Extreme Couponing Tip: Working Catalina Deals
For those of you that know me, you know that I am a HUGE fan of Catalina Deals. For those of us in the Northeast, we don’t really have the opportunity to get overage on items by just using coupons (except Walmart of course). And, most of our stores have limits to the number of “like” coupons we can use. Now, I’m not complaining because we do have double coupons which I love as well.
But with that said my absolute favorite deals, are Catalina Deals. If you work them right you can really get some great deals. If you work them wrong, well, you could get a headache. Then you’ll need to get some Excedrin which has been recalled….so, let me make a list of some of the things to help make your Catalina transactions smoother and hopefully as headache free as possible.
A lot of the catalina deals we find are unadvertised meaning that they are not published in the store’s circular or on Coupon Network. So how do we find out about unadvertised catalina deals? Here are a few ways:
- Print Outs: A reader may get a print out of a catalina deal when they make a purchase at the register. Then once they email me the info, I publish it right on the site.
- Testing Deals: If there is word that another store has a catalina deal, a reader (or even me) may give the deal a try at their local store to see if it works. If it does, I will publish the details.
- Shelf Tags: Deals may be displayed on the shelf tags in the store showing the catalina information.
As you can image, reason #1 & reason #2 sometimes make it difficult to prove you were suppose to get a catalina offer if the offer did not print. But, if you believe you purchased the correct items, be sure to try and contact Catalina Marketing. You can find their info by going to the FAQ section above. The contact info is also listed at the bottom of most weekly coupon match ups.
Working a Deal on Shelf Price:
At most stores (not including Acme) you can use the shelf price or the pre-loyalty card price to calculate the amount required for the catalina deal. In the match ups, the deal ideas are broken down as if the deal is working on shelf price. Here are some things you should know before making your purchases
- Check Shelf Prices: Be sure to check your store’s shelf price. Many times they can be different from store to store. If your prices are higher or lower then what I have posted, this may throw off your deal causing your catalina not to print or, in some cases, allowing you to buy even less then anticipated.
- Lower Prices for Sale: Another reason to check the shelf price is that some stores may lower the shelf prices for the sale. Again, as I stated above, this could cause your catalina not to print if it is not calculated with the new prices
- Deals Not Confirmed: Even though I post deal ideas using the shelf pricing, remember that these are not confirmed working until someone has successfully tried it. So, if you are new to doing deals or if you don’t have extra time or money to “try” a deal, my suggestion is to wait until there is confirmation that it is working
Buying the Correct Products for the Deal:
Buying incorrect products are one of the main reasons that catalina do not to print.
- Products Not Tagged Properly: One of the reasons that a catalina may not print is that a product may have been tagged incorrectly for the deal. That simply means that UPC digits could have been switched or a variety was missed or any number of possibilities. This is not the fault of the consumer and can be frustrating I know. In most cases, there is nothing you can do except return your items if you need to. Again, if you are new to doing catalina deals or you don’t have the extra time or money to “try” deals, waiting a few days until a deal irons itself out.
- Buying the Wrong Product: Buying the wrong product (size, variety or flavor) will also cause a catalina not to print. For instance, if you buy Garnier Nutrisse Creme Hair Color when the deal requires the purchase of Garnier Nutrisse Color Foam, then the catalina will not print. So, pay very close attention to the details of the catalina, including size, variety or flavor.
As I have mentioned in the What is a Catalina post in the Extreme Couponing for Beginners section, I would highly recommend that you not email the store’s corporate offices or demand the catalina from customer service if your catalina does not print. These deals run through Catalina Marketing and the Manufacturer so bothering the stores will only aggravate the situation.
However, if your catalina does not print and 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, then contacting Catalina Marketing is your best bet. But, you have to understand that things don’t always go as planned. It will 95% of the time, but you have to accept the 5% that they don’t. Again, if you do not have the money to “experiment” with a deal, I would recommend not doing it in case it doesn’t turn out as planned or at least waiting until the end of the week when all the details have been ironed out.