April 22, 2018

Stacking B1G1 Coupons and $1/1 Coupons?

May 20, 2010

One question I keep getting asked lately is if it’s legal to stack a B1G1 Free coupon with an additional $/1 coupon (to use on the item you are not getting free).  Quite frankly, I don’t know.

I have skipped around on the fence on this issue, but have never been able to stick on one side – which is probably pretty confusing for everyone.  So today, I am making up my mind!

Here’s the debate:  Should you stack a B1G1 Free coupon with a $/1 coupon?

Yes – You can use 1 coupon per item.  A B1G1 Free coupon is attached to 1 item – the free item.  So, you can use a $1/1 coupon on the non-free item.  Therefore you are using 1 coupon per item.


No – A B1G1 Free coupon is no different than say, a $1/2 coupon.  You wouldn’t stack a $1/1 and a $1/2 on the same two items, so a B1G1 coupon should be thought of in the same way.

My gut feeling is no.

So, from this point forward I will no longer be stacking B1G1 Free coupons and $/1 coupons in my match-up posts.

I hope this will help clear up some confusion and keep my blog more in line with honest couponing.

“Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity” – Titus 2:7


  1. I am the exact same way. I see a little bit of the logic on the “yes” part but I don’t do it because of the reasoning behind the “no”. I do view BOGO coupons as the same as $1/2 coupon in terms of how many items they are applying to. 🙂 As far as some people saying that the cashier let them/ they were told they could by a manager/ the register didn’t beep/ etc my feeling is the same as when those situations come up with a coupon of the wrong size. Like you’ll see on matchups to use a coupon on a sale item but the size will not be the one specifically listed on the coupon (usually the bloggers don’t realize) and somebody will bring it up but other people will be like ____ (insert one of the excuses above) so it is ok. People can coupon however they want but for me, I agree with sticking to honest coupon use. Your blog is extremely refreshing 😀

    • @Rae, Agreed. The register will “allow” a lot of dishonest coupon use, so that is no grounds for determining whether or not using that coupon is okay.

      Thank you for your very kind comment. 🙂

  2. I go back and forth on this one too! It seems like lately I have had so many beeps when I try this which did not happen in the past. I haven’t made up my mind yet but something to think about for sure!

  3. Rae took the words right out of my mouth. I, too, feel that a B1G1 coupon is the same as a $1/2, because it is for TWO items.

    Great post, Steph. Thanks for it! Nice, Scripture, too 🙂
    .-= Amy@Amy Loves It!´s last blog ..Before you make plans, read this =-.

  4. On the other side of things, you are getting ONE free for buying another item. No one says you have to pay FULL price for that one item just to get the other free. So, if an item is $4.00 and I have $1.00 coupon, I give it to the cashier, and I pay only $3.00 instead of the $4.00 and I get the other free. There is nothing fraudulent about that at all.

    • i would say that is a good logic and my Publix, WAG, Target do not have any problem with it. All transactions have been very smooth when it comes to using B1G1 and $1/1 off coupon. I would say YES. But I would say NO for B1G1 and $1/2 together.

    • @Sheri, Right, no one says you have to pay full price for the one you are buying…but that doesn’t mean that you should stack coupons.

      • @Stephanie,
        OK but then by that standard you shouldn’t stack ANY coupons then. I think as long as it isn’t $1/2 go for it and save some extra money! I used to work for a major retailer who always told us that kind of stuff (price matching bogos and using a coupon) is ok. I’d do it no problems!

  5. I agree with the “no” answer, too. I think there are a couple exceptions, though. If the store sale is BOGO then I will use a manufacturer coupon for one item. Also, if I am stacking coupons I will use a manufacturer BOGO coupon and a store coupon for an amount off or vice versa (store BOGO coupon and manufacturer coupon for amount off).
    .-= Mel´s last blog ..Product Review and Coupon Giveaway =-.

    • Thanks for finally answering my question. I’ve found such conflicting and confusing answer to this. You’ve cleared it up!

    • Since so many stores now list their B1G1 items on the receipt as half price (say the item is $4, each item shows on the receipt for $2), I will now use a manufacturer’s coupon on each item, b/c they are stating that no item is really free, but rather half price. This is also when I will buy just 1 of the item for half price too when I only need just one.

  6. Great post, Stephanie. I tend to agree with you on the no side, which is why I don’t post scenarios using more than 1 coupon with a B1G1 coupon, but I know it’s kind of a gray area.
    .-= Corrie @ “Cents”able Momma´s last blog ..Coinstar: Get up to $5 in Amazon MP3 Credits =-.

  7. I have always wondered about this as well and I really liked the input of your post! I always try to be completely honest and ethical in my couponing while still stretching those coupons as far as they will go. Thus, I really hate that this is such a grey area.

    However, I see many respectable bloggers posting scenarious that stack BOGO coupons with other coupons and I have never had a problem at a store when I have tried to stack them. Also I would like to point out that some coupons state FREE when you buy versus Buy get FREE. I tend to see that as the same scenario as $1 off wyb … No one ever seems to bat an eyelash at using another coupon on . Just another thing to think about.

