If you are wanting to learn how to become a savvy AND HIP Target shopper, you’ve come to the right place! 🙂
As you may know, I LOVE deal shopping at Target as they offer up some amazing saving opportunities! BUT, do keep in mind that Target has quite a few “rules”, so before even stepping foot inside the store, I highly recommend getting familiar with their Corporate Coupon Policy.
Make sure to print a copy and carry it with you whenever you shop at Target. In addition to understanding how to use your coupons correctly, you’ll also want to know what to look for while shopping to get the best deals. With that being said, be sure to take the time to read through 15 of my top tips that will help you save BIG at Target…
1.) Know What Day to Shop
Did you know that most Target stores follow a schedule where they mark down certain departments for clearance on specific days?! Knowing the schedule before stepping foot in store can help you find the best deals, but keep in mind that the markdown schedule may vary by store, so be sure to ask your local store about their schedule. Here’s just one possible markdown schedule…
- Monday: Electronics, Kids’ & Baby Clothing, Stationery/Office Supplies
- Tuesday: Women’s and Juniors Clothing, Domestics
- Wednesday: Men’s Clothing, Food, Health & Beauty, Lawn & Garden, Furniture, Laundry
- Thursday: Toys, Pets, Housewares, Lingerie/ Sleepwear, Athletic Apparel, Shoes, Sporting Goods, Paper Goods, Decor, Luggage
- Friday: Auto, Scarves, Cosmetics, Jewelry, Hardware
2.) Sign Up for a Cartwheel Account
Cartwheel offers are only valid on specific items and each Cartwheel offer may be used for up to a maximum of four qualifying items per offer per transaction, unless otherwise noted. There is also a limit of one Cartwheel barcode per transaction and six Cartwheel barcode scans per day.
While shopping in-store, you can even scan the barcodes of items that you’re interested in buying with your Cartwheel App to see if an offer is available for that item. If so, the offer will pop right up!
Then just show your unique barcode on your mobile device at the register (or print it out) and the applicable savings will be deducted from your total. You can manage your Cartwheel list from anywhere – Cartwheel.com on any web browser, from your desktop, or on your mobile device.
HIP TIP – If you can’t access the internet while shopping at Target, try connecting to Target’s free guest Wi-Fi to access your Cartwheel Offers OR consider creating your own Target Cartwheel scannable key chain! Instead of pulling up your Cartwheel barcode on your phone at checkout, just have the cashier scan your keychain barcode. Easy Peasy!
3.) Browse the Wall-Facing Endcaps FIRST
Clearance, clearance, clearance! If you’re looking for the best bargains, be sure to browse the shelves at the ends of the aisles that have red “Clearance” signs. Most of the clearance endcaps are facing the store walls (not those located down the main walking aisles) and are often filled with various items that have been marked down from 15% to 70% off. Plus, they can make for sweeter deals when paired with coupons and occasional Cartwheel Offers that do not exclude clearance!
4.) Decode the Clearance Tags
Clearance items can make for some of the best bargains at Target as long as you know what you’re looking for. Items will first get marked down by 15% or 30%, then to 50% off, and finally to 70% or 90% off. These items will have a red “clearance” sticker that shows the original price, the new price, the 9 digit DCPI item number and the percentage of the markdown in the top right-hand corner.
Check the small number in the upper right corner of the price tag. If it says “50”, it’s been marked to 50% off, if it says “70”, it’s been marked down to 70% off, etc. The only exception is holiday or seasonal merchandise, which can go as high as 90% off (in those cases, the code will be “90” in the corner).
Also, rumor has it that if the price tag ends in a $0.06 or $0.08, the item will be priced down again as long as there is inventory in the store and will stay on clearance for 1-2 weeks or while supplies last. However, if a price tag ends in $0.04, it is final clearance and won’t be marked down again.
5.) Check Inventory Before Making a Special Trip
Before you spend time packing up the kiddos and spend money driving over to your local Target to snag a possible clearance deal, consider using an Inventory Checker to see if your store has any in stock and what the current price is. Go here for details on how to check inventory at your store.
NOTE: Sometimes these inventory systems can be wrong due to theft, loss, and other circumstances, so it’s always best to call your local store and ask them to hold an item for you.
