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Thursday, September 23, 2010

What is a Catalina?

We have had many people ask us what in the world a Catalina or "Cat" is. First of all, it has nothing to do with salad dressing. But it does have EVERYTHING to do with saving MORE money on your grocery bill!

The nickname “catalina” comes from Catalina Marketing, the company founded in 1984 by five friends who, while sailing to Catalina Island off the coast of Long Beach, Calif., came up with the idea of using bar-code scanner technology to target coupon customers. They typically fall into three categories: money-off certain items type coupons, coupons for money off on your next shopping trip or alerts of upcoming sales.

Let's start by taking a look picture number 1. It contains an image of a Catalina Machine. This little contraption sits next to the register at your grocery store. After you finish your purchases and have paid, it begins to spew out coupons. You may receive a coupon giving you $1 off Vlasic Pickles or even a free item such as a box of Kleenex. But if you have done your shopping right, you will not only get a coupon or two, you will receive money off your next purchase. Go ahead and take a look at picture number 2.



This is a picture of 3 different Catalinas I received on Tuesday. The bottom coupon is for $1.50 off any one Kahiki item (don't ask me what Kahiki is...I have no idea...but I just might try it now). It is obviously an Asian dish. Kahiki used this opportunity to get me to try their product. The machine read the UPC on the Kikoman Soysauce I had purchased that day. Sometimes the coupon is for the same item I purchased, in the hopes I will purchase it again.

The top coupon is for $1.50 off my next chicken, beef or any other meat purchase. So I can actually, walk into the store, pick up some hot dogs, throw in my own $1 off, let's say, Oscar Meyer Wieners coupon, grab some buns and pay nothing. How?

Here is the breakdown:

Let's say the hot dogs cost $1.50. I use my dollar off coupon making them only 50 cents. I then throw in some buns for 99 cents and dinner (not the healthiest but still dinner) is served. I pay nothing.

The middle coupon is for $3 off my next purchase. But this coupon may be used for ANY purchase. Brooke and I like these because they allow us to get our milk, produce and other items that rarely have a coupon for FREE. During last week's Harris Teeter madness, I probably received over $50 in Catalinas.

Another Catalina you might receive is for upcoming deals, many unadvertised. Just the other day I received one for Deer Park. I was pleased to find out, I could purchase 4- 8 packs of water and get a Cat for $3 off my next purchase. During the super double deal, I paid next to nothing for my water and walked away with money off my next shopping trip.

With many of the Catalina deals you need to spend a certain amount of money on a product. Last month, Crest had a promotion. You needed to spend $40 on their products and you would then receive a $5 Catalina. I quickly realized the amount you are supposed to spend is actually based on the items’ regular price, not their sale price. I had found a super deal on Crest Whitestrips and bought 2 boxes for $8. I wasn't even trying to participate in the promotion! After receiving a Catalina for $5, I was shocked. It said I had already reached my $40! As long as my items totaled $40 (or whatever the threshold was for that particular promotion) BEFORE I scanned my store card, the coupons would print out.

I have listed some of the Current Harris Teeter Catalina Deals:

Deer Park Brand 100% Natural Spring Water


8oz. 12- or 24-pack
8oz. with Fluoride 8-pack
Aquapod 8- or 24-pack

Buy 2, get $1.50 OYNO (on your next order)
Buy 3+, get $3.00 OYNO

All items must be purchased in one shopping order.
Limited to product in stock.
No cash back.
Offer expires 10/3/10

Old El Paso Catalina Deal:
Save $1 on your next Beef or Chicken Purchase when you buy 3 Old El Paso products (coupon prints out at register)

Save $3 on your next Beef or Chicken Purchase when you buy 6 Old El Paso products (coupon prints out at register). All items must be purchased in one shopping order. Limited to product in stock. No cash back

Pillsbury Catalina Deal:
Buy 4 get $1 coupon
Buy 5 get $2 coupon
Buy 6 or more and get $3 coupon off your next order

All items must be purchased in the same transaction.

Green Giant Frozen Boxed Veggies Deal:

Buy any Green Giant boxed veggies between 9/6/10 and 10/3/10 and receive the following Catalina coupons:

Buy 4 get $1 coupon
Buy 6 get $2 coupon
Buy 8 or more and get $3 coupon to use on your next order

All items must be purchased in the same transaction.

Hamburger Helper Catalina Deal:
Buy Hamburger Helper get the following Catalina coupons:
Buy 3 get $1.50 coupon
Buy 4 get $2 coupon
Buy 5 or more get $3coupon

What happens if my Catalina doesn't print!?

Sometimes this problem happens – it can be a broken machine, an error on what you picked up, or missing paper in the machine. If you have a Catalina that was supposed to print you can talk to the manager or call the Catalina company. If you call, have your receipt in hand. Don’t worry they won’t know what you are talking about. I hear from others who have called before they were very clear and understood what they were trying to explain to them. Remember, they created the machine so they know how it works and when it is supposed to print. Call 1-888-322-3814 or 1-888-8COUPON or email


bestark said...

How do I find out about Catalinas before I go shopping? (Aside from reading your wonderful blog) I never know until after I am done shopping and they print out by chance.

Heather said...

Unfortunately not, we wish there was. It is really word of mouth. If anyone hears of a Catalina deal, do share!

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