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12 Ways To Be a Smart Target Shopper

dtran5 profile picture
April 06, 2016 · 19.7k Views


If you're like me, you love Target, but you'd love it even more if you could save a few bucks, am I right? 

We've already shared a ton of great tips and tricks for Target lovers in a previous post, but yes, there are more. Check out these ways to shop smarter at Target!

1. Know the Target markdown schedule.

Most Target stores follow a schedule that features certain products that are marked down during specific days. Christy Palmer of the blog All Things Target shared the schedule most Targets follow (keep in mind that this may vary by store): 

Moreover, since Target releases their weekly ads on Sunday and sales run Sunday through Saturday, it's best to shop early in the week if you can. Especially with popular items, your best bet is to shop early in the week to make sure you snag your deal.

2. With that being said, if you missed the sale, get a rain check.

If the shelf has been depleted of a particular sale item, ask for a rain check. Occasionally you'll find a tear pad on an empty shelf, so simply tear a sheet, bring it to the cashier, and let them know how many of that item you would like to purchase. If there is no tear pad, take a picture of the price tag with the SKU number or write it down, then bring it to the cashier to have him/her look it up. With a rain check, you have 45 days to purchase the item at the sale price, but note that this option is not available for all products. 

Some rain checks qualify for a substitute item - it will say "Choose a substitute." This option allows you to take a substitute of the sold-out sale item to the cashier for him/her to check if your item qualifies for a substitution. This may vary depending on the store, but best case scenario lands you with an item you may have preferred at a reduced price!

3. Take advantage of Target's price adjustments.

Have you ever bought something you've really wanted and then discovered that it went on sale the next day? That's basically the story of my life (I guess I'm super unlucky). However, Target will refund you the difference between what you paid and the sale price as long as it goes on sale the week of or the week after you bought it. Make sure you have your receipt, though!

4. Shop wall-facing endcaps.

Endcaps are the shelves at the ends of the aisles that are packed with amazing deals that are a budget shopper's paradise. Most of these items are marked with a bright red clearance tag and marked down 15% to 70% off. 

5. Understand the clearance code.

First, items are marked down 15%, then 30%, then 50%, and finally, 70%. If you shop holiday or seasonal merchandise, you may find savings of up to 90% off. More with Less Today wrote, "If the price ends in “8,” it will be marked down again. If it ends in “4,” it is the lowest [price] it will be." For example, if you see an item with a red clearance tagged that is $4.98, you have a chance of it dropping lower, for instance, to $2.54. Hurry before they disappear!

6. Use cash-back apps.

Download free apps like Ibotta, Ebates, and Checkout 51 for cash back on select items you buy at Target and other participating stores. The requirements to get money back vary with each app, but who's complaining when you get money back either way? You might not save at Target upfront, but it's always nice to get a little money back later!

7. Buy discounted gift cards to make Target purchases.

When you buy gift cards at a reduced price, you're getting more bang for your buck. Use them with coupons and sales and save even more! Sites like Cardpool, Raise, and Gift Card Granny offer gift cards at a discount to your favorite stores. If you were given gift cards to stores you don't want, some sites also let you sell your unused or partially used gift cards for cash!

8. Shop at the dollar spot at the front of every Target.

Have you ever stopped by the front section of Target where they sell a ton of simple knick knacks (usually snacks, seasonal goods, office supplies, and small toys) for super cheap? Some items are as cheap as $1 and the most "expensive" goods are only $3 to $5. It's a great, inexpensive way to find fillers for goody bags, party favors, or home decor. 

9. Go green! Bring your own reusable bag and save.

For every reusable bag you bring to hold your goods, Target will credit you 5 cents at checkout. It's not a lot, but everything adds up. Also, it's a good habit to get into - we need to save the environment! Learn more about Target's mission here.

10. Join Target's Prescription Savings Program.

Once you join this program, you can save 10% to 50% off the retail price of your prescriptions. You can use one card for the entire family and there are no limitations. Best of all, it's stackable, so yes - you can use it with your Target Red Card and save another 5%!

11. Follow @Target on Twitter.

If you're always on social media, this might be a good way to stay up-to-date on the latest Target deals. They might not share all of their sales, but they do tweet about the biggest and most popular deals and occasionally share some cool collaborations. Just pay attention and you might encounter deals on new arrivals or free shipping windows!

12. Experience free family fun courtesy of Target.

Okay, this may not be a way to save money at Target, but it's a fantastic way to save money on activities your family can enjoy together (and use the saved money to make smart purchases at Target!). Target sponsors and shares free and reduced-price events in cities across the nation. Check out the happenings in your area here.


Even with all these great tips and tricks, you'll always have DealsPlus and the DealsPlus app to help you find all the best Target coupons and deals!


dtran5 profile picture
Daisy loves to write with humor and can be quite the sarcastic commentator when it is appropriate. Loves carbs, fashion, staying active, and pinning the latest DIY projects for her room (which she will actually never do).
Lauril25Nov 01, 2016
I actually support charities but find it irritating to be bombarded by bell ringers in the door way and entrance of every place I shop. Go Target! And I know I am not alone.
mattie203Apr 16, 2016
Valspar coupons
jason336Apr 11, 2016
I do not support Target in any way. When they don't allow the Salvation Army buckets at Christmas to help the needy in our or any community and support LGB,they don't need me.They have made their choice I have to make mine. This is not political, but at the heart of my beliefs. Have a great day.
scorpion650Apr 08, 2016
Thanks for sharing! Informative!
dtran5Apr 19, 2016
you're welcome!
bank2424Apr 08, 2016
Thank you for the tips! I need buy the NIVEA CREME 13.5oz. Dimitri Wheeling, IL60090
dtran5Apr 19, 2016
no problem! hope you found it helpful :)

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