  8. Hey. Just wanted to say that I will use both coupons, but I would never push it if they say, “you can’t do that”. Right now, no one has ever said that, if the register takes it, they are fine with it. They get paid back for both coupons. But then, I would certainly never judge someone who feels badly about using both.

  9. If i have a B1G1 and a 1/1 I don’t see anything wrong with using both I am buying one and no one says I have to pay full price for the one item I am buying …now if I had a B1G1 and a 1/2 then that is a whole different story I think that one is wrong to combine…But I guess everyone needs to make up their own mind…love ur blog 🙂

  10. I have the official coupon policy for Rite-Aid and CVS printed and they both state that you can use a $/1 coupon along with a B1G1 coupon and also a B1G1 coupon with a B1G1 sale. The other stores that I have the policy for do not specifically state that you can do it that way, but they do say that they accept 1 coupon per item purchased.

    • @Amanda, I have reviewed both the CVS and Rite Aid coupon policies and neither mention stacking a B1G1 coupon with a $1/1 coupon. They allow you to use a b1g1 coupon with a b1g1 SALE and they allow you to use 2 $1/1 coupons on a b1g1 SALE, but they do not even mention using a b1g1 coupon and a $1/1 coupon together.

      • Shelly G. says:

        @Stephanie, Okay I guess this is another gray area that is confusing to me but… if you dont want to use a coupon on the b1g1 free why would you use 2 $1/1 coupons on a b1g1 SALE It almost seems the same thing to me as using a b1g1 coupon and another coupon…

        • @Shelly G., I don’t think all stores are like this, but one reason someone might not stack a BOGO coupon, but use 2 coupons on BOGO sales is because some stores advertise BOGO, but it really rings up at 1/2 price and it is unquestionably legal to use 2 coupons.

  11. Stephanie says:

    I would have to respectfully disagree! I use them together all the time and have never had a problem. Furthermore, I also have read several coupon policies, just as Amanda has, that states clearly the ability to stack them together.

    I will conitinue to use mine together. How is it ‘cheating’ or commiting coupon fraud if the register accepts them and the policy states you can use them together?

  12. I don’t see anything wrong with using the 2 coupons because you are still using only 1 coupon per item.

  13. Melissa says:

    If the store is ok with it, I don’t see the problem, now if it is against the stores policy then it is wrong to try and force it.

  14. If a store policy agrees with it you would think that they have ok’d it with the manufacturer. Otherwise, they risk the manufacturer declining to pay the coupon should they audit. I was told by a store once that they were randomly audited to keep coupon fraud down.

    • @Anna, I don’t think many stores even consider anyone stacking coupons like that and (as we see all the time) some info gets lost in translation….they may have just misunderstood each other.

      • Well, some must consider it for it to be written into their coupon policy. I honestly have never thought about it before and dont remember reading a coupon policy about it. I would not be ok with doing it at a store that does not allow it in their policy, but if they have it written in then I would have to wonder if they had not done the checking on it?


        • PS-I would be interested to know if someone could call one of the stores that has it in their policy and ask them. That seems like the easiest way to see if the manufacturers are ok with it at those particular stores.

        • @Anna@moldingminds.com, I have yet to come across a store policy that says they allow this. Everyone keeps saying CVS & Rite Aid policies allow it but I have reviewed the policies and neither mention it. They allow the use of 2 coupons on a b1g1 free SALE which is probably what everyone keeps thinking of. But that is not the same. I would like to see some proof of these supposed store policies that allow this b1g1/$1 coupon stacking.

  15. Thank you! That is my gut feeling as well and have decided to take the ‘high road’ when I coupon and stack. I also recently decided taht any blogs I would be following would have to also follow the high road.

  16. I have been to a store that wouldn’t allow that and I’ve been to stores that do. I just follow their coupon policy. The store gets all that money back anyways if they follow manufacturer’s rules. And if the manufacturer won’t allow it, the computer systems won’t let it scan 🙂 I agree with everyone else tho, BOGOF coupon is to get the 2nd one free after buying the first. Doesn’t say get one item free when you buy another at regular price…. So why shouldn’t we get a discount on the one we are purchasing? Do you know how much retailers mark up? And the manufacturer is paying them back every penny (plus like 8 cents many coupons say) Thats a crap ton of money they get back just because we coupon. We’re giving the stores free money w/each and every manf. Q… They should be thanking us. 8 cents ads up when you think of how many Q many of us use each visit and how many people visit that store!

    • @Tiff, The computer systems allow many coupons to scan that are perhaps for the wrong product/size/etc….just because it scans, doesn’t make it right.

      And you are getting a discount on the first one – a B1G1 Free coupon is like getting 2 items for 50% off. 🙂

  17. Tammy K says:

    Definately Not!! Many Target stores are going against the grain and saying no to the above stack. Also, Safeway stores have implemented a new policy of the same. Manufacturers that I have spoken with do not want the B1G1 to be used like this. They see it as the same as the $1/2. Honestly, it is!

