Thursday, August 9, 2012

How to Save Money at Target

Target is by far and away one of my favorite places to shop.  The store is bright and clean (unlike our local Walmart) and there is an abundance of fun merchandise.  With the addition of fresh foods this year, Target has become my mothership.

It's constantly calling me home.

Throughout my Target travels, I have learned much about their sales, coupons and clearance items.  Below are some of my tried and true tricks to save a bundle the next time you shop.

Before I dig in, download the Target app! Cartwheel alone has saved me over $2,000 in three years.  If you use and remember your cartwheel, you'll save a few dollars every time you shop.  Cartwheel can be combined with coupons (manufacturer and Target) and your redcard savings.  For more on Cartwheel, click here.

Print Your Coupons

Target's website has a link to print coupons that can be used at any Target store.  Before you leave to shop, print what you need and keep them in your wallet so you remember to use them when you pay!
(update...Target has added coupons to it's app, so if you have the app you're all set!)

You can double your savings by combining Target coupons with manufacturer's coupons.  Each Target coupon can be combined with up to one manufacturer's coupon.  This equals big savings if you watch for coupons on items such a Bounty paper towels, yogurts, cleaning supplies and more.

I have a Target coupon for $1.00 off of a Sara Lee bread item.  I also clipped a manufacturer coupon in Sunday's paper for $1.00 on any loaf of Sara Lee bread.  If I can catch a sale on Sara Lee bread at Target for $1.99/loaf, I can get my bread for free.

Even if I can't catch a sale, $0.50 isn't too shabby for a loaf of bread.

I have also had excellent savings using the coupons the store prints along with your receipt at checkout.  Always check these, and toss the ones you won't use.  A successful shopping trip for me is utilizing Cartwheel, mobile coupons, sales/clearance and store coupons.  When you add all these up you save BIG.

Be Clearance Savvy

Target is one of my favorite places to shop clearance.  The trick is to know where to find these deals.  When shopping at Target, you need to check the "endcaps" or the shelves at the end of the aisles.  This is where you will find a bevy of great clearance merchandise.  You need to really walk the outer aisles of the store to find the best deals. 

Always check your marked down merchandise with the price checker - Target associates may have missed a markdown.

Clearance differs at every store, since clearance sales are intended to sell off the remainder of certain merchandise.

Clearance tip - after holidays and seasons check for clearance. Last year at the end of summer I found lanterns, picnic supplies and more for as little as $1/piece. If you catch it at the right time, markdowns will be as high as 90% off.

Read the Red Stickers

The tiny number at the top right of the clearance sticker is the percentage the item has been marked down.  Items marked down 30% will be marked down again.  This is especially true for the after Christmas sales.  Target has an abundance of toys and other merchandise they bring in for the holidays.  They need to clear these items to make room for Spring merchandise.

If you browse the clearance, hold on the 30% off items.  Wait until these prices hit rock bottom.  If you are afraid the items will sell out, purchase and save your receipt.  If you see the item cheaper a week later, buy again and return the original.

Most often, clearance prices ending in "8" will be marked down again.  Clearance prices ending in "4" are the lowest they will go.

Keep Your Receipts and Pay Attention at the Register

Target is easy on the returns (within reason).

If you lost your receipt, but bought the item with a credit card, Customer Service can usually search for the purchase using your card.  If you buy an item that goes on sale, price adjustments can be made within 14 days of purchase using your receipt.

Many times when I've checked out, I haven't gotten an advertised deal.  This applies most times to the "buy 4 and get a free $5 giftcard" and similar deals. If the deal is advertised on the shelf by the item - even if the deal expired - go to customer service and explain.  Many times they hand over the $5 giftcard with no questions.  Well worth the few minutes it takes to question the customer service team about why you didn't get an advertised deal.

Take Advantage of Advertised Deals and Specials

Target runs great deals that include a $5, $10 or sometimes a $25 gift card with purchase.  The other week they ran a deal that if you bought 5 participating Kellogg items, you received a gift card for $5 at checkout.  I had coupons for Nutri Grain Bars and cereals.  I purchased items we enjoy regularly with coupons and received a gift card for $5 to use towards my next Target trip.

