What is a Catalina Coupon and How Do They Work? | Living Rich With Coupons®Living Rich With Coupons®

What is a Catalina Coupon and How Do They Work?

What is a Catalina Coupon?

Catalina Coupons are coupons that print out of the Catalina machine at participating stores.  These machine are just like the one pictured above and are usually located next to the register.  These are sometime referred to as “Your Bucks”

Catalina Deals are deals that require a certain dollar amount or quantity of products to be purchased.  Once you have met the qualifications, a catalina will print for a certain amount off your next purchase.  Usually this purchase can be made for anything in the store, however, some promotions require they be used toward a specific brand or product.

Examples of Catalina Deals

Here is an example of a Catalina which requires you to purchase a certain amount of products:

Buy 5 participating Kraft Products and get a $5 catalina.

This simply means that you need to purchased 5 of the items listed in the promotion and you will receive a $5 catalina that you can use on your next purchase.

Here is an example of a Catalina which requires you to purchase a certain dollar amount:

Buy $25 worth of Kraft Products, Get a $5 Catalina

This type of catalina requires you to make a purchase of $25 in participating products.  When you do, you will receive a $5 catalina that you can use on your next purchase.

What generates the catalina?

Now, here is the tricky part and the part that causes confusion.  The manufacturer makes an arrangement with Catalina Marketing to promote their brand.  In this case we are using the example of Kraft.

Kraft has their retail prices set and submits them to Catalina Marketing.  Kraft decides they want to run a catalina promotions and they make the arrangements with Catalina Marketing. Catalina Marketing then activates the Catalina at the participating stores.  The activation is done at the prices that they received from Kraft.  So far you can see that this deal is totally controlled by Catalina Marketing and the manufacturer.  The store is not involved except to coordinate an ad in their circular (if it is an advertised deal).

Now, usually stores have a loyalty card.  The store offers many discounts each week when you use your loyalty card.  These discounts are store discounts.  You can think of them as store coupons.  Sometimes the manufacturer will give them an incentive to promote an extra discount and sometimes the store does it on it’s own.

Now, when all the stars align, and a manufacturer is really trying to promote a product, they will have a catalina deal, a coupon and offer the store an incentive to run a loyalty card discount.  When this happens, we can score good deals.

Let’s hop back up to what I said about the prices that Kraft gives to Catalina Marketing.  These are the retail prices or the prices before the loyalty card discount (pre-loyalty card prices).  So, these are the prices that the catalina machine recognizes.  The pre loyalty card prices.  This is not advertised this way because the stores want you to use their loyalty card and purchase more items.  So, because this is not advertised this way, the store will only recognize the deal as working on their loyalty card prices.  And, as I said earlier, the promotion is between the manufacturer and Catalina Marketing.  The store is just participating in it.

What if a Catalina Does Not Print?

So, what happens if a catalina does not print and you have based the catalina on the pre loyalty card price (retail price).  If you go to the customer service counter at your store, they will tell you that you did not meet the requirements.  So, you need to either call or email Catalina Marketing.  They have a great customer service department and can see your receipt once you give them the information on it.  If you, in fact, have meet the requirements, they will mail you the catalina.

To submit a request if your Catalinas do not print, the best thing to do is visit the Catalina Marketing site and complete the form provided.

What Causes a Catalina Not to Print?

There are many things that can cause a catalina not to print.  Here is a list:

  • You did not properly calculate the pre loyalty price when making your purchase.  If you have gotten a deal idea from a website, such as this one, you always have to check your stores prices as they may vary.  You may need to alter your scenarios to fit the prices at your store.
  • You purchased an item in the product line that was not part of the catalina.  You have to be very careful and read your ciruclar (if it’s advertised) to be sure you are getting the exact products and sizes listed in the catalina.
  • An item that is suppose to be participating was not coded properly.  This is not something you would be able to know ahead of time as it is most likely an error in the setup of the deal.
  • The catalina machine is out of paper or not working.

