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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Money-Saving Terms: Catalina

I used to think that Catalina was just another salad dressing flavor, but it's actually a great way to save money! Catalinas are the coupons and rewards that print when you check out at the grocery store.

Catalinas are named after the Catalina Marketing Corporation, the company that makes the computer systems that issue the coupons at store checkouts. The company has programmed the machines to issue coupons and rewards when you buy specific items. In fact, you'll often get coupons for a brand that is competing with the brand you purchased. For example, if you buy Suave shampoo, you might get a catalina for Aussie shampoo. Sometimes you'll get additional coupons for items you purchased. When I bought Glucerna cereal at Kroger, I got another coupon for Glucerna at checkout.

Sometimes Kroger offers dollar-off catalinas when you purchase certain items. You can use these dollar-off catalinas on your next purchase of any item. They aren't brand-specific. The most recent one I took advantage of was the $2 off catalina for buying 20 Yoplait yogurt cups. I was still able to use my Yoplait coupons, and I would have purchased the yogurt regardless of the reward. Instead of buying 10 cups one week and 10 cups the next week, I bought them at the same time, and I got the $2 off catalina. I was able to use the $2 catalina on my next regular Kroger purchase.

Sometimes it seems like 8 feet of coupons come spitting out of the machine at checkout. I know that I won't ever use all of them! If I can't use a catalina that prints, I'll often leave it for another shopper. I've found some great ones that other people have left behind.

Statistics say that 9.4% of catalinas as redeemed, but only 2.5% of newspaper/circular coupons are redeemed. So this seems to be an effective marketing technique for manufacturers.