Target has won millions of fans nationwide with its wide variety of merchandise, great style for cheap and in-house Starbucks to fuel a shopping trip. But we all know how it goes: you go in for soap, and you come out $200 later. It’s time to get smart about Target shopping. Learn how to save money at Target with these top insider tips to score you all the best deals.
Check out the end caps
A quick and easy way to identify what’s on sale is to scan the end caps (particularly the wall-facing ones, not the ones that face the main aisles) for deals. Here’s where markdowns and clearance items are often housed, whether you’re shopping for general items or in the grocery sections. Shop here first to see if you can find what you need on clearance.
Know the markdown schedule
Target follows a schedule for marking items down weekly. By shopping on the day of or after the department’s markdown, you’ll score the best access to clearance deals. Market (groceries) is marked down on Tuesdays. All Things Target shares the full markdown schedule.
Holidays are another excellent time to save at Target. According to All Things Target, holiday clearance typically starts at 50% the day after the holiday (less for food/candy items), moves to 70% a week after and hits 90% off just a few days later.
Understand how to read a clearance tag. (Yes, groceries go on clearance, too!)
Clearance tags at Target tell a story, as do the prices. It’s commonly known that prices ending in $.04 typically are in final markdown phase (where $.06 and $.08 will see another price drop). If there’s an item you want, but don’t need, combine your knowledge of the markdown schedule with the clearance price to target the best time to buy (assuming it’s still there!). To figure out exactly how much an item is discounted, check out the number in the top right corner; that’s code for the percentage off the original price.
Price match in-store
Most people know about Target’s price match guarantee, which allows you to bring an item back for a discount within 14 days of buying it if you find it cheaper elsewhere – online or in a local store. But did you know you can price match while you’re in the store? Simply showing the price on your phone will allow Target to match it, saving you a trip back.
Download the right apps to get this done. The Amazon app helps you to check online prices on items. OurCart can help you with instant price comparisons at local stores, showing you data about what’s on sale and listed in sale flyers for local stores near you.
Sign up for a RED card to get cash back
New credit cards are rarely a good idea, but Target’s store card is widely hailed as an excellent option–particularly for those prone to Target shopping sprees. The card gives you 5% cash back on Target purchases (essentially a 5% discount on everything in the store, assuming you pay it off each month) and a few other perks like an extra 30 days to return items.
Get mobile coupons on your way to the store
We know – who has time for combing through coupons? But Target puts out their own, and they’re available both live in-store in their Cartwheel app and via texting COUPONS to 827438 (TARGET). Different coupons live in each place, and texting for mobile coupons gets you a quick list of what’s available on sale with a coupon that day, so it’s definitely worth doing as you set out to the store.
Pro tip: if you are a couponer, Target is widely lauded for coupon stacking. You can stack mobile coupons atop Cartwheel coupons atop manufacturer’s coupons for major savings, if you’re so inclined.
Shop early in the week for hot items on sale
Target’s sales typically run Sunday through Saturday, so if you see a hot item on sale, shop early for maximum availability.
…and know the rain check policy
But it if you miss the sale, know that Target allows the use of rain checks. Simply visit the customer service desk to get a rain check for the item, and once it’s in stock again, you’ll be able to snag it at the sale price for a limited time.
Hit up the Bullseye’s Playground
Towards the front of every store, you’ll find Bullseye’s Playground, a mish-mash of items usually priced between $1 and $5. Buyer beware: this is a great way to add non-essentials to your list. But, if you’re looking for seasonal items, party ware or kids’ items, you can find a lot of good buys in Bullseye’s Playground. Consider hitting it first to use your finds to plan out the rest of your trip instead of being sucked into impulse buys.
Stick to your list
All the shopping tips in the world won’t help if you just buy all. the. things. Just like anywhere else, make a list and stick to it, whether that’s for groceries or other items. OurCart’s smart grocery list app can help you pull together your Target Market list quickly based on what you’ve bought before (at Target and elsewhere) and ensures you never forget paper lists at home. It also provides you with a way to quickly comparison shop other sale prices before you get to the store, or even while you’re there.
Need help saving money at Target? Download OurCart: The easiest way to way to create a shopping list, compare prices, and save on groceries. Every time you shop.
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