Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ask Megan: Ins and Outs of Free and B1G1 Free

Buy 1 Get 1 Free coupons are my favorite thing about coupons other than completely free coupons :)
This is one of those topics that I get a lot of confused faces when I start to explain. I will try my best, but it really does take a little bit to wrap your head around if you haven't heard about it before. So, I will try and explain it as best as I can and I will also give you links to a video where it is explained by an actual person :)

What is a Buy 1 Get 1 Free coupon?
This may seem pretty self explanatory, but just so there is no gray area... B1G1 (or BOGO or Buy 1 Get 1 Free) means that if you purchase one product, you can get another of the same product for free. This would mean that you are getting both items for half the retail price.

So, you're probably thinking, big whoop. If you are a seasoned coupon user, you know that you can often get products for cheaper than half the retail price, so why would this be so great?

What makes B1G1 coupons so great?
Well, the great thing about B1G1 coupons is not necessarily the coupon's deal itself, but the deals you can pair it up with. The shining wonderment of the B1G1 only occurs when paired with the B1G1 sale. 
*Now before I go into it too much, know that some stores have recently changed their policy on B1G1 coupons, so you will need to check with your specific store before giving it a try to avoid frustration.*
I will be giving my examples according to my favorite store's coupon policy, Publix. So, this is how things work there. 

Say that Publix is having a buy one get one free sale on Velveeta Shells and Cheese. 

Now, if you were just a normal customer who came in to take advantage of this sale (i.e. with no coupons), you would pay the retail price of one and leave with both, essentially getting both items for half price. Under this type of sale, we can literally say that the store pays for the second item.
Average Customer's Deal
Now, when you have a buy one free coupon, the transaction still works the same in that the store still pays for the second item when you purchase the first. This is where the coupon works its magic. When you hand over the coupon, the store still pays for one of the items and then the coupon pays for the other. So, essentially, other people are buying your items for you and you leave with 2 items for free!
Coupon User's Deal
Now can you see why these are my favorite types of coupons? Sometimes it is a gamble as to whether or not a store will put an item on sale while the coupon is valid, and that's just the chance you take. I usually wait it out and will go in to use my coupon within the last few days if it's an item that I really want or need, but many of them I just let them expire and move on. 

How do Free coupons play in?
I like to do the same thing with my free item coupons. First of all, you know you are at the very least going to get one item for free, so I keep these in the front of my binder to make sure I see them often and don't let them expire. Basically I like to hope on the greedy side with them and I don't immediately run out and use my free item coupons. If they go on sale B1G1, I can use them the same way as the B1G1 coupons and get 2 items for free. These scenarios are where your coupons work like actual money. If the item doesn't go on sale, I just go in the store for the last few days that the coupon is valid and get mine.

Is there any actual cost?
This is something that I wanted to be sure to explain before I end it - even though you are not charged for the actual price of the item, certain items will still be charged tax. The only items that you will not have to pay tax for are certain food items. Occasionally the "Free" item coupons will not be charged tax, but the B1G1 coupons will always be charged tax on the one item your coupon technically bought. 

So, hopefully this hasn't confused you more. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to comment with them on this post or send me an email at showandtellmeg@gmail.com and I will try to explain it further :)

Also, if you are more of a visual person, Collin over at Hip2Save did a very helpful video explanation about this very topic where she goes into the 'ethics' behind other methods of using a B1G1 coupon. I found it really useful :)

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