FAQ: What’s a Catalina?

By now, you’ve probably heard me use the terms Cat and Catalina promo a few times, so I thought I’d answer some questions. Catalina Marketing is an advertising company, and they’re connected to the BIG grocery promos like Safeway’s Summer Savings Marathon from last July and small weekly promos like “Buy 2 Glade, get $2.00 off your next purchase” at grocery and other retail stores.

When you check out at the grocery store, there’s a small machine next to the cash register. This machine prints coupons, ads, announcements of upcoming promos, and OYNO (off your next order) dollars specific to that store. Catalina machines are found at grocery stores and more recently, at retail stores like Kmart. If you’re doing a Catalina promo, be sure the machine’s green light is on to show that it’s working before you ring up your promo items. Catalina coupons and OYNO coupons that print out are usually good for 2 or 4 weeks after they print.

How do you find out about the current Catalina promos? Unfortunately, there’s no “official” place to learn about them, but here’s how I find out about them:

  • Online communities have their members post the promos as they find them. At the Safeway thread on Slickdeals, you can scroll down this first page to see the current promos for Safeway partner stores.
  • Blogs (like this one) report them as part of their grocery deal round-ups.
  • You may see white tags hanging under the shelf price tags at the grocery store, telling you that a product is participating in a Cat promo, how many to purchase, and which OYNO you’ll receive (i.e. “Buy 2 and get $1.00 off your next order.”
  • After ringing up your groceries, the Catalina machine prints out announcements of upcoming promotions.

If you’ve purchased the participating products and your Catalina coupon does not print out, you have two options:

Go to the store’s Customer Service desk. Usually they only know about the promo when there is a shelf tag or it’s written in the weekly ad. When I show them the items according to the ad or shelf tag, I have gotten cash back for the error. The alternative is calling Catalina Marketing at 1-888-8COUPON (1-888-826-8766) and leaving a voicemail message. They’ll ask for some information off your receipt and look up your transaction, then mail you the coupon you’re owed.

Catalina promos combine with store promos and manufacturer coupons to great effect. What questions do you have about Catalinas?

Comments

  1. Heather Sayre says:

    I am kind of new to this whole couponing thing, and your posts help me a TON!! I have a question about the catalina coupons. I received a catalina from Walgreens for Pampers Diapers. I tried to combine this with a manufacturer coupon from the Sunday inserts, and the cashier refused to do it. She stated that even though it was a catalina from Walgreens, it states “manufacturer coupon” at the top, and I was not allowed to combine it with another man. coupon. Have you run across this before? Do all catalinas say manufacturer coupon at the top? Did I just have an uncooperative cashier?

  2. Hi Heather–

    Great question–a while back, Catalinas were “store” coupons that you could combine with a manu coupon, but I’ve noticed that within the past year they’re all Manu coupons. Check the wording on the coupon. The ones I’ve gotten from Safeway and Giant recently all say Manufacturer Coupon on the top next to the expiration date.

    I think the cashier wouldn’t let you use two manu coupons, which is correct. Sorry!

  3. One advantage of it being a manufacturer’s coupon though is that even though it might have one store’s logo printed on it, you can actually use it at another. You might have to talk the cashier into trying it, but it works! Great way to use free coupons for the best return!

  4. Are CATs only good at the store where you get them or can you use them elsewhere if it’s a manufacturer’s coupon?

  5. Gina @ MoneywiseMoms says:

    Jackie–most stores will take them because they say "manufacturer's coupon" on them, just like the ones from the Sunday paper.

  6. How quickly can you use a Catalina? For example at Safeway I hope to get the $5 Cat, can I follow up with a separate transaction and use the Cat?

    Thanks,
    Holly

  7. Gina @ MoneywiseMoms says:

    Holly–yes, usually you can "roll" your Catalina right away into the next transaction. Walgreens is the only place I can think of that doesn't let you turn around and use your Register Rewards (from the Cat machine) right away.

Trackbacks

  1. […] The $75 is calculated after all card savings and discounts (including coupons). Your $10 Catalina will print at the register, and it’s good for one week from printing or by March […]

  2. […] The $75 is calculated after all card savings and discounts (including coupons). Your $10 Catalina will print at the register, and it’s good for one week from printing or by March 11th. Large […]

  3. […] The $75 is calculated after all card savings and discounts (including coupons). Your $10 Catalina will print at the register, and it’s good for one week from printing or by May […]

  4. […] The $75 is calculated after all card savings and discounts (including coupons). Your $10 Catalina will print at the register, and it’s good for one week from printing or by June […]

  5. […] The $75 is calculated after all card savings and discounts (including coupons). Your $10 Catalina will print at the register, and it’s good for one week from printing or by June […]