Shoppers love a good BOGO (buy-one-get-one free sale). A buy one, get one 50% off sale sounds almost just as good – and that’s exactly what makes it dangerous. I cringe a little every time I see one – and then I usually walk away without buying. Don’t be fooled the next time you encounter one…
A Buy 1, get 1 50% off sale is intentionally misleading.
In your mind, you might think, ‘I was planning on buying one of these items (at regular price). If I buy another, it will be 50% off.’ The very idea of the sale is meant to play with your mind in exactly that way (chalk it up as advertising manipulation). It maximizes the store’s sales while minimizing the discount. In reality, the discount isn’t likely to be that worthwhile for the customer. At all.
You’ll buy more than you need.
Special offers tempt most shoppers to spend 21% more than they planned. (source) You’ll save more money by sticking to your shopping list and budget. When the buy one get one 50% off sale relates to food items, it can lead to food waste – even overeating.
BEST case scenario: You save a whopping 25% off.
Usually a Buy 1, get 1 50% off sale covers a wide range of prices. For example, you may be shopping items priced $7-$19. If you purchase 2 items identical in price, you’ll save 25% off each and that’s the BEST you can do. While you may be tempted to think about the items separately, there is no savings at all unless you buy two. The most honest reasoning calculates both items together:
Buy 1 item at $10 = $10
Buy 1 item at $10, 50% off = $5
You’ll pay $15 for 2 or $7.50.
Buy 1 item at $10 = $10
Buy 1 item at $7, 50% off = $3.50
You’ll pay $13.50 (or 2 for $6.50 each). You’re saving almost nothing on the 2nd item, as it works out to only $0.50 off regular price.
The least expensive participating item in the order will get the 50% off discount.
As you can see in the scenario above, the store will always calculate the discount on the least expensive item. Buy an item at $15 and one at $9 and you’ll only save 50% off $9.
There are rare occasions when a buy 1, get 1 50% off sale can work in your favor.
- You buy 2 items identical in price.
- You use 2 high value coupons on those items (for example, $2 off 1)
Buy 1 item at $5 = $5
Buy 1 item at $5, 50% off = $2.50
Use 2 $2 off 1 coupons = (-$4.00)
You’ll pay $3.50 for 2 or $1.75 each. You’ll save 65% off retail.
Watch out for similar sales, like buy 1, get 1 40% off (or less). They all fall into the same scheme. And with every ad I see, it seems they grow more and more popular.
How do YOU feel about Buy 1, Get 1 50% off sales?