6.) Look for Target Gift Card Promos
Promotions to watch for while shopping or while flipping through the weekly ads are Target’s Gift Card deals. These gift card promotions may last for a week, month, or even longer and may even be posted inside the store but not in the circular – so you’ll want to be on the lookout!
To receive a Target Gift Card, you must buy certain participating products and by doing so, you’ll receive the gift card at checkout. You won’t be able to use the gift card on that purchase, but you can use the gift card on future purchases and you can keep “rolling” the same gift card deals over and over again to lower your out-of-pocket expense! PLUS, you can use manufacturer’s coupons, store coupons, Cartwheels, and rebate offers on gift card promos to sweeten them even further!
NOTE – Target now adjusts down any coupons if your out-of-pocket cost will be LOWER after coupons than the gift card you are getting back. That means, you can’t score money-makers on gift card offers as the coupons/offers will be adjusted down to the amount of the gift card offer. For example:
Buy 2 Lemi Shine Detergent Booster 12 oz $4.09 each = $5 Target Gift Card
Total = $8.18
Use a 15% Off Lemi Shine Dish Detergent Booster 12oz Cartwheel Offer – will deduct $1.22
And use two $1/1 Lemi Shine Detergent or Booster printable coupons (limit 2)
Pay $5 (Your coupons will adjust down to 98¢ each)
Get back a FREE $5 Target Gift Card
Final cost 2 FREE cleaners!
7.) Take Advantage of REDcard Perks
Target’s REDcard is an easy way to save on every single Target purchase. It offers 5% off at the register on your entire bill, free shipping on every order at Target.com and an extra 30 days to return items.
Don’t like the idea of having a credit card? Consider signing up for the Debit card instead of the credit version for the same perks, no annual fee and no credit check required. The Debit card is tied to your existing checking account so you can also withdraw up to $40 at checkout in-store.
8.) Stack the Savings
Did you know that Target lets you stack multiple coupons, as well as use your Target REDcard for increased savings?! According to their coupon policy, they allow using one manufacturer coupon, one Target store coupon (paper or digital), and one Cartwheel offer per item, unless prohibited by coupon.
In addition, Target often releases threshold or category coupons (i.e. $10 off $40 Purina pet care purchase) that can also be used together with Target store coupons for specific items ($1/1 Purina product). Although, keep in ind that you cannot combine category coupons (i.e. $5 off $25 pet care items and $10 off $50 pet items) unless you reach the threshold fore each coupon.
You can find Target store coupons in the Cartwheel App, by texting from your mobile device and in your Sunday Newspaper Inserts. To easily find the available Target category coupons, open your Cartwheel App, click on the Checkout button at bottom and then click on the red “Coupons” bar.
HERE’S ONE (SOMEWHAT CONFUSING) DEAL IDEA:
Buy 2 Iams MiniChunks Dry Dog Food 15 lb $16.99 = FREE $5 Target Gift Card
Total = $33.98
Use the $5 off $30+ Cesar/Iams/Pedigree Dog Food Target Category Store Coupon found in the 4/9 RP insert or found in the Cartwheel App
*This threshold coupon is deducted first but won’t affect the full Cartwheel discount below
Use one $5/1 Iams Dry Dog Food 9 lb+ Target Store Coupon found in the 2/12 RP insert
*You cannot use two coupons as one of the items will be free from the BOGO mfg. coupon below
Use the 10% off Iams Dog & Cat Food Cartwheel Offer – will deduct $2.90
*Cartwheels are deducted off the total after item-specific Target Store Coupons are applied
Use the Buy 1 Get 1 Free Iams Dry Dog Food 15lb or less coupon found in the 3/12 RP insert
*This coupon will likely auto adjust down to $13.44 due to the Cartwheel & Gift Card you are earning. It will take the $5 gift card value off the coupon amount and add back the Cartwheel value of one bag)
Get back a FREE $5 Target Gift Card for buying two
Final cost $2.64 total – just $1.32 per bag!
