FYI- This is awfully lengthy, yet equally parts informative. Grab a drink & go to the bathroom before you dive in.
I know we are all great supporters of Target & will always have big places in our hearts for them. I dare to believe the Target love will never die. It’s not simply a fad, but a certain way of life. It’s like a super classy version of Walmart, or an affordable department store which also happens to sell food, cleaning products, toiletries & pet supplies. What’s not to love about designer collabs at acquirable prices!?
If loving Target is wrong y’all, I don’t wanna be right!
Now I am well aware that there are several articles tackling the subject of Target shopping out there. Bless them, but this one if the beef. I’ve combined everything I’ve gleaned from all of those articles to create one lofty blog post. Mix in some of my own personal experiences & Target shopping (so many years together!) & we’ve got it- Mastering the Art of Target Shopping!
1- This is most the obvious one, Use Manufacturer Coupons. These are the coupons that manufacturers send out via newspaper & mailers. Of course, you can print them online too at places like coupons.com. If you’re looking for a specific product coupon you can always checkout their websites or Facebook pages for printable coupons. On top of that there are occassionally peelies & hangtags on products in the store.
If you’re feeling really adventurous you can email the brands that you love telling them how much you enjoy their product & oftentimes they will send you back high dollar coupons or coupons for free items. Most sites have a ‘contact us’ button where you can leave these messages. Just be sure to leave your mailing address & feel free to mention how you would love some coupons. Most companies allow you to do this once every 6 months. When I was really into couponing in college I actually made a spreadsheet of the brands I contacted & included the date. If I got something back I kept track of when/what so I knew if I needed to try again after 6 months or not. This is a great tip for those brands you can’t give up, but can never find coupons for!
2- Target coupons– Many stores offer their own coupons that they allow you to use alongside manufacturer coupons. Target is great at doing this for their customers. When you use 1 manufacturer coupon & 1 store coupon on the same item, you are stacking. The coupon will actually say either “store coupon” or “manufacturer coupon” somewhere on it. That’s how you can tell.
There a couple of ways to find these specific Target store coupons that can be combined with manufacturer coupons. In the weekly coupon mailers that come in the newspaper you can usually find a few Target specific coupons for clipping. Another way is their online site, they have a whole section for printing coupons. Now, some of those printable coupons are manufacturer & some are store coupons. Unfortunately, you don’t know which is which until it’s actually printed out.
Target also sends out specific mailers at Christmastime & back to school time full of store coupons. They may do this at other times too, these are just the ones I currently receive. Every once in a blue moon they will have coupon packets at the customer service area as well. It never hurts to check! When you create a registry, for baby wedding etc, they will also mail you coupons to use on anything on your registry that hasn’t been purchased. They usually last for at least 6 months & you’ll receive 2 rounds of them. These are great to use online with other code offers because they can be combined. If you decide you want something not on your registry, you can always add it on before using the coupon.
Sometimes they have store specific hangtags/peelies as well. Lastly, there are Target mobile coupons that are received every few weeks via text message. You can sign up here to receive them or text OFFERS to 827438. There are general coupon texts as well as baby specific texts. To receive the baby coupons text BABY to 827438. There are also special code words sometimes that you can text to Target for extra mobile coupons. There are usually signs up in the store near the specific product that will direct you to the code word to text. This used to be one of my favorite ways to save at Target, but they don’t offer nearly as many coupons anymore & I rarely get one I’ll actually use. However, if you have an infant the baby specific ones will probably help you out quite a bit.
3- Shop Target Clearance! Yet another reason Target is my absolute favorite is their clearance! Everything is bound to go on clearance at some point or another to make room for new product. I’m sure you’ve seen their super secret markdown schedule by now, but here’s a quick picture just in case.
Thanks to momasaurus.com!
I don’t know how strict each store is with this system, this is just what everyone seems to believe they do. So why not use the schedule to our advantage!
The most obvious places to look for Target clearance is the endcaps. There is typically one clearance endcap in every department, if not more. This is even true for the grocery/cleaning supply areas. In the clothing sections, all the clearanced clothing is gathered on racks at the back of the section marked with 30-70% signs. Lately, all of the women’s/junior’s clearance seems to be gathered in the maternity section.
