You’ve probably seen signs through your local grocery store or in retail stores advertising a BOGO sale. But what exactly is a BOGO sale?
Simply put, a BOGO deal or sale, is short for “buy one, get one.” It’s a promotion that’s intended to get you to buy more by offering a discount.
These sales come in many different forms, including buy one, get one free and buy one, get one half off.
Whatever the variation, the allure of getting a product free or discounted is why many stores run these promotions on products. You can get a BOGO offer or BOGO promotion via a coupon or just as part of a broad offer or sales promotion.
To you, the consumer, it’s a great deal. To the retailer, it’s the ability to get rid of inventory quickly while still making money.
It’s a win-win for both parties, right?
Well, it depends.
Here’s what you should know about buy one, get one sales.
How does a BOGO sale work?
BOGO sales work differently depending on the store.
Let’s take a look at the most common ways that a BOGO sale is hosted.
Buy One, Get One Free
Although advertised as buy one, get one free, in most cases you’re actually just getting both items at a 50% discount.
You’ll notice this math if you look at your final sales receipt.
Some stores will allow you to still get the 50% off discount even if you only purchase one item. This is great if you only planned on purchasing one item anyway.
In this case, you’ll be able to take advantage of the sale, while not purchasing more items than you actually need.
However, if you know that it is something that you’ll use in the future, then I recommend taking advantage of getting both of the items on sale. I typically do this for non-perishable food items like pasta and canned goods.
Buy One, Get One Free of Equal or Lesser Value
In the case of buy one, get one free of equal or lesser value, you’re not obligated to buy two of the same product. Instead, you can get a different item that is the same price or less for free.
You may find that you’re limited in your choice of items. Nonetheless, this is a great deal when you can find items that are already on your list to purchase.
Buy One, Get One Half Price
The buy one get one 50% off sale is common among retail clothing stores. The premise is as it reads — buy one item at full price and you’ll get the second one half off.
The caveat is that the second item must be of equal or lesser value.
In this case, the discount is taken off of the lesser item. This means that you’ll still need to purchase the more expensive item at full price to get a discount on the second.
Again, you will be limited in your options for which the sale applies to.
Unless you’re already planning to purchase the second item, you’ll just be spending more money than you need to. Instead, you should either just wait to buy the one item that you need at full price without BOGO or when it’s on sale exclusively.
If you are buying two of the same item, it would be equivalent to getting each item for 25% off.
In this case, you’ll have to ask yourself if a 25% discount is worth it to buy two of the same thing.
Which stores often run BOGO sales?
You’ll commonly see buy one, get one sales at grocery stores and retail stores.
Most businesses use these promotions as a way to clear out inventory. So, stores that sell items that are perishable or that are based on seasons will likely have these sales.
How can you find out about BOGO sales and coupons?
Buy one, get one sales and coupons are typically included in the weekly sales pages for their respective stores.
You can find out about upcoming promotions by grabbing a weekly ads page in-store. They’re usually stacked at the store’s entrance.
Unless you’re a couponer, you may not pay attention to these weekly ads, but they’re a great resource for planning to take advantage of sales ahead of time. You may also see signs on store shelves promoting these sales.
You can also find out about these promotions online.
For grocery stores, you’ll find this in the “Weekly Sales” section of their site. You’ll need to enter your zip code and choose the store you plan on shopping because sales often vary by location.
In this particular case, they are running a buy one, get one free of equal or lesser value sale. You would simply click on the item that you’re interested in purchasing to find out what items it applies to.
For retailers, you will be able to find BOGO sale information on the “Sales” tab of their site.
Many stores also use email marketing to promote upcoming sales events and coupons. So if you’re on their email list, you may get access to sales information before the average consumer.
When are BOGO items not worth it?
Taking advantage of a buy one, get one sale is only worth it when you’re truly saving money and you’ll actually use the items that you purchase.
BOGO items aren’t worth it if they’ll go unused.
There’s no need in purchasing something that will just collect dust or, worse, expire. Only leverage these sales for items that you will truly consume or else it’ll be a waste of money in the end.
If you don’t have space for the items that you’re purchasing, then it’s also not worth it. In that case, your focus should be less on buying more goods and more on using or consuming what you already have.
Lastly, if the price is more than you’d normally pay…walk away.
One item that I like to get during a BOGO sale is pasta sauce. It’s something that I know I’ll use and have space for.
However, many times when the more expensive brand is on sale, the per-unit cost is still higher than the store brand that I normally buy.
In this case, the BOGO item isn’t worth it to me. I’d only purchase it if the per-unit cost is equal to or lower than what I’d normally pay.
Final Thoughts on BOGO Sales
Buy one, get one sales are a great way to save some money on everyday items that you purchase.
They provide an opportunity to get more product at a lower price. However, they’re only worth it if you’ll actually use what you buy, have the space to store it, and aren’t spending more than you normally would.
You can always check out your favorite store’s weekly ad, in-store or online, to find out what BOGO sales are happening soon.
–By Fo Alexander