9.) Know the Coupon Order at Checkout
When heading to checkout, it’s important to hand over coupons in the right order! The Target Cartwheel offers will be deducted after all Target store coupons but before manufacturer’s coupons so be sure to hand over your Cartwheel barcode last. Here’s the order that the savings will come off…
- Target Store Coupons
- Cartwheel Offers
- Manufacturer’s Coupons
- Target REDCard
10.) Stock Up During Seasonal Clearance Sales
Stock up for future holidays by shopping a few days or weeks after the holiday has passed. The day after the holiday, select items will be reduced by 50% off (usually only 30% off for candy and grocery items). BUT, if you wait 7 to 10 days, products could drop to 70% off. Then, 3 to 5 days later, remaining inventory will eventually drop to 90% off! The best times of year that Target offers holiday clearance prices are Valentine’s Day, Easter, Summer, Back to School, Halloween, and Christmas.
Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for “hidden” seasonal deals throughout the entire store, not just the Clearance sections! You can often find clearance prices on unmarked items in the grocery aisles, clothing section and other departments. If you spot a seasonal item mixed in with regular items, be sure to scan it at the price checker to see if it is on sale.
11.) Stop at the Dollar Spot
You can find some great bargains at Target’s Dollar Spot, which is usually located at the entrance to the store. Most items in this section are priced around $1-$3 and even these items get marked down during certain times of the year – possibly 50% to 70% off. That means you can pay as low as 30¢ to 50¢ each… or even less if there is an applicable coupon or Cartwheel offer that is valid on clearance!
12.) Bring Your Own Shopping Bag
As part of their reusable bag program, whenever you bring in your own reusable bag and make a purchase with it, all Target stores will credit you 5¢ for every single bag used at checkout. It’s not a huge money-saver but it can add up, especially if you’re making a large grocery purchase.
13.) Know the Price Match Guarantee
Hang onto your receipts! If you find a current lower price within 14 days after purchase, just bring in your receipt and Target will adjust your payment to the lower price. Target will even price match a total of TWENTY-SEVEN online competitors listed here – including Amazon.com, SamsClub.com, SportsAuthority.com, Walmart.com and even Ulta.com. Plus, you can price match both at your local Target store AND online at Target.com (excluding clearance and other items).
14.) Sign up for a Baby, Wedding, or College Registry
Whenever you sign up for a Baby, College, or Wedding registry and add items to your list, you’ll often get coupons or discounts for shopping from your list. For a Wedding registry, you will receive two 15% off completion coupon offers for the items remaining on your registry (the first will arrive the week of your event date and the second will arrive approximately six weeks after your event date – both include a coupon for in-store shopping and an online promo code).
You will also receive four 15% off friends and family coupons two weeks after creating your registry to share for in-store shopping and a discount code for one online order.
As just one idea of the great perks you can receive, Target offers registrants a set of two FREE Keurig Travel Mugs ($48.98 value) if you receive a Keurig brewer from your registry! OR, if you receive $100 worth of Ninja products from your registry, you’ll get a FREE Ninja Express Chopper ($19.99 value)!
Even sweeter, whenever you complete a Baby Registry, you can then head in store to score a FREE Welcome Gift with coupons, freebies and more – valued at $50! Plus, 8 weeks prior to your event date, you’ll receive a 15% off completion coupon offer for the items remaining on your registry and a coupon for in-store shopping, a discount code for one online order, and 4 friends and family coupons.
If completing a College registry, you’ll score a 15% off coupon for the remaining items on your registry 2 weeks before your event date.
15.) Get a 1-Year Satisfaction Guarantee
If you’re not satisfied with any Target Owned Brand item (such as Archer Farms, Mossimo, up & up, Xhilaration, Market Pantry, and others listed here), you can return it within one year with a receipt for an exchange or a full refund. Plus, REDcard Debit and Credit cardholders will receive an extra 30 days to return nearly all items purchased with their REDcard at Target and Target.com.
If you don’t have a receipt, they can look up your receipt whenever you bring your item, government-issued photo ID (such as a driver’s license), and the method of payment used to the Guest Service desk within the return window allowed for that item.
If you’re a visual learner, be sure to check out my How to Shop & Save at Target Two-Part Video Series below:
(NOTE, these videos were filmed back in 2014, so some of the info may be outdated)If you can’t see the video, go here. If you can’t see the video, go here.