Saving in store with Catalina
For the past few weeks, we've been reviewing coupon basics and revisiting topics that I receive a lot of emails about. This week, we're talking Catalina coupons. But what is a Catalina coupon?
At many supermarkets and drugstores, you've probably noticed the small machine that prints coupons when you make a purchase. Years ago, as legend has it, coupon shoppers nicknamed these checkout coupons "Catalinas" after the name on the machine.
Q: Where can I find good Catalina coupons? Sometimes I go shopping and don't get any, and other times I get really great ones, like one good for $2 off cat food. I also got one for $4 off the vitamins I use.
Q: I know there are some Catalina deals where you can get money for your next shopping trip. How does that work? One of my friends says she gets paid to shop with Catalinas.
A: Several different types of Catalinas can pop out of the machine at checkout time. For example, you might get a manufacturer or store coupon for a specific product. These coupons are triggered by your purchase history. If you buy pet treats, you could receive coupons for pet-related products. If you buy diapers, you'll likely see more coupons for baby products printing at the register. You may also notice higher-than-average dollar values on your Catalina coupons. Because these offers are targeted to specific shoppers' purchase histories, manufacturers may offer a larger incentive to try their products.
Other types of Catalina coupons you might see are payback offers. These Catalinas are generated by the purchase of a specific number of items featured in a store's promotion. For example, if you buy four boxes of granola bars that are on promotion, it may generate a Catalina good for $2 on your next shopping trip.
When you receive this coupon, you can use it on whatever you'd like. These payback offers from Catalina are called "YourBucks" coupons. Other types of Catalina payback promotions can be specific to the store. You might also receive a printout from the Catalina machine that isn't a coupon at all, such as a notice for an upcoming promotion.
Jill Cataldo is a coupon workshop instructor and mom. Learn more about couponing at her website, www.jillcataldo.com.