Friday, May 22, 2009

How to Roll a CAT 101 & get a Great Deal!

I've had a couple of people ask me how to go about working a Catalina Promotion Deal, including the Cashier at the Price Chopper today, as I made my 5th trip through her check-out

The key to working a Deal or rolling a CAT is to be organized and Plan, Plan, PLAN before you even set foot in the store!

Yes, you can just throw your coupons and sales flyer into your purse and rush into the store, but then what?

What happens when they are out of items you want to build an order with?

What happens when you misfigure your total in your head and you haven't spent enough to qualify for the Cat?

You leave the store without your Cat and your great buys and either angry at yourself or so disappointed you just give up and go back to paying....GASP...retail for everything.

First you need to study the sales promotion.

1. What do you have to buy? Make sure you only buy what the sales ad clearly states qualifies for the promotion. If the ad is not clear, then ask store's management.

2. How much do you need to spend? Is there a dollar threshold you must spend & what is it? Is that dollar amount based on Regular Shelf Price, or if the item is on sale, the current sales price? One store here bases Cat promos on sales price(I hardly EVER do those promos!).

3. Is there a certain number of items you need to buy or a certain combination of items?

4. Are there any special conditions you need to meet for the CAT outside of #1 , #2 & #3?

With those questions answered, you are ready for some store reconnaissance. You need to venture into enemy territory(the store)and survey the battlefield. Take a trip into the store you'll be doing your deal in and get any information of price/size/quantity of the products you'll need to buy. My current Unilever Cat deal covered a wide range of Unilever branded items....from peanut butter to deodorant. As the total threshold was based on regular shelf price, I needed to literally take pen & paper into the store and write down the reg. price on each item in the deal. PC is notorious for NOT putting the price on BOGO sales ads! An item will be advertised as a BOGO/B1G1 but no mention of what the 1 you have to pay for will cost you.

You can sometimes use price information shared by others on forums like A Full Cup or Hot Coupon World but individual stores' prices CAN VARY. If I take the info. from someone online who shops at my chain store but in Trumbull CT, the price in MY PA store might or might not be the same. You want to know precisely the prices in YOUR store. This is vital information that, if you don't have it correct, can trip up your deal.

In my case, even though I did a Unilever Cat deal in early April in this PC store & still had some of the reg. shelf prices written down, I wrote them all down again on my reconnoitering 1st trip in for this New deal.

After all your facts are checked and you have all your information, now the fun begins! Get out your calculator and some pen & paper and do your homework.

Figure out and commit to paper any potential transactions you want to perform at the store.(This is also most excellent advise for folks who use ECBs at CVS &/or RRs at Walgreens to pay, and want to spend little to none out of pocket.)

I will fill up an 8x10 sheet of paper with potential scenarios before I even get in the car. When plannning out your scenarios, make sure to figure in the coupons you will be using too. If I can get it all written down(the scenarios with plenty of back up plans too)before I hit the store, the actual time it takes me to shop is minimal.

And be sure you have plenty of back up scenarios as Murphy's Law will always kick in and they will always be out of stuff you want to buy in your

Having the deals worked out beats trying to think on your feet in the aisles with the too loud muzak blaring and the other customers talking & getting in your way, all the while you are trying to figure math in your head, while fondling boxes of soap or jars of spaghetti sauce.lolol

And if you have to take babies or children or moody teens with you on your shopping trip, well, let me just say, there is a special place in Heaven for YOU!

If you have your beloved 'baggage' along for the ride, it is ESPECIALLY important to have the 'brain work' done ahead of time. That way you can be on auto-pilot so you can focus on keeping the kids out of trouble & happy and still have your deals work out.

Now get your coupons together. Bring any coupon you feel you may need. If it's a certain brands deal, unless you are also going to buying items besides the ones that qualify for that deal, leave the other branded coupons at home or in the car. For this Unilever deal I went through my binder and pulled every Unilever product that's a part of this Cat deal, just in case I needed it. I put them into 2 envelopes-one for the food products & one for the non-food/hba products. For the amount of coupons I had, this was enough organization for me.
And I would add, that if you are NEW to doing Catalina Deals to don't try to do 'other' shopping while shopping for the Cat Deal. Focusing on just this Cat Deal and buying just those products for this deal will help you get it right. If you need to do non-Cat deal shopping, do the Cat deal first, take it to the car and go back in to do your other shopping.

You scenarios are written down, your coupons, selling price of the items & sales flyer in hand. Grab your calculator(just in case you need to do last minute calculations in the store)and go to the store. Don't forget your store loyalty card too!!

Having everything worked out before you leave the house also makes the amount of time in the store alot shorter. Just pick up what's written down & get in line to pay.

Mostly it's the lengthy amount of time waiting in the check-out lines that makes some trips seem to drag on forever. If you can avoid being in the store on weekends(except very early or very late)& weekdays between about 2:30-5:30(the school dismissal hour to dinner hour), do so. Around here, those are the times where you will inevitably end up in a long check-out line. And any day they have a Senior Discount too. Most seniors aren't in a big rush so they slow the lines down, but they are much more pleasant company than the general population usually. ;-)

BTW-I hit Price Chopper this afternoon again & did 9 more transactions rolling my $7 Cat. After 12 Transactions, I'm up to a savings of 85%. (Savings of 80% for the first 3 & Savings of 86.5% for the last 9, averages out to 85% so far.)

I've got 1 more day of this sale ad/promo deal and an envelope still stuffed with coupons. If anyone is looking for me tomorrow evening, I'll be in PC until closing time. ;-))


1 comment:

  1. Wow these tips are great
    Sometimes I find myself spending more THAN $4.00 OOP when using a RR to get a different RR..
    Thanks so much for your help your blog rocks!!


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