Couponing's Best-Kept Secrets,

Last week I introduced you to some of the fun ways shoppers can make "Buy one, get one free" (BOGO) sales even more rewarding. Anytime we can buy one item and get another free, we're essentially buying two at half price each. So how do we make a half-off sale even better? With coupons, of course! Here's the third "best-kept secret" of couponing:

Secret #3: Use Two Coupons During a BOGO Sale

At most stores, you can use one coupon per purchase. Even though you're buying one item and getting another "free," it's not truly free. You still have to go through the act of "purchasing" it at the register (the store won't allow you to just pick up the "free" jar and take it home, will they?) If you live in an area that collects sales tax on groceries, you must still pay sales tax on the "free" item.

So, it's best to think of BOGO sales as buying two for the price of one. As long as you're buying two items, even if one is full-price and one is free, you can use a coupon on each item you're buying. You're buying two items, so you can use two coupons.

Here's an example illustrating why this is a great idea. My grocery store has organic pasta sauces on sale for $3, "Buy one, get one free." And even though the register rings them up as $3 for the first jar and $0 for the second, it is still possible for me to present a coupon on each jar for additional savings.

For this sale, I have two $1 coupons for the pasta sauce. Using one coupon for each jar I purchase brings my cost down to just $1 for two jars, or 50 cents each! That's a great price for any pasta sauce, especially organic.

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