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15 “HIP” Tips for Saving BIG at Target

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15 Hip Tips for Saving Big at Target

As you may know, I LOVE deal shopping at Target as they offer up some amazing saving opportunities! BUT, you’ll definitely want to know how to use your coupons correctly and know what to look for while shopping to get the best deals. Whether you’re a new or seasoned Target shopper, be sure to check out these 15 “HIP” Tips for saving BIG at Target

1.) Pick Your Day to Shop

Clearance from Various Departments

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 please note 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 Mobile Store Coupons

Text Coupons

If you have a texting plan on your mobile phone, you can score some nice savings at Target. To sign up for Target mobile coupons, grab your phone and text OFFERS to 827438 (standard text messaging rates apply). You’ll then receive up to five ongoing mobile coupons every month with various store coupons, but keep in mind that you can only redeem each offer once. At the register, the cashier will access the coupons right from your phone by scanning the barcode. You can also text BABY to 827438 to receive a different set of baby-related mobile coupons each month.

3.) Get a Cartwheel Savings Account

Target Cartwheel offers

Target offers up even more high value store coupons via their FREE Cartwheel Savings App! Just head over here, sign in/register for an account via Facebook or with your email address and then add the offers you want (the number of offers you can save to your account will vary by user). Then just print out or show your unique barcode on your mobile device at checkout and the applicable savings will be deducted.

You can manage your Cartwheel list from anywhere – Cartwheel.com on any web browser, from your desktop, or on your mobile device. The offers will be valid on specific items and each Cartwheel offer may be used for up to a maximum of 4 qualifying items per offer per transaction, unless otherwise noted. There is a limit of one Cartwheel barcode per transaction and six Cartwheel barcode transactions per day.

Target Keychain Tag

HIP TIP – If you get a bit stressed at checkout trying to gather up your printed/clipped coupons as well as Mobile coupons and Target Cartwheel offers, 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!

4.) 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?

Target REDcard

Consider signing up for the Debit card instead of the credit version for the same perks and no annual fee. The Debit card is tied to your existing checking account so you can also withdraw up to $40 at checkout in-store.

5.) Stack the Savings

Text Coupon Target Combined with Sale(1)

Did you know that Target lets you stack multiple coupons, as well as use your Target REDcard for increased savings?! According to their online policy, they allow using one manufacturer coupon, one Target store coupon (Target mobile coupons are Target coupons), and one Cartwheel offer per item, unless prohibited by coupon. You can find Target store coupons on Target.com, via your mobile device, and in your Sunday Newspaper Inserts (note that these are only available several times per year and do tend to be regional).

Keep in mind that Target Cartwheel offers are deducted after all Target store coupons but before manufacturer’s coupons (be sure to hand over your Cartwheel barcode last). Afterwards, you can save even more by submitting for cash back rebates via the various free apps available – such as Ibotta, Checkout 51, and Snap by Groupon!

6.) Browse the Wall-Facing Endcaps

Clearance End Cap

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!

7.) Know the Clearance Codes

Clearance Tag Examples

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% off. These items will have a red “clearance” sticker that shows the original price, the new price, and the percentage of the markdown (in the top right-hand corner without a percent symbol).

Be sure to look at 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 right-hand corner).

Also, 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.

8.) Shop the Seasonal Clearance Sales

Season Clearance (Back to School)

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.

Target Hidden Clearance

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 more. If you spot a seasonal item mixed in with regular items, make sure to scan it at the price checker to see if it is on sale.

9.) Stop at the Dollar Spot

Target 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 just 30¢ to 50¢ each… or even less if there is an applicable coupon or Cartwheel offer that is valid on clearance items.

10.) Bring Your Own Shopping Bag

Target Reusable Bags

Bring in your own reusable bag and 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.

11.) Pay with Target Gift Cards Earned from Promos

Target gift card promotions

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 be posted inside the store but not in the circular – so be on the lookout!

Target gift card

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!

12.) Price Match Guarantee

Guest Services

Hang onto your receipts! Effective October 1st, 2015, Target just released a new price-matching policy! The biggest and most exciting change is that you can now price match a total of TWENTY-NINE online competitors listed hereincluding Amazon.com, Costco.com, and SamsClub.com, Diapers.com, SportsAuthority.com and even Ulta.com. Plus, you can price match both at your local Target store AND online at Target.com. Target is also doubling the time frame in which you can take advantage of a price match on a product – from 7 days to 14 days for products bought both in store and online.

