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WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Register coupons and how they work

Posted April 22, 2010

Last week I received an e-mail from Katie, a reader who was wondering how the register coupons worked. This week’s article addresses her question and focuses on those coupons that come out of the little boxes next to the registers, known as Catalina coupons.

What is a Catalina Coupon? Catalina coupons are the coupons that print out from the boxes near the registers after you make a purchase. They are almost always manufacturer coupons but they also have a store logo on them. Because of the store logo, most stores will not take Catalina coupons from other stores, even though they are manufacturer coupons and scan just fine at the register. Every once in a while, my local Target will take Catalina’s from other stores, but most grocery stores won’t take competitor Catalina’s for specific products. The exception is if the Catalina is for an amount off your next purchase (for example, a coupon for $1.50 off your next purchase). Both Harris Teeter and Lowe’s Foods will take these competitor Catalina Coupons.

Can Catalina’s be combined with other coupons on the same product? Because Catalina’s are both a manufacturer coupon and a store coupon, they cannot be combined with other store or manufacturer coupons.

Types of Catalinas: Usually the Catalina’s are for an amount off when you buy a certain product, like $1.00 off when you buy 1 Oikos Greek Yogurt. With certain promotions, you will receive a coupon for a dollar amount off your next purchase of anything, like $1.50 off your next purchase. These coupons are triggered because you bought a qualifying amount of certain products during the promotion period. In the e-mail Katie sent, she specifically wanted to know how to find out about the deals that result in getting a register coupon for money off your next order when you buy certain products. For instance, there may be a promotion where you buy 2 boxes of Kellogg’s cereal and then you get a Catalina coupon for $1.00 off your next purchase. Often, you get larger Catalina amounts if you buy more of the item. For instance, in the Kellogg’s cereal example, you may get a $1.50 Catalina coupon if you buy 3 boxes and a $2 Catalina coupon if you buy 4 boxes.

How to find Catalina promotions: One of the best ways to find out about Catalina deals is from the store sale flyers. They will spell out the details of the deal and let you know how much of a product you have to buy in order to generate the Catalina coupon for money off your next order. Another good resource is the Catalina machine itself. It will often print out information about upcoming Catalina deals and the details. Even store shelves may have Catalina information when there is a deal on a specific product. When I see a good Catalina deal, I will post it in the weekly grocery deals post on Wednesdays.

I spoke with the folks over at the Catalina company last week to get a little clarification about the best way to find out about these promotions. The customer service person with whom I spoke, said that the best place to find out about Catalina’s is on each store's website. Unfortunately, most websites don't usually list the deals. Also, if there is a Catalina deal at Harris Teeter, it does not mean other stores in the area are running the same deal, as well. According to the Catalina employee, it is up to the stores to decide which Catalina promotions they want to offer.

Is there a rhyme or reason to which Catalina coupons will print? You may have already noticed that sometimes you will get a Catalina coupon for a product that is a competitor of a product you just purchased. The coupons are set up to print these competitor Catalinas. I think it’s great because I am not very brand specific so I am happy to get coupons for all the brands!

What should you do if you do not get a Catalina that should print?
Call the Catalina company at: 1-888-826-8766. You will need the receipt so you can tell them what you bought, the date and time you bought the items and where you bought the products. They will then send you the coupon that was supposed to print.

The next time you get a Catalina coupon, make sure you read it before you throw it out. It may be a coupon for something you use or even a coupon for money off your next purchase! As I always say, it’s your money – spend it wisely!

 

 

 

3 Comments

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  • b4jesus2 Apr 26, 2010

    Tammy my Walmart took them once but when I tried again they said they do not take them and has never taken them

  • straitlover1965 Apr 23, 2010

    A little sneaky thing I discovered about the Catalinas: at Kroger, if you go through the self check-out, sometimes they print out before you have paid for your purchase. So, if you have bought whatever's on the coupon in that purchase and did not use another coupon already, you can go ahead and use that Catalina rather than haivng to make another purchase. That happens a lot for me when they have the Stouffer's and Lean Cuisine dinners on sale.

  • tammychurch Apr 23, 2010

    Just to let everyone know this but Walmart takes all of these coupons. The only ones that they do not take are the ones that say "store coupon" on them but all the other Catalina coupons are fine to use at Walmart.