How to Shop at Target Without Breaking the Bank

A car is parked in the front of a Target retail store. (Photo via Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images).

We all know how dangerous it is to shop at Target, especially by yourself. You go there to purchase some new curtains for your guest room and come out with two carts filled to the brim with clothes you swear you’ll wear (you won’t) and other cute knickknacks that you just HAD to have. Now your spouse won’t let you go back into Target unsupervised so what are you going to do? Well, check out these ways to save money while shopping there before you get banished forever.

Shop on Certain Days

Most Target locations mark all of their items down on a certain day of the week and below you will find a list of those items and the day they’ll get marked down. As a former employee, I would suggest you do your shopping as early as possible on the day that the items you’re looking for get clearanced.

Monday: Accessories, baby, books, electronics, kids’ clothing, and stationary
Tuesday: Domestic goods, market (food items), pets, and women’s clothing
Wednesday: Diapers, furniture, health & beauty, lawn & garden, and men’s clothing
Thursday: Décor, houseware, lingerie, luggage, shoes, sporting goods, and toys
Friday: Auto, cosmetics, hardware, and jewelry

Price Adjustments

Most of the time, if you buy an item from Target and you see that item go on sale, if you take it to the store you can get reimbursed the difference between what you paid and the sale price so long as the item went on sale within 14 days of the purchase date. Take the item and the receipt to the guest service desk and they will help you. Be sure to check your local Target’s policy on price adjustments before heading to the store because some exclusions may apply.

The Cartwheel App is now located inside the Target app Photo Credit: Target

Cartwheel

Think of Cartwheel as your magical savings genie. It’s an app that allows you to add coupons to your account. When you’re ready to check out, the cashier will scan the barcode from your phone and you’ll see the price decrease instantly. No more tireless searching of the internet for coupons. Now you can find Cartwheel inside the Target app so you can shop and save with the convenience of just one app.

Price Match

Like a lot of other retail stores, Target is one that honors the price match guarantee. In other words, if you find something cheaper on Amazon than at Target, Target will honor the price that Amazon has the item listed for. There are obviously some restrictions but generally Target will match the lower price from select online and even local retailers.

Clearance

As you probably know, the wall-facing end caps are the place to look for clearance items. They will be marked down in red or yellow stickers. If you look at the sticker, you will see a small number in the top right-hand corner of the tag. Items get marked down by 15, 30, 50, and 70% so the number in the corner will tell you how much the item has been marked down. However, since clearance goes fast, it’s never a bad idea to search the “online clearance racks” on the Target app. You will find a much bigger selection online than you will in stores anyway. The app and website are both much more organized than the clearance racks in stores and you also won’t have to deal with any people. It’s truly a win/win situation.

Specials

Target puts out newspaper inserts for specials happening on Sundays. To beat the rush and to make sure you can actually get said items on sale, you should shop early in the week. This will ensure (if you’re lucky) that the items will still be in stock. It’s never bad to call and check before making a trip also.

If you do not get the newspaper, Target also has a weekly ad that you can find online at Target.com or on the app. You will find pages and pages of deals depending on the day.

Coupons

One of the coolest (and sometimes annoying) things about Target is that they allow you to stack coupons. If you have more than one coupon for a single item, you don’t have to worry. At Target, your multiple coupons will be honored. Don’t worry about handing the cashier a manufacturer’s coupon, a Target coupon, and a Cartwheel discount for your laundry detergent. That stuff is super expensive and I hear it’s pretty cool to save money.

Target Debit REDcard Photo Credit: Target

REDcard

A Target REDcard will offer you 5% savings at the register (and online) every day. Not only that but if you pay with your REDcard online, you automatically get 5% off your order and an extra 30 days to return unwanted items. There are now two options for REDcard owners – a credit and a debit card that attaches to your bank account.

Cash-Back Apps/Websites

You can sign up for different apps and websites that will help you save even more money while you shop. Some great examples that I have personally used are Honey (browser extension), Ibotta, and Ebates. With these resources, you can either get cash back (Ibotta and Ebates) for your purchases or with Honey, you will have access tons of coupons for you to use (only one per order) to help save you more money. Note: With Honey, you have to be using a desktop computer with the extension added to your browser. It will not work on a phone since there’s no app.

Free Gift Card Promotions

Yeah, you heard me. Sometimes Target will offer a gift card when you buy a certain number of specific products. For example, you might get a $5 gift card when you buy three bottles of a brand name hair product. If you see that sign, you might as well go for it. Chances are if you’re buying 3 bottles of shampoo, they will get used eventually (or so we hope).

Reusable Bags

Target will offer you a whopping 5-cent discount for every reusable bag you bring in. It’s not much but 5 cents is 5 cents and you’re helping to make the earth a little greener. Plus, that 5 cents can really add up especially on big shopping trips.

My biggest problem with Target is that I don’t know when enough is enough. If I make a trip out to the store, I strategically browse every aisle and try to find a logical reason to actually buy something I find. Spoiler alert: I almost always rationalize each item. Shopping online is even worse! Now that I have my Target REDcard, I have been spending more time and money browsing through Target’s website and app. I will need one thing but I’ll see a sale for something I don’t really need but still buy since it was on sale. You never know when you’re going to need a new floor mat and shower curtain, right? If you are any bit as obsessed with Target as I am, I hope you use these tips in the future especially for the sake of your wallet. Be sure to share with all of your Target-loving friends and family and help them save money as the holidays are quickly approaching.

About Taylor Huggins 52 Articles
Taylor Huggins works in the media department of EF Hutton where she is a front-end developer, graphic designer, and freelance writer. She has been a freelance photographer for over four years and runs her own small business where she books photo sessions and commissions graphics for people. Taylor loves to go adventures and spend time with her family.

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