Friday, September 3, 2010

Catalinas 101

Catalina coupons, or "Your Bucks" offers are a shopping strategy that can be paired with coupons and sales for maximum savings.

What is a Catalina?
A Catalina is a printout that you get at the checkout after you pay.  These can be advertisements, coupons or even rebate forms, depending on the promotion.  "Catalina," often abbreviated "CAT" stands for Catalina Marketing.  Businesses pay to have their coupons or advertisements print at checkout.

Competitor's Products
Have you ever noticed a coupon for a competing product?  For example, you buy General Mills Fiber One bars and a coupon prints for Kellogg's Fiber Plus bars.  Or you buy Kotex and a coupon good on Always products prints. 

Retail Coupons and Advertisements
Right now, every time I pay for anything at Cash Wise, I'm getting a 20% your purchase at Payless Shoes.  This is a back-to-school promotion, I'm guessing.  In the past, I've received Midas coupons and ads as well.

"On Your Next Order" Catalina Promotions (Your Bucks Offers)
Often, Manufacturer's will run a promotion when you buy a certain number of items in one transaction.  You've seen me mention these before in my Weekly Deals posts.  These are the kinds of Catalina coupons that most interest those of us who like to save a buck on groceries!  The best part is that these Catalina promotions are often run with sales and there are often coupons to go with the items as well.   Stack a sale price with a coupon and a Catalina promo and you've got a couponer's "Perfect Storm!"

How Do You Find These Promos?
These promotions are advertised on the grocer's shelves, but not always.  Most commonly, I find the information over at Coupon Network.  Coupon Network gives all the details of each "Your Bucks" Catalina promotion, it's end dates and what stores are offering it!

What if my Catalina doesn't print?
If the Catalina you're expecting doesn't print, double check that you bought the correct size or number of participating products.  Next, be sure that the green light on the Catalina machine is on.  Even with all these factors, though it's possible that it may not print.  The machine could be out of ink, or just might not be "feeling it."

Your first stop should be the customer service desk if the cashier can't help you.  One time, my purchase didn't produce the Cat at the checkout lane, but the same purchase triggered the Cat at the Customer Service desk.  Who knows!  Often, the manager on duty will also take care of your issue by either forcing the coupon to print with other qualifying items or at times issuing a gift card.  The way it's handled depends on the manager you're dealing with.

If the manager is unwilling to help or doesn't know how to help, hang on to that receipt and call Catalina Marketing!  I've found them to be super helpful and efficient!  Reach them at 888-210-1917.  With information from your receipt, they can see if your purchase qualified for the promotion and mail out your coupon within a week or two.

I hope that helps those of you that have had Catalina issues and those of you that just want to know I keep talking about when I mention Catalina's!

1 comment:

  1. I believe the correct phone number is (877) 210-1917, option 1. I got this from the Catalina Marketing website. I called the number above first (888) but it went to someone who had no idea what I was talking about.