As a shopper, I was skeptical about BOGO specials, which are store promotions that offer merchandise at a rate of buy-one-get-one free or half-off. Following the trail of BOGO signs, I have purchased matching sets of accessories, home products and personal care products that I don't really need or want. Those past results have taught me to steer clear of most BOGO sales.
But a recent conversation with a teenage girl prompted me to review my policy. Evelyn Kendall, a high school student, uses BOGO sales to stretch her clothing budget by shopping with another teenager. Together, they look for two-for-one sales.
''We split the cost,'' Kendall said. "She'll get one and I'll get one.''
Based on her example, I've put together my own BOGO policy. Here's how I plan to use promotions offering either free or discounted merchandise.
The Need Test: Do I really need this merchandise? Will I use it or am I just buying stuff that will needlessly fill cabinets, closets and landfills?
The Thrift Test: Am I really saving money or are there cheaper options? Have I compared prices using other promotions or online search engines?
The charity or gift option: Can I use the BOGO item as a gift or as a charitable donation?
Here's how to buy my new book: