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One of my favorite alone time activities is going to Target by myself. I prefer locations that have a Starbucks, so I can order my standard drink (a Venti vanilla non-fat latte) and sip it while I stroll the aisles. My favorites area is, of course, the perimeter where the clearance racks are located. I call it “perimeter shopping” and my husband and kids roll their eyes at me. Hey, stay home! As I said above Target is one of my favorite ALONE TIME activities. Leave your judgment in the car.
Ready to learn how to shop Target like a pro? I have scoured the internet to be sure I wasn’t missing any new tips and I have compiled all of the amazing Target shopping hacks I know of. If I missed any, please let me know in the comments! I loooove saving money at Target!
In order to properly shop Target, you need to know when items across the store are marked down. Every section of the store is marked for clearance on different days of the week, Monday through Friday. If I have had my eye on a particular item I will shop Target on its markdown day. I like to go early afternoon so the employees have had a chance to mark everything down. If you go too early in the morning you will catch them in progress so you may miss something.
Other Clearance Dates To Be Aware Of
The day and days after all major holidays (think Christmas, Halloween, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Summer, Back to School) means alllll of the holiday-themed items will be marked down. This is definitely the time to stock up on wrapping paper, ornaments, outdoor lights, Halloween decor and Easter baskets, etc. for next year. The longer you wait, the higher the percentage goes. Holiday items will go as high as 90% off! (Most everything else stops at 70%.)
Target also has a twice-yearly toy clearance, which is a GREAT time to stock up on birthday gifts for your kids and start a gift closet (or shelf, or drawer) for all of your kids’ friends parties. This clearance is in January and July and toys will go as high as 70% off!
Also remember, the price scanner is your friend! Scanners are located on support posts throughout the store. Simply scan the barcode of your item and you may be pleasantly surprised to see it is further marked down!
Now you know the days items are marked down across the store and you are probably ready to jump in your car to see what you can find. But don’t, because, WAIT! There’s more!
Target’s clearance is between 15-70%. (It used to all go to 90% <weep> but those days are gone, and mow only holiday merchandise does.) How can you tell if you are getting The Best Price? On the red Target clearance tag that is on the regular tag! Look at the tag to see the original price and the clearance price. Sure, you could do the math to see what percentage off it is, but if you are math challenged like some of us that will take time & you’ll probably be wrong. Never fear- Target is so helpful they put the percentage off right on the clearance tag! It is in the upper right corner without a % symbol. So if you see a little “30” in the corner the item is 30% off, “70” is 70% off. Easy peasy!
Also, be sure to check Cartwheel for additional clearance savings. At the time of this post, there is an extra 20% all clearance clothing! That’s clearance on tip of clearance!
.04, .06, .08 Clearance Price Tags
Tags ending in .04 are at the lowest price an item will go.
Tags ending in .06 or .08 will be marked down again.
Tags ending in other numbers have no significance and may or may not be marked down again.
If you don’t live near Target, you’re in luck! Target has an awesome online clearance you can check. This is also handy while you’re shopping in store because if, for instance, you see 4 amazingly fluffy bath towels at 50% off, but you need 6 towels, you can see if Target online has them in stock.
Be sure to check the Target ad before shopping. The ads contain more than just what’s on sale, they will often contain coupons for $5/$50 purchase or a percentage off or some other type of money savings, such as free gift cars with the purchase of select items. If you don’t subscribe to a paper check out the online ad. You can download coupons to your phone using the Target app.
Current Promos and Specials
Target is so awesome they even put all of their current promos and specials on one convenient page on their site! Be sure to give it a glance so you’re not missing out on anything you need.
“Price Cuts” are not advertised sale items and they are not clearance. They are unadvertised, in-store, bonus savings that you will spot as you wander the aisles. Be sure to check Cartwheel for extra savings.
Target Coupons, Cartwheel and Manufacturer Coupons
If you don’t have the Target app, download it asap! You’re missing out on HUGE savings. Through Target’s special savings program, Cartwheel, you can save up to 50% off your favorite items. There are hundreds of items and they change constantly, so always check. Also, the app has a barcode scanner so you can check items in the store to see if there are any Cartwheel offers. If there are, add them to your wallet and have the cashier scan your phone barcode at check out. Every penny helps!
