Wednesday, February 16, 2011 11:32 AM
The 'Big Three' Bonus Offers Couponers Love
By Jill Cataldo | CTW Features
Savvy coupon shoppers can dramatically increase their savings by combining coupons with low sale prices and topping it all off with in-store promotions that are running at the same time. These "bonus" savings deals are typically found at larger-chain supermarkets versus smaller grocers or "everyday-low-price" supercenters.
If your grocery store participates in Catalina coupon promotions, you've probably seen that company's coupon machine at the register. The coupons it delivers vary by customer, with savings amounts triggered not only by a shopper's past purchase history at the store, but also by items they are purchasing that day.
Each month, a variety of manufacturers offer promotions that generate Catalina coupons good for money off your next shopping trip. These promotions may be advertised in your store's weekly flyer, but more often you'll find information about them in the store itself. Look for shelf tags advertising offers like "Buy 2 and receive a $2 checkout coupon for your next shopping order." These offers are also often advertised on Catalinas that print at the register a few weeks before the sale begins. You may also find them listed on Catalina's www.couponnetwork.com website under the "Buy & Save Offers" link.
The coupons you receive via Catalina promotions function just like cash. A $2 Catalina is just like a $2 bill! You can increase your savings by using coupons to buy the featured items and then receive even more "cash back" at the register for doing so.
Another kind of Catalina promotion that your store offers may feature a group or selection of products. Shoppers receive a Catalina at the register when they purchase a minimum quantity or dollar amount of selected items. These offers may state, "Spend $30 on participating products and receive $10 off your next shopping trip," or "Purchase any ten participating products"to generate a Catalina. These sales can be a lot of fun, since you can often use coupons on your items to bring your out-of-pocket total down at the register even more.
If your store is running a multiple-item Catalina promotion such as this, it will usually be advertised in the store's flyer. Look for tags in the store, too, to help identify which products are included.
Instant-savings sales may be advertised as "Buy any 10 participating products and receive $5 instant savings at the register" or "Buy 10 items, get the 11th free!" Again, with a sale like this, use coupons to first reduce the sale price even more, and then enjoy the additional savings in the checkout lane.
Can more than one of these promotions be running at the same time on the same products? Absolutely! When a product is involved in more than one savings promotion at the same time buying that one item triggers both sets of savings.
Want an example? One of my stores had a great double-dip offer on fruit snacks. They were involved in a "Spend $20, get $7" Catalina at the store, but the snacks themselves also had a second, product-specific Catalina tied to them. Buying five or more boxes of fruit snacks triggered another $3.50 Catalina.
The fruit snacks were on sale for $1.99. Buying 11 boxes cost $21.89. After five coupons good for $1 off purchase of two, the total at the register was $16.89. After paying, I received a $7 Catalina and a $3.50 Catalina back, effectively reducing the price for 11 boxes to $6.39, or about 58 cents a box!
These "bonus" savings promotions turn good prices into great deals. Consider that with just my $1 coupons for purchase of two, the fruit snacks would have cost about $1.54 a box. The additional Catalina promotions helped me shave off an additional 96 cents per box.
Shoppers must pay close attention to the terms of these promotional offers, since the sale may be restricted to specific sizes, varieties or flavors.
© CTW Features
Jill Cataldo, a coupon-workshop instructor, writer and mother of three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more about couponing at her Web site, www.supercouponing.com. E-mail your own couponing victories and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.