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September 9, 2016

HEB Bargains: $5 Unilever Catalina Promotion Starts September 21, 2016!

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Great news for HEB shoppers -- we have a new Unilever catalina promotion kicking off in stores starting Wednesday, September 21, 2016!

From September 21 through October 4, 2016, shoppers who spend $15 or more on select Unilever products will receive a $5 catalina to use on a future purchase.

That future purchase (when you use the catalina) must occur between October 5 - October 18, 2016, and must be a minimum of $15 before coupons.

If you've never done any catalina deals at HEB before, here's how you can prepare for the great offers that will be available starting 9/21:

    • For this catalina promotion, only select brands by Unilever are included. It looks like Axe, Pond's, Clear, Degree, Dove, Simple, Suave, Tresemme, Q-Tips, and Nexxus are all included.  Historically, the Unilever food brands (like Knorr, Country Crock, and Hellmann's) are NOT included.
    • Check your coupon collection for possible coupons to use!  We had quite a few Unilever coupons in the 8/28 Smartsource inserts that are good to use through September 24 -- which means they will be valid for the first few days of the catalina promotion.  Fingers crossed that we will have more arriving in the September 25 inserts as well. :D
    • Using HEB yellow coupons can be tricky, because the register reads them as a price adjustment, not an actual coupon.  So you'll need to take that into account while doing your math. I have had good luck waiting until the cashier hits TOTAL, then passing over all my coupons.  That way, the catalina has already printed, and the price adjustment of the HEB store coupons does not drop you below the minimum to trigger the catalina.  NOTE: We usually have some very nice piggyback deals as part of catalina promotions.  So if you're not aware of the rules around piggybacking (or even what it is), now is also the time to get up to speed on that -- go here for more information!
    • We can use digital coupons to purchase items that trigger a catalina.  However, there weren't a lot of digital coupons available at publication time on these brands -- we'll have to check back closer to September 21 to see if we have anything useful!
    • We CAN use our previous P&G catalina coupons to pay for items that trigger a new catalina coupon.  So exciting!  So your trip would look something like this: 1) Buy $15 worth of Unilever products, plus another $15 worth of assorted groceries to hit a pre-coupon total of $30.  2) Give your $10 P&G catalina coupon FIRST to knock your total down to $20.  3) Give any other manufacturer or yellow coupons available that match back to your items.  4) Your new $5 catalina will still print at the end of the transaction.  And if you haven't earned any Coca-Cola catalinas yet, you can do that through Tuesday, September 13!  Go here for more info on that promotion.
    • Don't try to use your new catalinas before the October 5 redemption date.  That will be coupon misuse, and could possibly lead to an embarrassing interaction with the cashier at checkout.  I hear from at least one reader during every catalina promotion who says, "But my cashier let me!"  It's still misuse (and could have repercussions for that cashier down the line.)
    • You can only earn one catalina per transaction.  In fact, we are usually only allowed to earn one catalina per customer per day on most of these promotions.  So if you want to stockpile, say, $15 worth of Suave and $15 worth of Dove products, you will need to do that on two separate transactions to earn two $5 catalinas.  You could do that in two separate trips to the same store, or you could plan one shopping trip to hit multiple HEB stores in the same general area of town.
    • If your catalina doesn't print at the register, ask for a manager's help before leaving the store.  Managers have a 'fail-safe' code that they can use to force a catalina to print -- assuming, of course, that you bought the right number of items and all of that.  This can definitely add some time to your register check-out, but leaving the store a little late is far less frustrating than leaving empty-handed!  NOTE: If you shop on the first day of the catalina promotion, your chances of having this happen rise exponentially.  In fact, HEB has not successfully launched a catalina promotion on time and in all stores so far for 2016.  That sucks, but it's true.  So I ALWAYS recommend bringing a copy of the weekly HEB ad with you to the register, to show your cashier and/or manager that yes, a new promotion has started, and yes, they need to get your catalina.  If you're the sort of person who gets anxious about that level of follow-up, I recommend you wait a day or two into the promotion period to make sure your store has had time to update their register systems.
    • If you don't get a manager's help for a catalina reprint, you can still request a reprint at home.  However, the reprint request is limited to one per customer, so if you are doing a lot of shopping, you really do need to be communicating with your store manager on what's happening at your local HEB.  Go here for more info on how to request a reprinted catalina.
    • You must use the catalina on a $15 purchase or larger.  So plan to use your catalina on a larger shopping trip once it's able to be used beginning October 5 -- and don't go nuts accumulating the catalinas if you don't have a plan to spend them carefully.  I heard a horror story last year of a shopper who had earned over 40 catalinas, not understanding that she had to redeem them all in separate purchases!  Here are a few more tips on how to shop with catalinas at HEB.
    • Don't assume the HEB coupons will be your best deal.  The HEB yellow coupons can be useful, but they aren't always the highest-value coupons available for any particular brand.  So be sure to do your research before you head out to the store!
    I will work on some suggested deal scenarios over the next several days to get everyone ready for this promotion to go live on September 21!

    If you're an experienced HEB catalina shopper, what other tips can you share?  And if you're new to using catalinas at HEB, what questions do you have?  Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

    Big thanks to J for her heads-up and photo on this deal!

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