This does not mean there are not clearance items stocked on regular shelves. They’re there too. If you want to get the most out of your Target trips, you’re going to have to walk up & down each aisle looking for those red stickers.
Target does one-time collaborations with super awesome designers each season. At the end of the season, those items have to be cleared out & therefore get marked down to major clearance. So keep an eye out for those items too.
There is nothing better than shopping holiday clearance at Target. The day after all the major holidays- Christmas, Valentine’s, Easter, Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. seasonal items (including food) are immediately marked down. Food items usually go to 30>50>70 while everything else goes 50>70>90 over a period of a week or so. This includes clothing items & socks too! They are not always marked, just price check to see.
When online items are returned to the store that they do not carry in store, they are always marked down & added to those clearance endcaps for a quick sale. I’ve scored lots of great items this way. This is a great way to score some cheap furniture pieces!
4- Cartwheel App- if you don’t have this already you’re basically wasting every Target experience you’ve ever had. Stop reading this & download it now, like right now! Search cartwheel in the app store. It’s totally free.
You can use the savings found in cartwheel on top of your manufacturer coupon & store coupon. That’s stacking 3 coupons on 1 item! This is when the bullseye aligns y’all.
All you have to do is open the app then click the search button. It gives you the option to scan the barcode using your phone’s camera. Scan everything in your cart & it will tell you if there’s an offer for that item. The savings are anywhere from 5% to 70%, but mainly in the 5%-20% range. If an offer comes up, select to add it to your barcode. If there’s no offer available it may show you an offer available on a similar product & you can switch brands if you want. All of your offers are bundled together in your barcode. Just show the barcode to the cashier after everything is rang up & the discounts will be applied.
**Tip- Screenshot the barcode before you head to checkout incase you can’t get the page up quick enough. You can do this with your mobile coupons too!
5- Price Cuts/Online Deals– Like any other super store, Target offers price cuts on items in their weekly ad. There are surprises sometimes too that aren’t in the ad. Always keep your eyes open! A lot of times, they’ll be 2 for whatever & you only have to buy 1 to get that price. Be sure to read the sign!
They have super awesome online deals too. You can find discount codes for home goods, clothing, linens, etc. depending on the current promotion. If you’re going for a larger purchase like this, check online before buying in store to be sure there’s not an online-only promo happening.
Of course, you can use all your coupons on top of these!
6- Discounted Gift Cards/Gift Card Exchange Program– Did you know you can buy gift cards online at a discounted price? You totally can on sites like Raise.com. You can get them for up to 20% off, so much savings y’all! They have lots of other stores gift cards there too. If you’re already putting your money there, you might as well buy the gift card at a discounted price. You can get it on your phone or in your email for printing within 24 hours. It can mailed to you as well, but that takes a bit longer.
Target also runs a gift card exchange program that they launched around the holidays where you can trade in your unwanted gift cards for Target gift cards! Woohoo! They are not traded for equal amounts though, you’ll have to give up about 15% & you must have at least $20 on the card to trade ’em out. You can do this at the phone counter in electronics.
**I am unsure as to whether Target continues this program year-round or just after the holidays. Call your store first to be sure they are participating!
7- Price Match– Target lets you price match to select online retailers or local ads. You may have to pay full price for said item(s) then take yourself to the guest counter for a price adjustment, depending on the cashier. You must show proof of price on your phone or in the printed ad. Price matching does not apply during the Black Friday & Cyber Monday sales. In my personal experience, I have also been told that they do not price match to any dollar stores. That is not stated on their website, but particular managers seem to enforce their own preferences. If you are price matching an item, you may only use a manufacturer coupon on the item. No other store discounts are allowed after that.
8- Red Card (Debit)– Everyone who shops at Target need to get their Target red card, the debit version. You will always receive 5% off of every purchase when you use it + free shipping online! There is no catch with the debit card. Simply apply in store or online then wait for your card to show up! Instead of using your regular debit card at checkout, use the Target one & save 5%. That 5% can add up quickly y’all! It even shows you how much you’ve saved so far this year at the bottom of your receipt. The only thing I have noticed about it is that the money does not get taken out right away. It usually takes a day or 2 for it to go through. Be aware of that when you are checking your account balance!