Just a note:

I would highly recommend not to email the stores corporate offices or demand the catalina from customer service.  As I said, these deals run through Catalina Marketing and the Manufacturer so bothering the stores will only aggravate the situation.  If your catalina does not print yet you have met the qualification based on the sale price AND the promotion is clearly advertised in their circular or in their store, you can easily go to customer service to have them make an adjustment.  If you are basing your deal on the pre-loyalty price (also known as shelf price or retail price) or it is not an advertised promotion, you have to understand that things don’t always go as planned.  95% of the time they will, but you have to accept the 5% that they don’t.  If you don’t have the money to “experiment” with a deal, I would recommend not doing it in case it doesn’t turn out as planned.

Hopefully this will answer any questions or frustration that some of you have had trying to work the Catalina Deals.  Please know, that these are some of the best deals to do to help to reduce your grocery bill.  However, as I said, you have to understand that sometimes they may not go as planned.   But, when they do, they are awesome.


  • pam

    thanks.. I knew almost all of what you said..but a few gems I didn’t!

  • Diana

    Been couponing for just several weeks, and I finally got the nerve up to do an easy Catalina deal – the current ShopRite Hunts deal (with 4 ketchup Qs)…….such a good feeling watching that $5 cat print out!! I then used it in my 2nd transaction (my meat for the week!). Thank you for continuing to explain the ins and outs of couponing to us newbies. :)

  • http://Facebook Rhonda

    We are some of the less fortunate people down here in West Texas that does not have double coupons at any grocery stores here. So I was going to Walgreens for some of the bargains listed with their print out’s BUT found out that they TOO do not have the print out store coupons either. SO no doubling for us here in West Texas..

    • tabby

      i am so new to this all i have not even got started yet..lol . but i am getting ready to go for it. i was wondering if anyone lives in or around barberton ohio area and if so could you tell me the best places to shop to get double deals..??thank you to everyone for helping me understand how all this works..

  • Stella

    Had this happen today, again, went to the service desk and after they verified everything I was given $10 in cash. That was somewhat of a shock, I think they have always given me store credit before. But if you get a real cs person they generally know how to handle it and can find it pretty quickly for you.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks! Love the extra explanation!

  • Joanna

    Thank you for posting this! Now I totally understand why customer service is so often clueless about this! I’m printing this one out for future reference!!

  • Amanda

    I work at a store that has Catalina’s. Our store will honor the deal if it doesnt print. Generally we have a “make the customer happy” approach. However, we are not required to do this because catalina is a seperate company. We have to make sure the products and dates match and either we will give you that amount back in cash, as a hand written store coupon (for your next purchase) or in some instances, a store gift card for the amount. Usually we can only do it if the catalina deal is listed in our ad or on a shelf sign. Also, eventhough they say “manufacturer coupon” on the top, most stores that I know of will not accept catalinas from other stores. However, there are some that do so make sure to check before you plan your trip with the coupons.

  • Misty

    If a catalina is for a specific item (ex. $1.00 off any 1 morningstar farms product) can I stack a manufacturer coupon with it to get the item even cheaper? Thank You.

    • Christine R

      Misty, I know this reply is very late but wanted to reply anyway. If the cat is for a specific item you cannot stack it with a mfr coupon. I asked a Shoprite store manager. He said that type of cat is considered a mfr coupon not a store coupon so they can’t be stacked.

  • Sydney

    Thank you so much for the clarification! Just one more question and I will use your Kraft example:
    Buy $25 of Kraft Products gets $5 catalina
    -I understand now about the store loyalty card, but what about using coupons even more?
    -For example, if I bought enough Kraft at retail price that put me over $25, then my loyalty card brought me to $22, and now I have a coupon that will take off another $3…so final OOP=$19. Should this still print my catalina if everything were to go right?

    • Cindy

      The coupons will not effect it. The computers at most of the stores (Stop & Shop is a different breed) can not calculate the adjustment of the coupons.

  • Jiggi

    Would other stores take catalina printed at Walgreens? I am always afraid the catalina printout will expire before I have a chance to use it as they have such short expiration date.

    • Jackie

      I know that WalMart will honor all catalinas, and other stores coupons as well.

  • krissyk

    Do you have to purchase all the items in one transaction in order to get the catalina?

  • Kathy

    Hello, Im very new at this. I was just wondering how does someone find out about catalinas deals???

  • Stacey

    I wanted to do the deal for shoprite this week with the lo’real kids shampoo, I have 10 coupons for .75 off, and a $1 catalina is suppose to print when you buy 2, can I do them all in the same transaction or do I have to do a seperate transaction for each of them to get all my catalinas?

