Every week we get comments from readers who are confused about deals in their weekly store ads that advertise multi-order pricing, like the ones above.   How do you know if you actually have to purchase 10 items in the “10 for $10″ sale?  What about corn on sale 6 for $1.00?  What happens if you only want 2 ears of corn?  And to make things even more confusing, there are a plethora of variations 3 for $5.00, 4 for $10, 5 for $6.00, and on and on.  So, how can you tell?  When do you have to actually buy 10 items in the 10/$10 sale?

The answer:  You almost NEVER have to buy 10 items in the 10 for $10 sale.    The 3 for $5.00 sale single item price is $1.67, the 5 for $6.00 is $1.20, 10 for $10 is $1.00.

So, why do stores make their prices so confusing?  Because they would love if you purchase 10 of their $1.00 items in the 10 for $10 sale!  They are just trying to entice you to buy multiples and take advantage of this very concern of “but how much is it going to cost if I buy only one”?  The single item price for 98% or more of these types of deals is the same whether you buy one or a hundred.

Sometimes you DO have to buy multiples to get a promotional price.  But the store will make it abundantly clear when you need to do so.  The promo pictured above is this:

Buy 2 or more selected items, mix & match, for $9.99 each

If you purchase only one, the single item prices will be higher, about $11.99-$12.99 depending on the item.  The big secret to being able to tell when you need to buy multiples to get the sale price is all wrapped up in three little words:

MUST BUY 2 (or whatever the qualifying # happens to be)

When a shelf tag or a store ad contains the words “Must Buy X (number of products)”, this is when they mean it!  Without the words “Must Buy”, the pricing is just a gimmick. On KCL, you’ll see that we ALWAYS write the individual item price.  If the store ad says 3 for $5, we’ll always write $1.67.  We find that it clears up the murk and gives you the bottom line price more effectively.  So, have you got it?  It’s not too tricky; when in doubt, remember the likelihood is that you do NOT have to purchase multiples.   But watch out for the “must buy” verbiage.

Are there any other similar multi-purchase- type deals that I missed?

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22 thoughts on “10 for $10, 2 for $5: How to know when you do or Don’t have to purchase multiples!”

  1. luz diaz says:

    i have a coupon for $2oo off for beer but it says to purchase meats whats the law in arizona

  2. Anonymous says:

    Theres a sale in the Rite-aid ad that says, 2 for $3 on any "helper" (hamburger or tuna), hormel, or betty crocker potatoes with wellness card. I have a save $1 on 2 any flavor "helper" (hamburger, tuna, chicken) home cooked skillet meals, and a save .55 on 2 hormel chili products. How can i combine the 2 coupons with the sale ad price? What will my final price be?

  3. Kelley says:

    This is off topic but can someone please explain the cvs extra bucks!! IF I buy (for example) the rembrant toothpaste for 6.49 and have the coupon for $3.00 and the “extra bucks” for 3.5 how do I get the toothpaste free?

    • hope says:

      you use your $3 coupon but you pay 3.49 and the printer will give you a coupon for 3.50 that you can use in 5 minutes if you want to buy something else. For example you can buy only this even if you need something else and after that you will take that something (the value must exced 3.50) and pay with the coupon and extra cash. So, it is free but in the moment of the purches you have to pay that extra bucks. Be carefull that those coupons have an expiration date too.

    • Melissa says:

      Kelley:
      I have recently developed a trick for using “extra buck” coupons. I am a newbie at extreme couponing, and had a light bulb moment one night. Before I go shopping at my drug store, I make a list of the items I plan to purchase that has “extra bucks” attached and that are a good buy/stock pile price. I purchase the highest extra buck items first (one transaction), then, use the bucks from that transaction, to purchase items in my second transaction, that may not have bucks attached, but are still a good price. Usually, I put all the items from the store in my shopping cart, but seperate them so that after the 1st transaction, I can do the second transaction, if no other person is in the line behind me. If someone is behind me in the line after my 1st transaction, I usually allow that person go ahead of me (for my 2nd transaction, unless the transaction is lesson than 10 items). This helps me to insure that I will not allow those extra buck coupons to expire/miss placed/forgotten.