The trick here is to BUY ONLY WHAT YOU USE!  You're not saving money if you buy three cereals no one eats for a $5 gift card.

Markdown Schedules

Markdown schedules vary by store, but if you shop often you will learn what days items are marked down.  Look for markdowns on kid's clothes Mondays, Women's clothes and domestic items Tuesdays, Men's clothes Wednesday, Thursday shoes and housewares, Friday cosmetics.

Remember these days are a guide, stores will vary this schedule.

Other Ways to Save

Target will price match competitors advertised prices, and you can also look into RedCard.  Cardholders save 5% every time they shop, and receive other perks and offers.  I stay away from store cards, but if you are responsible to pay off every month, this is a way to save.  You can also open a card that links to your debit account.

Do you have any other great tips to save?  Share please!

Happy shopping!


  1. Thanks for the helpful info! Next week, we should be moved into our new place, where there is a Target less than 10 minutes from my house! Right now, Target is an hour away!
    These tips will come in handy! I used to really be into couponing, and my daughter and I both want to get back into it together!

    1. Oh man - you are going to LIVE in Target after you move!!! So glad my tips can help!

  2. AMAZING! I am an avid Target shopper, and this is a life saver...thank you so much! :)

  3. dont buy all your school supplies before school, buy enough to get you by until the sale. about the week school starts everything gets marked down, by the time its two weeks into school, you can get three times the stuff for what you would have paid a month ago. I went in and got all my school supplies for two years for under $100.


    The Shopkick app gives you mobile Target coupons as well! It's free and you get points just for walking into Target as well, that you can cash in for free Target gift cards. They have different coupons just about every other week, and this week they are giving you a free $2 giftcard.

    Check it out! You can double these coupons as well! LOVE them!

  5. It also pays to buy the Target brand of most merchandise- even with coupons for the name brands, Target brand toilet paper, soft soap, facial tissues and paper towels are cheaper (and I am sure that many other things are cheaper, too).

    And get the Red Card! You can get the debit version so it takes it directly out of your checking account. It gives you an automatic 5% off every purchase and if you take the extra step you can sign up a school of your choice (or more) to receive a 1% Take Charge of Education bonus. I have saved almost $400 dollars this year because of my Red Card.

    The Red Card also makes returns easy- I never have a receipt, but they can track my purchases with my Red Card and I've never had a problem with returns.

  6. Great reminders on how to save at Target...a couple more things.

    1. Buy the Target store brand: even with coupons for name brands, the Target toilet paper, paper towels and facial tissue are a lot cheaper.

    2. GET THE RED CARD! You can get the debit version and it takes your purchases directly out of your checking account. You save 5% with every purchase and you can choose a school to receive a 1% Take Charge of Education bonus. Returns are easy- I never have a receipt but because I make all my purchases with my Red Card they can easily track them for return purchases. And if you are in a pinch for cash, you can get up to $40 cash back with the Target debit card. I have saved almost $400 this year alone.

    3. If you have a Super Target nearby- the dairy grocery prices are the best I can find (except for Organic milk which is about 60 cents more than at most other grocery stores in the Minneapolis area). In general the grocery prices are cheaper for most things, but it does pay to watch your prices closely.

    4. And finally- I remember last January (perhaps it's a January thing)...they had a big stock up sale after the holidays. I was able to purchase a lot of my favorite things in bulk (similar to a Costco or Sam's club). We have some room for storage here, so I bought a year's worth of dishwasher soap and a few other things. The prices could not be beat and I had coupons for most of it.

    Good luck!

  7. Nice post! This blog has given me a better understanding. Thanks a lot for such an informative blog post. Cheers!
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  8. They have now created an app called Cartwheel. It saves you quite a bit, and you can combine one manufacturer coupon, one Target coupon, and one Cartwheel coupon per item! I love it!


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