  • Rachel

    Cindy, Can I do the catalina deal muliple times in one transaction? For example the SPROUT baby food at Stop n Shop this week… do i have to buy 4, check out, buy 4 check out… ect.. or can i do them all at the same time and get multiple catalinas?

    • Cindy

      You have to do one deal per transaction

  • Mer

    Related to the Cottonelle deal below, if I get the catalina AFTER I pay my bill (even if I use my coupons) how is the cost $3.24? Do I have return the items and then purchase them again with the catalina to get the cost that low?

    Deal Idea:
    Buy 2 Cottonelle Double Roll 12 pack $6.49 each
    -(2)$0.75/1 Cottonelle Bath Tissue Coupon (hopefully we get this and not a $1/2)
    Pay: $9.98
    Get a $3.50 catalina
    $3.24 each after coupons & catalina

    • Desiree

      You would not need to re-do the transaction. The $3.50 catalina is essentially like getting cash back to put toward your next purchase. That is where multiple transactions will show a better payout. I hope that makes sense. I’m new to couponing, but I’m really good with numbers… which makes me wonder how I never thought of this before! I could kick myself, lol.

  • Mrs. Chavez

    I love catalinas, But i have something that has been bothering me for sometime….. At the store I shop at there is a small trash can that is by the self checkout , i see when i check out that the small trash can has a bunch of catalinas people just leave at the register and the cashier just takes them and dumps them. My question is, Is it rude to go and just pick them from there or is there rules about that???
    CONFUSED!!

  • mcast105

    Mrs Chavez
    lol i don’t think its rude. i was wondering if the store would tell me “miss you cant do that ” i have taken some from self check out and have my kids look on the floor in the parking lot and the carts but not from the trash
    This week is trash time whos with me lol

  • donna

    does anyone know if shop rite or stop and shop will honor each others cat’s?

  • Laura D.

    No they do not. It is stated on the catalina that it can only be used at whichever store gave it to you.

  • Jennifer

    At our Shoprite they wanto scan the loyalty card upfront. Will this effect me getting the Catalina? Do I have to tell them they have to wait until all food has been scanned to register that I purchased say “$25 in Kellogg’s cereal” ?

  • Jennifer

    At our Shoprite they want to scan the loyalty card upfront. Will this effect me getting the Catalina if the item is on sale and I need to purchase $25 worth of that product to get the Catalina? Promotion sent to me from LRWC is pre-loyalty card price.

    • Laura D.

      I always scan my loyalty card first and the Catalinas have always printed. Good Luck!

  • Martha

    Hello, I did the P&g catalina deal buy $45 get a $10 Catalina, but it didn’t print. Who do i contact about the issue? Is there a number or website?

  • Ashley

    Do catalina coupons have to be used at the chain of stores the machine is located, or can they be used anywhere just like any other manufacturer coupon? I received pampers coupons from the catalina during my Kroger visit. At the top of the coupon though, it says manufacturer coupon. Thank you!

  • Binkey19

    So let’s say it’s one of the deals that’s buy $25 get $5…in your transaction you hit the $25 but with all your coupons it gets to say $4. Will the Catalina work? Or does it depend on your store? Also if it was “confirmed” the cat works on presale prices is that true for all shop rites or is it store specific? I called my shop rite in parsippany nj and they said its sale prices and with coupons your order still needs to be $25. I’m just a little confused bc what I’ve been reading here that shouldn’t be the case since cat is from the manuf. not the store?

  • amanda singh

    I would like to know if an item is listed as $3.50 and get a catil of $2.50 .can I buy 2 of these items together and get double the catil

    • Rocky

      Unfortunately, there is no one answer that applies to all offers/deals. Can you give a specific example from a deal at a store that you are interested in? Drugstore deals can be different from grocery store deals, and, different offers have different qualifying rules – quantities or dollar values. Your question sounds more like a drugstore deal, but, those have limitations, also, so, would help to know the details.

      • amanda singh

        Ok my Q is walgreen have colgate for $3.50 and u get back a catilena for $2.50 I want to know if I buy 2 together if im gonna get back $5.00 catilena










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