9- Use Their Pharmacy– Unfortunately, Target’s pharmacy rewards program just ended this past month when they teamed up with CVS. So sad about that! But, my generic prescriptions are still only $9! Target pharmacies offer amazing prices on your prescriptions y’all! They have a $9 deal on majority of generics. Check it out!
10- Reusable Bags– Target pays you $.05 for each reusable bag you use on your trips. They don’t even have to be Target bags! You can use any shopping bags you have & you’ll receive $.05 off your purchase per bag. If your only buying an item or 2 & opt for no bag at all, they’ll give you $.05 for that too. Sometimes, you do have to remind the cashier, but they seem to be on their game for the most part. I keep mine in the car so I won’t forget them. Except I still forget them. Lol, am I the only one?
11- #TargetClearance #TargetCouponing– Get on Instagram to find super secret Target deals. Apparently there’s these crazy awesome people who like to scan every single item in the entire store on the price checker looking for unmarked deals. They share their finds on Instagram & use the hashtags #TargetClearance & #TargetCouponing. While you’re at the store take just a minute to check Instagram & make sure you’re not missing any of those amazing, unmarked steals. I’ve scored some incredibly cheap things thanks to these, like furniture at 90% off because it was included in holiday merchandise. When in doubt, price check!
12- Deal Sites– Couponing is so easy these days because someone does all the hard work for you. It’s as easy as checking social media. There are countless sites that put together the best deals & tell you you exactly what you need to buy right now while it’s at it’s lowest price. The biggest of these is the Krazy Coupon Lady. Every store known to man is one their & they let you checkmark items you want to purchase & create a printable list for you! Just select Target from their list of stores & browse the latest coupon deals. There are plenty of similar sites dedicated to Target solely like Totally Target, All Things Target & Target Fanatic.
13- Shopkick– If you’re not shopkick already, you are missing out friend! Go sign up right here!! Download it in the app store & start earning “kicks” for just walking into your fave stores like Target! You can get kicks for scanning certain products with your phone in the store as well. If you link up your debit/credit cards you can receive kicks for purchases too. Plus if you buy particular items on promo, you can get even more kicks for scanning in your receipt. What’s super awesome is that all these kicks you save up are rewarded with gift cards you can use on the spot. You only need 500 kicks to download a $2.50 Target gift card & it only goes up from there. Once you have enough kicks, just go to the redeem them in the app, select the Target gift card option & a barcode will appear with your gift card in it! Let the cashier scan your barcode when you checkout & the amount is applied. Such an easy way to get free gift cards!
14- Rebate Apps– Make the absolute most of your money by saving that receipt & using it in to get cash back for your purchases. A friends just got me into these & I am totally loving it! Receipt Hog lets you scan in all of your receipts & grants you points in return. Once you get to 1000 points you can redeem for Pay Pal cash or Amazon gift cards! Download it from the app store. If you do this right away once you get into your car, it’s a quick habit to start. Receipt Pal is similar app that lets you scan receipts too.
There also more specific rebate apps, like Ibotta & Checkout 51. Download these apps & scan receipts for select items purchased & get cash back! These can vary from things like any gallon of milk at any store to extreme brand specifics.
15- Free Target Wifi! Okay, almost every tip I’ve shared so far uses your phone in some way or another. Sooooo, don’t waste your precious, hard-earned data! Turn that wifi on & connect to Target’s free in-store wifi while you’re there! You’re Welcome!
16- Rain Check It Y’all– Because some of those crazy couponers will get to Target at the crack of dawn & clear the shelves on the deal you really really wanted, you can get a rain-check. When there is a price-cut happening on a product that Target regular carries, but you can’t seem to find any in stock, Target will give you a rain-check on the price. Just be sure to redeem the rain-check before your coupons expire! They will not offer rain-checks on things like seasonal/holiday & other items that they do not stock regularly. Think food/toiletries/cleaning.