  18. @Tiff

    Many stores do not get the money back on coupons if they do not follow the rules. I talked a lot with one store manager and corprate office and found that when they stack Qs like that they loose money. Many of them are working on fixing their computter to keep it from happening. As far as mark-ups go…this is America and no one said we had to not make money. It is part of doing buiseness. No one said Walmart, Kroger, ect were non-profits!

    • @Angela,
      How is it possible that they lose money? The coupons they send in are in a massively HUGE group, and usually months past the time they were used. How would a manufacturer or clearing house have any idea in what manner the coupons were used?

      • @Sheri,
        I was thinking the same thing. I believe that the stores have to show invoices of items sold, but I don’t think that it has to be like receipts where it shows exactly when n where a coupon was used, just that there were that many items sold. I’ve found that a lot of people are couponing now, but I’ve been in line and seen people buying things that I am that are on sale, but they have no coupons.

        • @Brit,

          The way it is explained to me was that there are MANY times that certain stores will get audited on the Qs they send in; thus if they do not follow they rules they do not get paid.

          I mean what would stop a store from just sending in a bunch of Qs because after all they do sell the items to people that do not use Qs?

          I think it is up to a person, if they want to skate a thin line and use both, or expried, or the wrong size or whatever…For me I am just going to follow the rules on the Q and if it says BOGO to me that covers both items and with that being said I will only follow blogs that do the same.

        • @Brit,
          Last week I had $7+ coupons that I never got credit for at Walmart. I handed my stack over but when I reviewed my receipt at home I realized not all my coupons were taken off. I have gotten no resolution from the store for myself but I am sure they will still be sending those coupons in to get paid for them. So in that situation they will get back my $7+ after already getting that cash from me… they profit $14+

        • AngelKitty4OU says:


          A lot of times, they DO audit the stores to make sure the coupons that they get were submitted correctly. The stores have every receipt in their computer from months and months back, and has to match each receipt with each coupon. If theyweren’t submitted correctly, no reimbursment.

          For example, I have a store that doubles coupons. The computers will, on occasion, double a coupon that says Do Not Double. Each cashier has to manually override the doubling, or they won’t get reimbursed for it. They are trained to do this. If, at the end of each day, it is found that they had let a DND coupon double, it causes their drawer to be short, which is grounds for a write-up. Needless to say, they are very careful about not doubling DND coupons.

          As for the $.08 handling fee, I was told that that goes directly to the service they use to submit the coupons. So, the store itself isn’t making any extra money…just the value of the coupon. 🙂

  19. I am in agreement with you not posting anything with two coupons on one item. He provides, and will honor it!

  20. TiffanyLynn says:

    I think that this is all up to your own concious (sp). If you don’t have a problem and the stores you frequent allow it, then it’s the own stores fault if they don’t get their money back. But if you feel that you’re committing a form of Qfraud, then you know that you shouldn’t do it.

  21. kim downham says:

    im ok wth it -the store that i work at allows it.
    so i figure if the store policy allows it -then it is probably ok.

    however we do not price adjust for a coupon (for instance .97 item and use a 1.00 coupon) that is wrong for sure.

    • @kim downham,

      Well this brings up another issue. Target told me the other day they no longer price adjust coupons they just accept them. Does that mean we should no longer use coupons that exceed the value at Target as that is obviously not what the manufacturer intends?

  22. I do use B1G1 with $/1 coupons. It is 2 values off of 2 different items.
    Stacking a store coupon with a manufacturer coupon is getting 2 values off of 1 item, yet does not seem to be questioned by couponers when a stores policy accepts it.
    Then there is the question of using coupons that have a greater value than the item and being able to get overage. ($1/1 for a $0.97 item) Do you not use the coupon? Do you question the cashier to be sure they adjust the coupon down?
    What about all the coupons that do not specify that trial size it not included… is it OK to get the trial size with them for free?
    Dont forget the drugstore deals where you buy the diabetes testing device with a coupon and get reward $ back that I have seen posts about. Is it necessary to have your local store order extra kits in advance for you so you can make a ton of money off “buying” them?? What does one do with 20+ testing devices???
    Many coupon questions can arise over many different scenerios. Nobody will agree 100% of the time. They best we can do is take the information presented and choose what is right for us personally.

    • @Kelly, When you use a Target coupon and a manufacturer coupon, that is not the same as above. The store is paying for one and the manufacturer the other, whereas with the situation above, you are stacking 2 manufacturer coupons and the manufacturer is paying both of those.

      As far as using “any” coupons on trial sizes, I know people that have written to some of the manufacturers to ask if this was ok and have been told that if it says “any” it means “any”. And a lot of times, after a certain brand’s coupon has been out many times, they usually learn and put ____ and up. Others feel that the coupon brings in enough people buying full size that it’s worth it to have some people buying trial sizes.

      I can’t comment on the 20 meters thing as I have bought less than 5 (all of them from different sales/stores) and they have gone to my grandparents because the Bayer ones come with the strips/lancets so it saves them money on those.

