace says

    The BOGO issue I guess happened to most with the HP Photo Book, especially being high in value than the orbit. I went into the CVS and the cashier said, I do not think that means you get 2 free but I will ask the manager. The manager came and he asked me, do you want the 4 free? He was very kind and did tell the cashier, it meant that you get 2 free with one coupon. I only had one coupon with me and made my 2 free HP Photo books. I was greatful for the timing

  2. Crystal Vineyard says

    I have had lots of problems with this in the past. Thank you so much for explaining this. Now, I kinda have an idea how to explain it to them. I have problems with Bi-lo here in Chattanooga when they run their meal deals. They will not let me use a coupon for free items. I have tried to explain to the manager that it actually benefits him, because he is able to recoup some of the money from the manufacturor for the free item the store is giving away. Do you guys have the same problem?

    • Jamie says

      Crystal – when it comes to groceries that don’t have a policy posted – you usually are forced to defer to the individual stores for their interpretation. I think that sometimes it can be very helpful to have a friendly discussion with a manager about it – but it won’t always result in a happy ending :)
      We are lucky here in Cleveland, TN to have an amazingly coupon-friendly staff at our Bi-Lo’s – we’re grateful that they are willing to listen and adjust store policy in our favor in many cases!

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