I have bought a lot of great deals, free stuff, and made money buying stuff when coupon deals involve Catalinas. Most of the money maker deals for stores with no overage will involve a Catalina , gift card reward, points back, and/or a rebate. But, I often see new couponers having avoidable catalina problems because they are still learning.
What is a Catalina?
Many stores have catalina machines behind the register. Stores and companies use catalinas to target certain shoppers based on what barcodes that are scanned at check out. After you buy certain catalina deal a money off your next store purchase comes out of the machine. Some stores like Walgreens will have store offers come from the machine. But for the most part of this post we are talking about National Catalina Marketing offers. Which is the mfr. offering us a money back or coupon deal through the Catalina Machines. Companies use Catalina machines to advertise to customers who are shopping in the store.
5 Ways to find out what Catalinas are working at your store
The Catalina machine pays attention to what consumers are buying and if it thinks you would buy an item they might print out a Catalina offer for you. Sometimes it might be a coupon for a certain item. While other times it might be a Catalina OYNO (On Your Next Order) offer. Where it tells you want brand item to buy, how many to buy OR how much, dates offer is valid for, and which sizes or kinds of the product is included in the offer. If it prints out a OYNO Catalina offer at Krogers it often will work at other stores but not always. Then you would start watching coupon groups or websites to report if working or not. If it prints out the OYNO Catalina offer at Kmart for one person the offer will work for everyone also.
Check your stores weekly coupon matchups. Most of the time coupon blogs will tell you all the catalina info you need to know when they report a coupon deal that has a catalina.
You can also go here to Living Rich with Coupon’s Catalina category (and select the newest report) and see Catalina information and/or to report Catalina information to her. When new Catalinas come out the coupon blogs often have to figure out what stores the catalina is working at. They will have better matchup deals if more couponers reported this info.
Some coupon bloggers (like Bargainstobounty) will report Catalina information for your store on the bottom of weekly coupon matchups. When you look for weekly deals start watching to see what websites report the Catalinas.
Face Book coupon groups is a great way to find out if a Catalina is printing at your store. I use coupon groups two ways to get Catalina info. Sometimes others will report the Catalina. If they do not share details or do not know how or why the Catalina printed again check here for the monthly Catalina info report. If I know about a National Catalina working at other stores I could ask others in the group if anyone knows if the catalina is working at this store. I usually get an answer back fast.
How to avoid Catalina problems
Before you had over your valuable coupons make sure your stores Catalina Machine is on! Look for the green light on the Machine. Some stores (like Kmart) have no green light to tell if they are on. I try to watch the customers before me to see if the Catalinas are printing. If I do not see it working (the other customer may not of bought an item to trigger it) I ask the cashier if their Catalina machine is working today. Most of the time it is working. But, I have saved alot of time and money by just switching lanes when the Catalina machine is down. Switching lanes is faster than going to customer service to return or fix the problem or asking for a manager.
Make sure you are buying exactly what the coupon blogs tell you to buy! Wright down the date the Catalina deal starts and ends on, Exactly what you need to buy to get the Catalina, Product information and sizes, prices, sale dates, etc.
Make sure you are scanning your Store’s Discount card if they have one. Not all, but some stores ( like Walgreens) the Catalina will not print if you forget to have the cashier scan your Stores Saving Card.
Read the How to Coupon / Store Coupon Policy sections in the Coupon Blogs for each stores to avoid problems with money off your next purchase Catalinas. Some stores (like Walgreens) may have store rules to learn to get the Catalinas to print. Also, some stores (like Kmart and Walgreens) have rules to learn when you are redeeming Catalinas and using coupons.
What to do when Catalinas do not print
Check your receipt and make sure you bought the minimum spending requirement (before taxes) , right product, and/or correct # of items. For example, let’s say you need to spend $10 (before coupons) to get a Catalina. You buy two items at $5 each but when the cashier scans the items they ring up cheaper than the price tag or signs say. Your catalina will not print. Let’s say your total after tax is $10 or more, it still will not print.
Check the sales ad again. Some stores or sales ads may specify “after coupons” if your store tells you a catalina is after coupons and it does not say so in the sales ad you should be skepital of what they are telling you most catalinas are before coupons and usually warn consumers when not.
How to contact Catalina Marketing for your missing Catalina coupon
- If a Catalina deal does not print and you know that the error is not on your end you can contact Catalina Marketing several ways to request the missing Catalina coupon.(you can also contact the Catalina company by filling out this form)to get your Catalina.
- You can also email your request for your Catalina coupon at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Catalina Marketing does not want consumers to call to first report the issue. They prefer the form be filled out or you email them first. But I did save this number to call them for an emergency. 1-888-8COUPON or 1- 888-826-8766.
- They will mail you the Catalina coupon to you in the mail.
How to get your Catalina faster and with out Contacting Catalina Marketing
Talk to the cashier right away. Some stores will fix the problem if you notify them right away. I often do this when the store’s sales ad mentions the catalina. I always first mention to cashier (they might tell you why it did not work -like ” this machine is broken”. Then I would try to ask them to redo my purchase at another working Catalina machine. If the cashier is unhelpful you might have to go to the service desk or ask for a manager.
If your store continuously has broken, turned off, or paperless Catalina machines you may want to ask for a manager. If that does not help, contact that stores Corporate telephone number to report your store for broken Catalina machines. I wish cashiers would put up warning signs that the machines are down!
If your Cashier can not help you get your Catalina (if it is not in the sales ad they often will not know what your talking about) have them void out and return the items so you can get your valuable coupons back! If you walk out of the store and later decide to return the item then you will lose your coupon(s)!
Then later, check the comment section in the coupon blogs or on social media to see if any other shoppers had any Catalina problems. If you had a problem ask on the bottom of the comment section (or social media) for help in the section where you found the deal. If you later find out you did the deal wrong you still have your coupons to retry the deal.
Other Catalina Resources:
Bargains to Bounty Catalina info: What do if a Catalina does not print?