    • @Kelly, Store coupons are not the same as manufacturer’s coupons. Store coupons are a store discount provided by the store, manufacturer’s coupons are reimbursed by the manufacturer. So, it is perfectly ok to use both.

      Trial sizes are a pretty easy answer – manufacturer’s include “not valid on trial sizes” in the terms of the coupon if they don’t want us to use them on the trial size.

      The diabetes monitors I don’t personally buy but I don’t necessarily see a problem with someone buying them to get overage. As for buying 20…that might be taking it a bit overboard.

      Any of those scenarios I suggest listening to your conscience; if you don’t feel that it’s right then don’t do it.

  23. Stephanie, I’ve been having this very same debate with readers. It seems that many people feel that if they’re “allowed to do it at the register,” then it must be okay.

    I personally won’t post a B1G1 coupon with a $/1 coupon – I don’t think it’s an ethical use of coupons. The B1G1 coupon will NOT WORK unless you purchase 2 items – and those 2 items are matched with that coupon in the same way as a $1/2 coupon would be. You can’t use another manufacturer coupon on the same item.

    As a blogger, I consider it my responsibility to recommend only those deals that use coupons appropriately. There is enough misuse going around to make all coupon-users look bad – and there’s plenty of money to be saved by using coupons correctly.

    Thank you for standing up and saying what needs to be said. I’ve always made it a policy not to stack manufacturer coupons in this way – and you’ve encouraged me that maybe it’s time to stand up and say it.

    • @Jolyn,

      I am so greatful that you follow the say ‘no’ because I enjoy your blog as well!

    • @Jolyn, Thank you for your well-written comment, Jolyn.

      I agree, it is our responsibility as teachers to have the highest standards of ethics. We can’t complain about the misuse of coupons if we do not teach proper and ethical couponing to begin with.

  24. Jessica says:

    In my opinion, as long as the B1G1 coupons states that it connot be combined with any other offers, then it is fair game to use the other coupon. I don’t think it is dishonest, I just think it is smart. Just like couponing and getting things free… some people think it is right, some people do not… but is it really wrong? I too enjoy your blog… Thank you for helping so many of us out!

  25. Thanks for the great post, Stephanie- and for taking what might be considered an unpopular stand in the deal blogging community. My gut is “no” as well. The way I see it, if my conscious is saying it’s probably not the *best* way to coupon, is it worth the free toothpaste or CoverGirl? I want to coupon in the best way, not a good-enough way. Not everyone sees this issue as a breach of character, but I personally don’t feel right about it, so I avoid it.

    • @Dana @ Mrs. Moneysaver, Exactly, I will not compromise my integrity for a free tube of toothpaste. 🙂

      I’m so glad you agree. I loved your honest couponing post that you wrote a couple years ago and think of it often when I question whether something is right or wrong, not just in regards to couponing either.

      “You cannot serve both God and money.”

  26. I just read about 10 different coupons from my coupon stash and
    everyone of them said limit one coupon per item. So stacking
    would be 2 coupons on 1 item.

    • @Emily, The debate is over whether the bogo coupon is counted toward both items (like $1/2 coupons) or just one. Some of us feel that the bogo is counted toward both so even if you technically have 2 pieces of paper for 2 items, you are really using 3 items worth of coupon on 2 items. Others feel that it only counts as one so they are only using 1 per item.

  27. I’ve never heard of target just taking the coupon for face value even if the item is less than that. I know walmart has it automatic in their system to take what the face value is unless its cheaper then they take the amount. And companies only have to have proof they sold atleast the same number of items as coupons. so the person who they didn’t take the coupons off at the register did just give the store money basically but the reason it didn’t take it off was probably some technical error between what was specified on the coupon and what you actually bought.

  28. Crystal says:

    @Emily ~ I think you have the best point here and the ONLY point that made me realize that “NO” may be the right decision.

    Most coupons will state “Limit One coupon per item purchased” (e.g. Nivea)

    General Mills $1/2 states “No other coupon may be used with this coupon”

    Wheaties $.75/1 “No other coupon may be used with this coupon”

    So if you had a bogo wheaties coupon you could not combine with a $/1 off per the coupon stipulation.

    So it depends on what the actual coupon reads!!!

    I think that when a coupon reads “Limit one coupon per purchase” it means no bogo and $/1 rather than what Target thinks: Only 1 per transaction.

    I emailed Tide and they disagreed with Target. The agreed that if you have 5 tide products you can use 5 coupons. Target seems to think you can’t buy more than 1 in a transaction because the coupon states “Limit one per purchase”

    Thanks for the post! And all the input 🙂

    • @Crystal, Have you tried a different Target? It’s not their corporate policy to read it like that so you may have better luck at a different store (unless there isn’t another one near you)

  29. Michele says:

    I can honestly tell you because I am a cashier and have been for 18 years. If the cashier follows the rules of couponing, you are not able to use a coupon against the free item.If it is a BOGO and you have 2 coupons for 1.00 of each item you can only use 1 of them since you are only buying one of them the other is free. We can not “pay” you to take the item. If they were 2/4.00 yes you could then use 2 coupons. One for each item. If in fact you wanted to use the other coupon on the BOGO you would then have to buy a 3rd item. Just as if you had a coupon that said Free shaving gel if you buy razors. You can not use a coupon against the shaving gel. The first coupon is for the razors and shaving gel together you would have to buy another shaving gel to use that coupon. You can not use coupons against coupons. It is 1 coupon per item.

