Monday, September 7, 2009

What is a Catalina?

I'm sure you've noticed grocery store ads that say something like

Buy $20 in participating products and receive a coupon for $5 off your next purchase

Buy 5 of participating products and receive a coupon for free milk

These coupons print out as you check out, often making the simple receipt the cashier hands you turn into quite a handful! The coupons are made by Catalina Category Marketing, so coupon gurus call the offers printed out "Catalinas". The machine that prints them looks something like this:

Catalinas can be a coupon for a specific item or for money off your next purchase. I have both different kinds in this picture:
Save $5 off your purchase (top) and save $3 off fresh seafood (bottom).
Two main differences with these coupons. Look closely:

Did you catch it?
The top one, printed at Acme, says it is an Manufacturer's coupon. The bottom, printed at Giant, is a store coupon. Big difference! A manufacturer's coupon can be used ANYWHERE, but the store coupon is only good for the store listed. Even though my manufacturer's coupon printed at Acme, I could use it at Giant (or another grocery that accepts catalinas. General rule is that any store that prints catalinas will accept them. Since Walmart does not print them, they will not accept them.) Just like regular coupons, catalinas expire too, usually about 2 weeks from when they are printed, though some are good for only a week.

Here's a quick practical example of how benificial catalinas can be.
This week at Acme there is an advertised catalina deal running on select General Mills products. It reads: Save $5 when you buy $20 in participating General Mills products. Translation: when you buy $20 worth of products (and use your Acme card) you will get a coupon (manufacturer's) for $5 off next time you shop). The best part about this is that you can use coupons to lower the amount that you actually spend. The $20 you have to spend is BEFORE coupons!

1 comment:

  1. I love Catalinas. I also like checking the self-check out area to see if anyone left their catalinas behind. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen!


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