Target price match guarantee

Click HERE to view the Target Price Match Policy. It’s also a great idea to print a copy of the policy to bring with you to the store in case the cashier/manager has any questions.

13.) 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. Plus, you may receive bonus gifts from top brands!

Target Baby Welcome Gift

Even sweeter, whenever you complete a Baby Registry, you can then head in store to score a FREE Welcome Gift – valued at $60! 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 four friends and family coupons to share.

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.

14.) Out of Stock? Get a Rain Check!

Target out of stock

If you find an item on sale that you wish to purchase but the store is out of stock, you can request a rain check. The rain check will entitle you to today’s sale price for the next 45 days and can be used at any Target store. Keep in mind that Price Cut, Temporary Price Cut, and Everyday Low Price items that are excluded from the Weekly Ad and items that state “No Rain Checks” cannot be rain-checked.

15.) 1-Year Satisfaction Guarantee on Target Owned Brand Items

Target Brands

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.

I LOVE Target!

AND, now hopefully you can see why I love Target so much! 🙂

Mary is a senior copywriter with 9+ years in frugal tips & deals. She has a Bachelors in Human Resources Interdisciplinary Studies. Connect with Mary on LinkedIn

Join The Discussion

Comments 61

  1. Irene

    Very helpful!!! I learned a lot thx to you .

    • ambership

      Awesome! You are so welcome Irene! 🙂

  2. rut

    Thanks Collin very helpful info 🙂

    • ambership

      You’re welcome 😀

  3. ys

    Useful hints n tips, thanks a ton.
    My problem is losing receipts and bcos I prefer to pay through target gift cards (rolling), I end up losing the full refund value. I like Meijer’s mperks as the app stores all our receipts

  4. growingbhoomi

    I am sure, target as store is as great. I did experience something this year with target that I was really annoyed with right after I opened red card. I shopped few gifts to send it to my niece in California, as red card gets free shipping. I was so happy. when I was entering address, autofill picked up my city Irving instead of Irvine in CA. so my address said something to deliver to Irving, CA. I noticed right next second I hit final submit and called target customer service. They said as its online target order they wont be able to change a bit of anything. either they cant cancel, update or do anything. They asked me to wait and get it delivered. Only option I was left was to update it with UPS directly and each address change charged me 15$. I sent 4 different gifts. But first when I called UPS they told me there is no order like that, something wrong with target. They keep sending me back to each other saying its other people’s mistake. By that time order delivered, no once received it or rather stranger who never returned it. And money gone. I went even in store to get help but they said they cant to anything as order delivered so cant return my money. So no gifts reached to my niece and still money is gone. Online target is the worst service when it comes to buy something. They dont have anything for customer courtesy, rather any system to facilitate add update on online orders. I ended up filing consumer reports as I was so upset. I am sorry to write this but I dont like their online ordering system at all.

    • Rac

      I am sorry about your experience…I also made similar mistake but I was able to cancel the order online using cancel order link.

      • Bhoomi

        I called them because I don’t see any link called cancel order and originally I called them to show me where I can cancel. And they said you can’t cancel!

    • Dre

      This same thing happened to me, but I called targets online customer service and they were able to easily cancel my order and re-order all in a couple minutes no problem.

      • Bhoomi

        Yes like I said, they told me there is no way I can cancel or edit update any details once I submitted. And I called them like next minute. And they said as its online we can’t go update or cancel too. Pathetic !

    • mike

      “Online target is the worst service when it comes to buy something”, might be true but Sears is worst in my recent experience. As you mentioned there’s a complete disconnect between online and store experiences. ‘They keep sending me back to each other saying its other people’s mistake’ . So true.
      I bought a craftsmen shop vac using shop at home points(30,000) that I learned of on Collins site. I purchased this product from there site, in good faith, to be delivered to my local store for pick-up–this was August 15th. Received confirmation. Later I got a pick-up notice for part of my order, a pair of socks to pad the order. The shop vac was delayed. 7 weeks later I start trying to get info on this order. My online account says this item is still processing. Locally, they are clueless. They tell me it’s only available for pick-up in a nearby city. I tell them when ordered and I received confirmation it states pick-up in my home town. They cannot arrange a transfer between stores. I contacted every link on sears site attempting to talk to corporate about this. Nothing. I filed a tracking request for my order. At 1 a.m this morning they sent an email stating item no longer available, they’ll credit my account. Not TRUE. I responded to this email with a link from their site showing this item was still available for purchase. Obviously, no communication between departments.