  30. I honestly wish that there was a “couponing law” book, but there is not. I personally do not have conscience issues with stacking a B1G1 coupon with a $ off coupon (because I don’t view a B1G1 as a $/2), as long as the coupon does not specifically prohibit it.

    That being said, I am always up for being convinced otherwise, but it will likely take a discussion with several manufacturers before I come to a firm conclusion.
    .-= Rachel @ Surviving The Stores´s last blog ..Free Chick-Fil-A Spicy Chicken Sandwich *Reminder*! =-.

  31. I’m with you on the “No” stance. I’ve never posted scenarios that involve the use of a BOGO coupon + an additional coupon. Frankly, it’s never made sense to me how it could be rationalized, knowing what we know about coupon terms and conditions. The fact that there continues to be so much debate about this particular topic just demonstrates that it’s probably not meant to be ….otherwise we wouldn’t all be scratching our heads!
    .-= Julie @ Frugal Shopping With Julie´s last blog ..Healthy Balance Juice Giveaway =-.

  32. They slam us with different value coupons in the same marketing ad!

    Why do manufacturers put these 2 coupons together in the SS or RP for in the first place? I used Old Spice body wash and deodorant coupons that I stacked together- first one was B1G1 stacked with buy 2 get $-4.00 and also a buy 2 deodorant/body wash get a free body spray. They had all these coupons in the ad on the same page, of course they want you and expect you to use them together.
    Tonight at Target I purchased a new Swiffer sweeper Vac for 38.99. I used the -$5.00 WYB the sweeper vac. I also used the free swiffer refill cloths coupon when you buy a swiffer sweeper vac. These coupon came together in the same P&G coupon booklet, do they think that we aren’t going to or shouldn’t use these together? Is this wrong too? I think not!!

    • @Karen, I am going to have to disagree with you there. They do not expect you to use all their coupons at once on a single purchase. Listerine, for example, will often put out an entire page of coupons – 50c/1, $1/1, $1.50/2, $3/3, etc. Does that mean we should stack them all? Absolutely NOT.

      • @Stephanie,

        If there is a page with two coupons on it:

        1) $4 off when you buy a swiffer vac, and
        2) Free Swiffer Refills when you buy a swiffer vac ;

        it implies that the manufacturer is suggesting you to get Buy one swiffer vac and get free refills, as well as apply a 4$ coupon off the swiffer vac. This follows the one coupon per item, because it is two items, and two coupons, Even though both coupons are qualified by buying the same item……

        unless the manfacturer intends for you to buy two siffer vacs in order to get both deals, which doesn’t seem logical,

        or intends for you to choose one of the deals, which if this were the case, it seems to me they would make clear in the ad or implement a restriction, since it is a topic which apparently even veteran couponers are unable to decipher, much less casual or novice couponers.

        However, these are my own opinions based on the implications of this particular scenario….which is essentially a Buy One x/ Get One y Free + 4$ the x.

        Very Respectfully,

      • @Stephanie,

        I also think that your reply to Karen’s comment is a little off.

        In your scenario, Listerine is offering several coupons, all on different bottles of Listerine. You question as to whether we should stack all of these, I say ABSOLUTELY, considering you have to buy extra bottles of Listerine in order to use each coupon, which I am sure the manufacturer appreciates.

        However, In the Swiffer scenario, both coupons were qualified by one purchase, the very expensive swiffer, I do not think the manufacturer intends for you to have to buy two swiffers in order to use both coupons, nor do I think it intends for you to choose one of the deals over the other, otherwise it would be made clear, or a restriction would be put in place in order to avoid confusion.

        This applies to the current debate, because again it is essentially two coupons, being used for two items, ( following the 1Q/item) rule, even though one of the items is free, and both Qs are qualified by the same purchase. You are getting a free item for the purchase, and as an extra incentive, you are allowed to use a coupon so as not to have to pay full price on THAT purchase.

        That is my analysis of the two seperate, ( and in my mind unrelated) scenarios.

        • @David, Referring to the Listerine scenario – sometimes they are for different varieties and sometimes not, so I do think the scenario fits.

          And I do think Swiffer is giving you the option to either save $4 off OR get a Free refill. Many coupons now clearly state on the coupon “limit 1 coupon per purchase of the items indicated.” – I don’t see how they can make it any clearer.

          If we were to use your stance of a bogo coupon only applying to the free item then one might assume that you could get 100 “Buy 1 Swiffer and Get a Free Refill” Coupons and buy just 1 Swiffer and get 100 free refills. I really doubt that is how the manufacturer intends for it to be used.