17- Price Adjustment– Don’t you hate buying something just to see it go on sale for half off the next day? It literally kills me guys. Okay not literally, figuratively. It makes my insides so sad. So guess what Target did about that? They decided to offer price adjustments for 14 days after your purchase is made. Say what! I know right, totally amazing. Just bring your receipt up to guest services in that 2 week time period & they’ll credit it back to your account.
18- One Spot/Bullseye’s Playground– This tiny, little corner in the front of the store was the best thing Target ever did. I’m certain everyone of you agrees. You can buy all kinds of goodies in here for $1, $3 & $5. It changes up seasonally & so do the products. That means sales! Most items have some kind of colored shape on the backside right by the price. They are usually grouped this way for sales. For example, all the yellow star items will be 50%, all the black circle items will be 70%, or all the green square items will 90%, etc. This happens when new items hit the One Spot. The old items must be cleared out quick & you end up paying $.10, $.30, 0r $.50 for an item. This the perfect time to stock up on holiday fillers, candy, stationary, small decor pieces, dishes, gift wrap, pens & pencils, travel items, stocking stuffers, party favors, Easter basket treats, etc. Be sure to check out this area post-holiday too.
19- Free Item with Purchase– Another fun deal Target often runs are free with purchase incentives. These range from free pack of wipes when you buy a pack of diapers to free Powerade when you buy 2 cases of water to free mascara when you buy 2 packs of razors. These are always advertised in their weekly ads. Plus, you can use all of your coupon stackings on top of all of this, even on the free item!
20- Free Gift Cards– Target will offer new gift card deals every week, usually on cleaning products & toiletries. You will buy 2 or 3 of a particular item & receive a $5 gift card at checkout. While you cannot use that gift card on that purchase, you can separate your items into multiple transactions & roll the gift card onto the next purchase. When there’s a really good deal, people will do the deal several times in multiple transactions & keep on rolling the gift cards. This results in extremely low prices/possible free products. Other people do these deals all year long & save up their gift cards for black Friday shopping. They also offer these deals online & sometimes two different gift card deals will accidentally overlap & you’ll be able to workout a deal getting 2 gift cards in the same products. Again, you can stack all of your coupons on top of these deals/gift cards for maximum savings.
21- Catalinas– These are bonus coupons Target’s machine prints out for you when you checkout. The machine spits them right out with your receipt. Buying certain items will trigger certain coupons & you can redeem them on your next purchase or roll catalinas on multiple transactions in the same style as the gift cards. I think using your red card prompts these catalinas too, because sometimes I’ll buy 1 item & end up with 4 or 5 different catalinas. These can be for anything & everything as well as store coupons or manufacturer coupons.
22- Goodwill? Yes, Goodwill. Were you eying a seasonal clearance item & decided to go back for it the next day only to see all of the seasonal clearance was removed? This is what Target calls “salvage.” At some point Target realizes they aren’t going to make much more off the seasonal product & need to use the room for new stock. So all the old items go to salvage & eventually make to it your local Goodwill. It’s rumored that this stuff tends to hit Goodwill shelves the first week of the month. It’s also rumored that they sometimes hold onto stuff & don’t put it out until the season comes back around the next year. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to search your Goodwill for Target clearance tags!
23- Shop Online Clearance– Target has an entire tab of dedicated to clearance items in different categories online. While you may not necessarily be able to find items marked down to 90% off, they do go up to 60% off. They oftentimes have things not seen in your store too. So it’s totally worth checking out. Or if you were waiting for an item to go on sale, but they sold out, head to the online clearance!
24- Target Sample Spot– Every week or so, Target will post new product samples here that will be shipped to you for free! Sometimes they’ll have entire beauty kits full of free samples too! They do go super super quick, so you’ll have to be on your game. The deal sites I mentioned above will alert you when samples go up as well.
25- Scan Scan Scan! When in doubt, price check it! You never know if something’s mismarked. It happens more often than not. Countless times I’ve scanned a red tag item hoping for it to be even more discounted & it has been. You never know! Scan the unmarked items too, especially after holidays. All kinds of thing go on sale!
If you’ve made it through this entire thing, you deserve a million Target gift cards! I’m so proud & I genuinely hope you learned something here.
What are your Target shopping tips?
PS-Linking up at some of my fave places, check ’em out!