      Sunday morning I left a voicemail with the San Francisco corporate office (after a ridiculous google search to find a phone# ) Today is Tuesday. Nothing. What’s wrong with this company?

      Sorry growingbhoomi for making this about my issue. Yours struck a cord and I can emphasize.

      • Tatyana

        try to talk to in-store pick-up manager, they can look it up on their computer, inside their office, and tell you where your order is
        hope u can find it

      • jeannie

        You must mean “struck a chord”–no such animal as “…cord”

        • jeannie

          … and “empathize”…

          • Jo

            Oh, thank goodness you were able to correct those terrible errors!

          • Amy

            Grammar police!

        • Kelly

          What does that even mean? Yours struck a cord makes perfect sense…

    • Sks

      So you filed a consumer complaint when you made a city zip error? It wasn’t their error. ..it was an auto fill in, thus computer error and it allows you to double check before ordering. Perhaps next time allow more time to check.. and bear some of the responsibility for the error.

      • growingbhoomi

        oh sure, thanks for suggestion. I never understood that it was my mistake. But these days customer expects the system to be smart enough with the Technology we have from some big store like Target. I hope you read everything thoroughly before you make a comment. First of all as soon as I know it was my mistake, I went in on my online order to make a change before requesting them anything. As I know its human error. Have you ever tried ordering at Amazon? You can cancel, change, edit your stuff even after ordering. You dont need customer service. Also, I called them request like 5 times to make a change and also went in store to get help. When you realize that their system is so broken nobody can do nothing to make a small update, you understand that they are after your money and not worrying about customer service. Thank you for your comment, but no thank you. Some people can understand the issue only when it actually happens to them for real for some big amount. So I dont blame you for being rude here.

  5. Anna

    Snopes has debunked number 1. 🙁

    • Sarah C

      She did state “most” and check your local…I do know one of my local ones uses this schedule…can’t hurt to ask mgmt 😉

  6. jhnicole

    I love target so much too.Thank you for the reminders.

    • ambership

      You’re welcome! 🙂

  7. Just Me

    Yes 70% is the lowest except holiday. My clearance item scanned as salvage so the clerk gave me an 80% off sticker but said 70% was the lowest it goes before salvage.

  8. Just Me

    I was recently at target and asked the customer service about they one year return and she said she knew nothing about it. And I know she wasn’t new!

    • Becks

      I think it’s “going” to be new. I am a red card holder & got a mailer of info as target is changing from Visa to Master card. If you’re a card holder also, keep you eyes peeled for the same mailer. Looks like MC may have better security options. Out of all my CCs…my red card has been the most hacked one.

      • Just Me

        It was a hip post back in March. 1 clerk did know when I asked a long time ago. Last week when I was going to ask what I needed ( I normally don’t keep my receipts) she was polite but stated she didn’t know what I was talking about. I think the 1st clerk was a manager

  9. Just Me

    Has anyone used the 1 yr return?

    • Mel M

      I am going to try it tonight on some shoes we got for my daughter. I had no idea about this guarantee in target owned brands.

  10. Debbie

    Great tips! Thanks!!

    • ambership

      YW! 😀

  11. Sarah C

    Nice write up Collin! I love when you do articles like these! You listed most of the reasons why I have been a weekly 🎯 shopper. I esp love gc deals that have tc, TQ and MQ together 😃
    I did not know about the 1 yr deal…good to know.

  12. Ashley

    I love shopping at Target. To be certain I am prepared at checkout I take a screen shot of my cartwheel and mobile coupon bar codes before getting to the register. This way I don’t have to worry about any technical issues.

    • ambership

      Great tip Ashley! 😉

  13. Christie

    I am confused and riding the short bus today…Are you saying you can NOT get a rain check on the sale ad items that come out on Sunday? Thanks Collin! Have a super day! 😀

    • Maria

      As a parent of a child who “rides a short bus” I found your comment very insensitive and negative way instead of just saying you did not understand.

      • Christie

        Maria I am sorry you think I was being rude that was not my intent at all! I am disabled (bedridden except dr appts) and have massive brain damage myself and I try to laugh at myself as a coping mechanism by not taking my life so seriously. Please do not judge my heart when you have no idea the existence I struggle to “live” everyday. Tears rolling down my face…

        • Just Me

          My dad drove a short bus. I rode it sometimes since it was better than standing in the rain waiting for the city bus

  14. Ro

    Federal way, WA Target customer service told me they no longer issue rain checks

    • Christie

      I didn’t think they issued rain checks either…Can someone please verify and confirm? Thank you kindly! 😀

    • mike

      Check your local attorney generals office or consumer affairs…these rules vary by state.