  33. I respect your opinion on this, but I don’t agree that a BOGO is the same as a $1/2. The BOGO coupon doesn’t cover two items. The reason you *have* to buy 2 items to use it is because if you buy one but don’t take a second one, then there is nothing for the *free* to apply to. You are free to buy only one and then hand over your BOGO coupon, and it won’t scan but only because there is nothing there that it can apply to.

    Now, sure, some stores don’t accept the practice, just like some stores have different policies about whether or not you can use a coupon on both items in a store BOGO sale. I do seriously doubt that Rite-Aid and other stores would have it written in their coupon policy that they will accept a $1/1 and a BOGO coupon stacked if there was a problem with the manufacturers. Since the stores and manufacturers are equally interested in making a profit, I don’t think the store would try to undercut the mfr. by accepting coupons in a manner that contradicts the mfr. intent.

    Personally, what I find odd and unethical is combining a BOGO sale with a BOGO coupon to get both free. This seems to be pretty accepted practice, and I know that some stores also explicitly allow this in their coupon policies, but to my mind, if I do this, I’m not *buying* either, so I’m not fulfilling the “buy” part of either deal. I think that you’ll defend this practice by saying that the store is giving you one for free and the mfr is giving you the other, or at least that’s how I usually see it explained, but it’s still too weird to me, so I don’t do it.

    You’re absolutely right that just because the register doesn’t beep, that doesn’t make it ethical, but I do really see a BOGO coupon as applying just to the free item (even though that purchase is tied to the purchase of another thing), so I don’t think this is using more than one coupon per item. But there is admittedly a lot of gray area in couponing, and this is one of those places.

    • @Julie, I’m totally with you on this. I’ve never felt bad about it because, like you, I feel that the coupon only applies to the free item, so I’m able to use another coupon on the purchased item without it being multiple coupons per item.
      .-= Kaye´s last blog ..8 Things Your Child Should Know =-.

  34. Jessica says:

    Wow! This is definitely a gray area and I have enjoyed reading the posts from everyone on both sides, several of which blogs I follow daily. There obviously should be a legal explanation from “manufacturers”. Does anyone have suggestions on how to contact the manufacturers? or whomever prints the manufacturer coupons? I will be contacting the CIC to determine their opinion. Thanks for your honesty!

  35. What about if the store is having a BOGO sale and you have a $1 off 2 items coupon. Do you think it’s ok to use the coupon or that it will be accepted without incident since one of the items is ‘free’?

    • Michele says:

      At my store if we are having a sale that is a BOGO and you have a coupon that says $1.00 off 2 items yes we will take the coupon. However. for instance if we have a BOGO on Aunt Millies bread, you can not use 2 coupons that say .55 off a loaf of bread trying to apply 1 coupon per each loaf of bread because 1 of the loaves are free. If the sale is 2/3.00 that is a different story.

      • @Michele, Thank you – good to know!

      • @Michele, Tried this yesterday – the coup I had beeped at the reg (could have been for another reason) but the cashier pushed it through.

        • Michele says:

          sometimes the registers don’t read the UPC codes on the coupons because they are weird in that way. For some reason the coupons have 2 sets of bar codes so that was probally the reason. If the coupon was not correct the cashier would not(or I should say should not) have pushed it threw.

  36. Way to go! Keep true to yourself.

  37. I would agree that combining a BOGO with a $1/1 coupon is not what the manufacture has in mind when issuing them. Otherwise, instead of the second coupon being $1/1 why not use another BOGO. And another and another and another …

    • @Joe, That is a GREAT point. For all of you that consider a BOGO coupon as applying toward one item and that it’s ok to use 2 coupons for those 2 items, why wouldn’t you be able to use 2 manufacturer’s BOGO coupons on those 2 items? Obviously that is wrong but what would your reasoning be if they are both just applying to one item each?

    • @Joe, Excellent point, Joe!!

  38. Wow. I really haven’t ever given this any thought and my conscience doesn’t have a problem with it. I guess like some others on here I feel that the “Free” portion only applies to one item. And since I feel that way, I don’t see it as using multiple coupons on one item because any other coupon would go against the “buy” item. Of course, if it states “buy one at full price” or something simliar, I wouldn’t test it. I’m not one to use a coupon just because the register lets me. I honestly feel okay about this.

    I’ve read all of the above arguments (and replied to some) and I have not been persuaded to change the way I feel about it. Nothing inside me struggling about it, so I don’t guess I have a problem with it.

    The stores get reimbursed regardless, so this will not affect them.

    The manufacturers make a killing off each item regardless of how much you pay for it (unless you ALWAYS get it free, but they are pretty good at avoiding that). If it take $0.03 to make a tube of toothpaste and I normally pay $4 for it. Even if I use a a BOGO coupon and a $1 coupon, the manufacturer is still making a huge profit. And since only about 12% of Americans use coupons, I don’t think the manufactureres are hurting too much. They distribute coupons in order to draw customers to their product. If they were not making money, they would stop offering coupons.

