Question and Answer time
What is a catalina? How does it roll? A catalina is any piece of paper that prints out of that little box next to the cash register. ("Catalina" is just the name of the company that makes the boxes.) They may announce new products or promotions, but most of the time they are coupons. They are triggered by what you buy. For instance, buy baby food, you will probably get one for diapers and formula, or buy frozen food and maybe you will get one for another kind of frozen food.
The most valuable catalinas are the ones you earn by doing promotions. Like buy $25 worth of certain products, get $5 back to spend on your next purchase. This comes out in the form of a catalina. Grocery stores like Albertsons and Safeway use these the most. You can also get them at KMart, Fred Meyer, and Walgreens (they are called Register Rewards at Walgreens.) Make sure your cashier gives you all your catalinas when you leave, you never know what you might get. Also, the promotion ones usually print out after you have paid, so watch for the flashing green light on the box, if it is still flashing, it is still generating catalinas for you. Make sure you get them and not the lucky person behind you.
A rolling catalina is when you do a promotion, earn a catalina and then turn around and do the promotion again (on your next shopping trip), use your catalina coupon, and then earn another one. Sometimes they roll nicely, sometimes they don't. I will be sure to point out when one is rolling nicely. FYI a "shopping trip" is defined when you leave the store, so technically you can go to your car, unload your car, and come back in to complete another transaction.
Which brings me to a second question,
Where do you get Gerber coupons?
Gerber coupons are hard to come by considering how often you need to buy baby food when you have a little one. I get them from two main sources: Catalinas and home mailer.
The catalina machine will usually print out Gerber coupons when you buy baby food or graduate products. Sometimes they will also print out if you buy Stoneyfield or BeechNut products too (it doesn't work the opposite way though, if you buy Gerber, it won't give you BeechNut). These catalinas are not always high value coupons, but if you need to buy baby food anyway they help.
The second source, which is better is to sign up with Gerber to be on their home mailing list. They will send out coupons every few months according to your baby's age. Lots of companies do this, here are a few to sign up for if you have babies. They also will send you coupons, free samples, and information geared towards your baby's age. Sometimes these site also have coupons on them.
*Bonus: Did you know you can use a coupon and a formula check together when purchasing formula? You can! The formula checks that Enfamil/Similac/
Good Start issue are considered checks (ie forms of payment), which are different than coupons. Formula coupons often come out of the catalina machine. Also if you move, these mailings are not considered "first class" mail and will not be forwarded, so you need to sign up again...something I need to go do. Someone at my old house is scoring some major coupons!