Target also offers their own store coupons. The great part about their store coupons is they can be stacked with manufacturer coupons and Cartwheel offers. So, if Target has a coupon for $1 off Bic razors, and you have a manufacturer coupon for $1 off Bic razors, you will get $2 off your razors. If there is a Cartwheel offer you will save even more! (And if you have the REDcard – see the next tip- you will save even more!)
And last, but not least, Target has mobile coupons. By texting the code word to 827438, you will receive a mobile coupon. The codewords are limited time offers and can be found in the store on placards by the items with the promo, or at either of the two websites listed below when they are available.
Be sure to read Target’s coupon policy here.
Of course, Target offers a credit card and I’m sure you’ve been asked a billion times if you want to sign up for the Target REDcard, and you may have said “not today,” like I do everywhere. BUT, did you know Target offers a REDcard debit card??? Both the credit card and debit card give you 5% off your total purchase, but the credit card has a 20+% interest rate so if you don’t pay it off, that 5% savings is toast. The debit card gives you the savings without any interest! (Be careful with it though, it does not deduct the funds from your account immediately, and sometimes it takes a few days, so your online balance will not always be accurate.) REDcard also gives 5% off at Starbucks locations located inside Target! Happy sipping while you shop!
Target Gift Cards
Target almost always has gift card promos in their ad (both paper and online) where they offer a $5 gift card with the purchase of 5 Up & Up cleaning supplies, or 3 bottles of Herbal Essence, or a $10 gift card with the purchase of two boxes of diapers, or a $30 gift card with the purchase of a Dyson vacuum. It always changes and this is a great way to score some additional savings. You can use coupons, too, and still receive the gift card.
I know people who save their free gift cards all year long and pay for most of their holiday gifts using the cards! They are great to hang on to for this purpose! If you don’t want to wait, the gift card you receive today can be applied to your next purchase. (Sorry, you cannot use it the same day towards the purchase that qualified for the gift card.)
Are you on Twitter? Good news! So is @Target. Follow them for alerts on special sales, free shipping, etc.
Did you know Target (unlike Walmart) will match competitor prices on exact items? They will even match Amazon prices! So if you notice a price difference on the same item on a competitor’s site or sale ad, take proof of the price (even on your phone is fine) and your receipt and they will refund the difference. If you are buying an expensive electronics item, appliance or vacuum, you can check Amazon’s price while you’re in the store and Target will honor the price. Check out at customer service to save time and avoid confusion.
So you finally break down and buy that new comforter you’ve been drooling over all season. On your next Target trip, you notice the same comforter is now on sale! WTH?!! No worries! If you’ve bought the item within 14 days of it going on sale, bring your receipt to customer service and they will refund you the difference! Some items are excluded, so be sure to read Target’s return policy before making the trip.
The Dollar Spot
The Dollar Spot is at the front of the store when you walk in. Years ago everything was $1. Now items are from $1-$5. However, these items get marked down too! Usually anywhere from 30-70%, often after holidays and seasonally. Plus, they have really cute stuff that is all $5 or less in this area, so it’s worth a look!
Target is BYOB (bring your own BAG) friendly! You will get .05 off for each bag you use in lieu of taking one of their plastic bags.
Target’s pharmacy is now CVS. They are currently offering a $5 gift card after receiving 10 credits. Credits are for filling prescriptions, signing up for refill alerts, getting a flu shot, etc. More info on their ExtraCare program can be found here.
Sign up for Target subscriptions for everything you need from household cleaners to baby supplies to pet care and beauty! You’ll save anywhere from 5%-15% and an additional 5% if you use your REDcard. All subscription purchases ship free, too!
And that, fellow Target enthusiasts, is every single way to save money at Target I am aware of! If I missed any, please let me know in the comments because I love saving money at Target!
If you are getting married or having a baby you MUST check out Target’s registry options. They used to send registrants a nice coupon or gift card (not sure they still do- no more babies or weddings for me!) so it is definitely worth looking into. Not to mention they have the.best.stuff anyway!
Target has registries for College & Housewarming, too! <yay!>
Want some more money saving tips? Then check out our Frugal Living Pinterest board and these great posts:
10 Sneaky Ways to Save Money Each Month (This post shows you how to use the money saving app Acorns to save your spare change electronically! It has an awesome savings calculator to show you just how much you can save from spare change over the years.)
10 Surefire Ways to Save Money Like a Genius
5 Totally Awesome (and Totally FREE) Money Management Tools
Money Matters: 7 Things Millenials Can Learn From Talking to Their Grandparents
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Happy perimeter shopping!