    I would never do anything that I felt to be unethical. I will not try to use $1/1 with a $1/2 because I know that is trying to use two coupons on one product. I don’t get items that the coupon was not meant for just because the bar code allows it.

    However, I just don’t see a problem with this.

    Thanks for an interesting discussion! It’s been fun to read!
    .-= Kaye´s last blog ..8 Things Your Child Should Know =-.

  39. Karen W says:

    Stephanie–This is the post that made me a fan of your blog. In fact, I’m going to link to this discussion in an article I’m writing on ethical couponing (referencing the gray areas).

    Coupons are a trust between the consumer, store, and manufacturer. I like the ethics of your stand.

  40. patty crow says:

    get this if cvs has a b1g1 on sale and you have a b1g1 coupon it gives you both
    items free
    that is what their web site says check it out

    happy couponing\\ patty

  41. Melissa D. says:

    I was a little fuzzy on whether it was okay or not so I specifically point those coupons out to the cashier. If they are okay with taking both, then I I am okay with it. If they have a problem with it, I use whichever coupon makes it a better deal and keep the other one for later.

  42. A few thoughts!
    1.) If you are okay with using two $1/1 coupons on a B1G1 SALE, that isn’t being HONEST as you are saying… (You are getting one FREE, so how is it right for you to take an additional dollar off of the one you are purchasing?? You are actually using both coupons on the ONE product… You can’t take $1 off of FREE.) If it was intended for you to get $2 off of ONE product, it would say so…… =)

    2.) Yes, stores/computers allow the use of $/1 with a B1G1 Coupon, and the way I see it is this: Manufacturers can very EASILY add the phrase “May not be used with any other coupon/offer” on the B1G1 coupons, if this wasn’t allowed.

  43. Does $1/1 mean $1 off when you purchase 1 item? And $1/2 mean $1 off when you purchase 2 items??

  44. Kristina C says:

    I haven’t read through all the comments so forgive me if I am treading old ground, but I see the logic in both approaches. I wonder what the intentions are of the manufacturers who issue the coupons. For example, P&G frequently issues b1g1 coupons for the products knowing full well they have other coupons sources that contain $1/1 coupons. And they have to know these are being used together based upon redemption trends. Are they OK with it? After all, they are the ones footing the bill. I understand they can’t speak for all manufacturers, but I would like a definitive answer on the issue. I hope that the new bar codes that are coming out on coupons will resolve the debate.

  45. Michelle says:

    I do and will continue to use the bogo and ONE discount coupon. There is nothing on the bogo that states you must pay full price. I have no logical reason not to use a coupon on the item I am paint for. To me the argument for no would also mean you shouldn’t use a bogo at the same time as a sale. I do not attempt o use multiple discounts with a bogo. I try to stack a sale, a bogo, and one coupon on my pay item. When I worked retail this practice was consistent with store policy.

  46. Claudia says:

    They make these coupons too confusing to use. In regards to coupon stacking, if you have two coupons for the same item are in either different amounts or include your item or other varieties of the same brand as stated on the coupon, it should be allowed without you feeling guilty to stack them. I did this with my cereal, and the store took them without and issue. I’ve noticed that more recent coupons even state “limit of 4 like coupons for this item.” They wouldn’t need to put that if people weren’t already stacking the different coupon types together and if it was fraud. That is what I assumed, and have not had a problem yet.

  47. No – A B1G1 Free coupon is no different than say, a $1/2 coupon. You wouldn’t stack a $1/1 and a $1/2 on the same two items, so a B1G1 coupon should be thought of in the same way.

    I agree with you NO example above because in that scenario you are applying $1.00 off twice on one item (you are, afterall, just buying 2 items). Now if you were buying 3 items then I would be OK with applying the coupons in your example.

    I do agree, however, that if the b1g1 is a store sale, coupon can be used.

  48. Ok… have to comment here. I teach coupon workshops. I have always believed yes, this is legit. However, it came up with a store manager of Kroger the other day. I wanted to look into the issue further. I called P&G directly. They said that their policy is to allow one coupon per item. She said technically you do have 2 items, but the conditions require the purchase of one to get the other. She said ultimately they leave this up to the individual store or retailer to choose if they will take them both. I think if it states “Can not be combined with any other coupon or other offer” then it is a definate no. However, it it states the regular “One coupon per purchase” then it is a yes.

  49. I am brand new to couponing too. I don’t want to be hated here, but this is word for word from my publix coupon policy and I quote …

    “For a buy-one-get-one free (BOGO) offer, each item is considered a separate sale. We will accept a manufacturer’s coupon and either a Publix or a competitor coupon on the same item.”

    I had 2 publix bogo coupons, and I had 4 manufactures coupons and I used all 6 coupons on the 4 Items that I got. I got a 75% savings and I didn’t get a hard time at the store for doing this. I don’t feel it’s wrong to do this. Sorry if this bothers some people. I wouldn’t do anything that I felt was unethical, and I really don’t think this is.