  15. Cindy

    My store in Atlanta does not give rainchecks for anything any more. They said Managers are empowered to make substitutions instead. Doesn’t help if you are using coupons or trying for a gift card deal/

    • ambership

      Bummer 🙁

  16. Len

    Awesome & very helpful tips. This is why i love Hip2save! Thank you, Collin.

    • ambership

      You are so welcome Len!

  17. Dianne

    When I am in Arizona, the closest next Target is 100+ miles away but…when I tried to get a rain check they could not give me one because the item was available in Las Vegas 100+ miles away and she said that there was nothing else she cold do about it and since the rain check would be computer generated and technically the item was available at the “closest” Target store (again 100+ miles away) she couldn’t give me a rain check. Any way to get around that problem? In anybody’s experience?

    • mel

      That does not make ANY sense! I have several Target stores and if the store I’m shopping at is OOS, they issue a RC, regardless if another store has stock. I would ask for a manager. The few times I’ve gotten a RC, the screen just prompts to let the cashier alert the customer that it is available at another store, but they bypass that to print the slip.

  18. Tif26ma

    Collin…as a fellow lover of target, I thought I knew all the insides…you have proven me wrong😊 thanks for your tips and I appreciate all you and your team do! You guys rock!

  19. Terry

    Collin is standing on top of the shopping carts!!!!! Wow!!!

  20. Brooke

    The 1 year return for Target brand stuff is great in theory, but they can’t look up the price with your credit card past the normal 90 return window, so you need to save your receipts.

  21. Sarah

    nice, i learned some new tips! also, you can earn gift cards on different sites like swagbucks or my favorite is instaGC (instant gift card), they have target too. 🙂


  22. Lucy

    What day of the week does Target restock their toy section?

  23. Marie

    I use a Target in Arkansas and they said they no longer issue rain checks. I also checked with my friend who is a manager at my previous stomping grounds in Jville, NC, and she said they no longer give out rain checks, as well.

  24. Sue Lattuca

    NEVER EVER encourage anyone to use target registry. I tried to return things purchased off of my registry a few months after my wedding and although they showed up as ‘purchased’ on my registry they would only let me return the items for the lowest clearance price! I was livid and after a google search realized target registries are awful, stay away from that and just shop the clearance 🙂

  25. Laura

    I’ve found using the Wallet (previously Passbook) app on my I-phone very helpful when it comes to checking out at Target. You can load the various Target coupons as well as the Cartwheel and other store cards. Just tap on the one you want to use. Also, remember to use the scanner on Cartwheel. I’ve scanned items in my cart I wasn’t originally planning to buy before I went to the store, only to discover there was a Cartwheel offer. And, it’s so much easier than trying to scroll through the listings on the app.

  26. Kylee

    Target actually doesn’t do rain checks anymore. I was just there this past week, and they didn’t have something in stock that was on sale, and they told us that when we come back and it’s back in stock, just to bring it up to the service desk and they would adjust the price. It really makes no sense to me, and I wonder if it was just laziness on the associate’s part, or if that’s actually their new policy.

  27. patti l

    We don’t have a local Target store so I shop online. I ordered a Power Wheels 4-wheeler for $237 after reading this the next day I called them up and they price matched it over the phone to Walmart.com for $196. All together I was refunded $45.32 and all it took was a phone call!

  28. Melissa

    Where can I find these return policies? I read all of the questions and answers regarding the return policies on the Target website, and I cannot find anything about a one year return window for Target owned products. I just like to have “my ducks in a row” when I get that customer service person who has no clue what I am talking about…sigh…

  29. Ruth

    I was unable to stack a manufacturer coupon of $5 with a printed target coupon for $5 to buy a 20 pack of Playdough for $4,99 instead of the advertised $14.99. I have stacked Cartwheel/Target Coupons(mobile or printed) and manufacturer coupons before and never had a problem. When I reminded the cashier of this I was told that the Target coupon was out of date – it was not. When I asked at customer service about this, I was told that the Target coupon was not usable with the maunufacturer coupon. When I showed them their printed policy on savings using coupons, they told me this was no longer corporate policy. Target in Ballwin, MO.

  30. Chris

    I live at target. Always out of something!

  31. Katie

    Does anyone know using red card debit will waive handling fee for furniture?

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