Catalina Coupons: Savings in the Palm of Your Hand

by Gina Blitstein · 0 comments

Your groceries are rung up and you’ve paid the cashier. She in return hands you your receipt and some additional strips of paper from a little machine beside her cash register. What are they? Those mysterious strips of paper are checkout coupons called, “Catalinas.” Their name comes from Catalina Marketing, the company which provides them. You may have received Catalinas at the checkout and been pleasantly surprised by the savings they offer. You may also have noticed that you don’t receive Catalinas every time you check out and that not every customer receives Catalinas. Why these differences in their distribution?

The answer lies in the marketing strategy behind Catalinas. Catalinas represent very targeted advertising. Their distribution is based upon the items you purchase in a particular transaction. For instance, you may become eligible to receive a Catalina by purchasing a particular number of or a certain dollar amount on specified items. A Catalina offer may be, “Buy $30.00 in Company X products and receive a coupon worth $10.00 off your next grocery purchase.” While it is possible to unintentionally earn Catalinas by by purchasing certain items, you can — and should — plan your shopping in order to insure that you get a particular Catalina you want.

How do you know which Catalina offers are in effect? They may be advertised in grocery store fliers. Others are advertised on the shelf below the products, worded, for example, “Receive a coupon for $2.00 off your next shopping trip when you purchase 5 bottles of Brand X salad dressing.” When you purchase them, it triggers the Catalina machine to print your coupon, which you receive when you check out. Catalina advertising is not standardized so your best bet may be to consult the Internet to learn about all the offers available at at your store at any given time.

Some of the types of savings offered in Catalinas include:

Dollars off a future shopping order. Often the offer is for a significant dollar amount off a future shopping trip which can be spent on most anything in the store, with some exclusions which are listed on the coupon. This is like free money toward your next grocery shopping.

Percent off a future shopping order. Rather than a dollar amount, some Catalinas offer a percentage off your next shopping trip.

Savings off a product you purchased in this shopping trip. The Catalina machine knows what you bought, so it may reward you with future savings on items it knows you buy.

Savings off a competitor’s product. Based upon the types of products you bought, a Catalina may be generated on similar products from other manufacturers.

Savings off a local or national store or service. Catalinas for things like auto repair and department stores are commonly distributed

Do note that not every Catalina is not a coupon. Sometimes it’s a notification of a future coupon offer or a targeted advertisement for a product based upon your purchases.

Earning these valuable coupons is really just a matter of following the rules of the offer. Of course, you sometimes have to be willing to buy in quantity, change brands or buy items before you really need them in order to take advantage of the offer. Weigh those considerations when contemplating going for a Catalina. Will you really come out the winner by purchasing more or sooner? Are the potential savings worth a change in your shopping habits? If the answer is yes, then you should look into going for some Catalina coupons.

Bonus Tip:

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