  4. rebecca says:

    my question is,if i have a coupon that reads purchase 5 get 5 dollars off of a certain item. If I have 5 different coupons can i use a coupon on each item purchased? So in essence i get $5 off each item? Do I make any sense?

    • Kimber says:

      Not that I’m aware of. There was just recently the Kraft $5 off when you purchase 5 and there’s no way they would have allowed me to use five of those coupons on only 5 items. I would have been told that I needed 25 items if I wanted to use five coupons. It’s always worth a shot… but it’s not likely. Good luck!

      • hope says:

        I used 5 coupon and no problem. if you have 5 products you can use 5 coupons. If they say no, try another store. It happend to me once with cvs and I went to another cvs and they did it. Some of them hates you when they see you with so many coupons but some of them are nice and for them it is not a problem because you use a manufacture coupon and they will receive the money back.

  5. grae says:

    At our grocery BOGO means you must buy two. At my MIL’s grocery store BOGO means they ring up half price, so you can get just one if you like.

  6. Morgan says:

    Keep in mind, too, that in some states it’s illegal to require a certain number of items to be purchased. In Pennsylvania, if a store offers something 10 for $10, they have to sell them to you for $1 apiece. This ONLY applies to grocery items though.

  7. Cominito says:

    Yeah, Walgreens has that type of sale where you actually have to buy the # they tell you. But at least they specify it like “Buy 2 for $2 or 1 for $1.20″
    Thank you for the article. This really makes me want to go shopping!!!!

  8. Robyn says:

    Thank you for the clarification :)

  9. Jenny says:

    Well my husband always gets confused with b3 get 1 free sales he thinks you only need to put 3 items in the cart when I tell him 4. They had that on OreIda fries, buy 3 get one free and he was like, there’s no way they expect you to get 4 bags!!! But I think they did.

  10. Josh says:

    I used to work in a grocery store that frequently had $10/10 sales. Let me tell you — you would not believe how many people just assumed that they had to buy 10 of each item to get the sale price. And lots of times they’d only be saving something like 9 cents per item (regular price being $1.09, sale price being $1). So you’d see these people come up to the registers with carts filled with 10 jars of mayo, 10 jars of peanut butter, 10 bottles of pickle relish, 10 cans of Vienna Sausage, etc. They overspent by tons because they didn’t understand the way the system worked and of course we never told them they didn’t have to buy 10. I would have but would have gotten in trouble, I’m sure.

  11. Twin Mom says:

    If you want UP rewards at Rite Aid, you have to buy the specified number in a single transaction to get the reward.

  12. Kim says:

    y’all are the best. love the great info posts. you make the coupon world so much easier!!

  13. Kindra says:

    Yep, like Sigourney mentioned, Walgreens has this rule on a lot of their items. I’ve noticed this mainly on the Walgreens brand items. I bought some W brand popcorn kernels the other day. The price tag said 2/$5 and then in small print it said or $2.99 each. Bagh!

  14. chelle says:

    you will also know if they say ‘buy 10 for $10′ and in small print say ‘individual price 1.25′ or something like that… it will give the individual price if u have to buy a certain amount to get a certain price…. i had to explain this to my sis recently!

  15. sigourney says:

    walgreens has the type of sale where you have to buy multiples to get the price. i went to buy sunchips 2/$6 (not a great price, i know) and she said i have to buy 2. sigh…$6 worth of chips!!

  16. Brenda says:

    Very good post!

  17. Nadir says:

    This is an irritating gimmick, but good clarification.

    The only time I ever see “must buy” around here is when Harris Teeter does their “buy 2 get 3 free” promos, and it states in the ad “must by 2 at full price to get 3 free”. It is a little annoying from a couponer’s standpoint because you can only use coupons on the 2 full-price items. I like how CVS does it, where you can still use a coupon on the “free” item in a BOGO.

    • Lissy says:

      Nadir, regarding the Harris Teeter Buy2 Get 3 and only two coupons– I did that this weekend (buy two frozen pizza, get three free) and used five coupons ($1 off ea). They took them without a problem. And Progressive soup (buy2get3), had one coupon for x amount off of four cans and they took it. So you shouldn’t have that problem…