  50. P.S. I wouldn’t have bought these items if I didn’t get such a great deal, and my 4 items require me to buy refills, so they will continue to get money from me. The store is reimbursed from the manufacturer, and the manufacturer handed out the coupons knowing that people were going to use them. The manufacturers know that their coupons are being used this way, if it were an issue the store would have a policy and the manufacturer would state something on the coupon to stop them from being used in this way.
    My vote is for YES!

  51. Jennifer says:

    I had a BOGO coupon on Body Wash and Walgreen’s had “Buy 1 get 50% off on second product.” The price was 5.00 and I ended up paying 2.50 and a free product.

  52. Some stores coupon policies , such as dillons, openly state that it is okay to use a b1g1 coupon in addition to another manufactures coupon. However they will not let you use a manufactors coupon on an item that is part of a $/on 2 deal.

  53. Yolanda Guerrero says:

    Does a p&g coupon beep if u use a BOGO with a x/1 thanks

  54. I work for a major retailer and ppl try this all the time. Those coupons are for 2 items. Sometimes our registers allow them to Slip by us. A lot of these ppl do not seem to realize that those coupons are REAL money! If we Don’t catch it The manufacture will not Reimburse us the Value of those Coupons! Which Means cashiers Draw is now short my store allows us to be short 5$ a day anymore for any reason WILL result in a write up! Do you really want to be responsible for someone getting written up or Fired? In store BOGOs are fine Because the Stores are providing the discount and do not expect to be reimbursed.
    You can argue all you want but the Manufacturer will not Reimburse us for the BOGO used with any other coupon

  55. laura balzekas says:

    I agree that its up to the store. In particular Walgreens has a policy where at the end of your transaction your items purchased must equal the number of coupons, I have noticed that this keeps you from stacking because if you have a b1g1free coupon it counts as 2 coupons because the coupon applies to 2 items. Of course you could purchase a filler item but that is more money spent at that store. So some stores may allow it but its going to be a pain in the butt at the register and i hate how noone thinks if you push it too much the whole industry may lessen the amt of stores/manufacturers that have coupons. after all the idea is for them to sell a product for a fair price, not have people take advantage.

  56. I’m not sure I agree that there is an ethical dilemma with using a $1/1 for each item of a B1G1 since the store is actually being reimbursed by the manufacturer for both coupons. When the register rings up the two items they charge full price for both then reflect the refund on the price of one. Since they can collect for the coupons from the manufacturer, they MAKE more money on your purchase than if you had only used one coupon, (plus a handling fee). I would think that is why stores ring up the coupons without trouble on B1G1.

  57. im just getting into couponing but i do have a question. if there is a b1g1 and i have a coupon for that same item for free can i still get the b1g1 or do i actually got to purchase the item to get the free one?

  58. Not sure this applies to the subject, but I went the Giant Food Store the other day and they had Fiber One Bread on sale Buy One Get One Free. I had two $1/1 coupons. I wanted to use both coupons but wasn’t sure if the free one would actually count as a second purchase to allow the 2nd coupon. So before I started my trip through the store I asked customer service and she basically told me the following: “I am not real sure, but I would think it would count because it is two items. However, must cashiers will override it anyway. So yeah, go for it.” So I got what should have been close to $8 for 2 loaves of that bread was like $2 and some change. But I question how legit it really was. I mean the store okayed it, so was it “honest”?


  59. Okay. It took me a while of reading through the comments to understand what you are trying to say.
    I was thinking you meant you can’t stack coupons, whatsoever, if you’re getting something free.
    I coupon a lot at target and its the end of 2013. They allow 1 mfc, 1 target coupon, and 1 cartwheel app percentage off. I was confused how it was wrong use a target stamped b2g1 cheese coupon with a 5% off app coupon together because I didn’t feel that was cheating. Which it’s not now that I’ve read the comments. Because it’s target giving both the discounts do the pay for it themselves.

  60. Chrisitna says:

    I haven’t decided how I feel one way, or the other. However, I receive coupons that state on them, something along the lines of, “not to be used with any other coupon/discount/promotion/ etc” If stacking these two were an issue, wouldn’t the manufacturer state something like that on the Q?

    • I get my b1g1 that other store have in there flyers at WalMart and I don’t understand why I have to pay the other stores price? Ex. If wheat thins at bi-lo are b1g1 and it states on 2 we will save $4 but walmarts are $2.50 why is it I pay the $4? I shop at WalMart with my ads to save. If I went to bi-lo not only would I get the wheat thins for the $4 in stead of walmarts $2.50, I also get gas perks. However, I would rather get the wheat thins for $2.50 to save on food money because I dont use much in gas so most of the time they expire before I can use them, when I could just go to WalMart and get them for $2.50 and have more money for food.

  61. I totally agree.. in my training as a cashier for a grocery chain. I was trained to take the buy one get one and then except the coupon for the one they bought.. they used exactly the logic that you just brought up and this is from a national chain. We were informed that they are not losing money and it wasn’t fraudulent and they do get reimbursed

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