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How to Save Money at Target: Tips and Ways to Save

Updated on September 5, 2016
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Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.

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Target is a great place to stock up on everything from groceries to beauty products to clothing. College students to families with three children to older couples don't have trouble making a weekly or monthly trip to Target to buy essential items and a few indulgences. If Target is a regular destination for you, why not take a few simple steps to save a little extra money during your shopping trips? Even if you aren't interested in couponing or anything extreme, it isn't hard to start saving a few bucks. Take one or more of the following tips, and you'll be shaving noticeable savings off of each receipt in no time.

[I personally verified all of the information in this article in late December 2013. Please note that it is subject to change at any time without notice.]

How can you save money at Target?

 
Popular Options
 
REDCard
Pharmacy Rewards
Cartwheel App
Weekly Ad
Coupons
Price Matching
Learning the Markdown Schedule
Clearance
Comparing In Store and Online Prices
 
Repackaged Items / Online Returns
 

How to SAVE MONEY at TARGET

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REDCard members also get access to exclusive Target offers!

REDCard

Target REDcard Debit and REDcard Credit both give you 5% savings on every Target purchase. The application process is simple and straightforward. Once you are approved, you receive a card in the mail in 7-10 business days. As soon as you have activated your card, you can start saving.

In addition to the 5% savings in store AND at target.com, REDcards come with the following benefits:

  • Free shipping at target.com with no minimum purchase or membership fee
  • 30 extra days for returning items
  • 1% donation of purchases to the eligible K-12 school of your choosing

Selecting a RedCard...what are the differences?

RedCard Debit
RedCard Credit
Works like a check by taking money from a checking account
Charge all Target and target.com purchases
No annual fee
No annual fee [check current rates and fees]
Secure PIN access
Manage account and make payments online
Maximum cash withdrawal of $40 at checkout in store
 
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Pharmacy Rewards

Target has a Pharmacy Rewards program that awards a certificate for a 5% off day of Target shopping when you fill five eligible prescriptions at their pharmacy. You can combine these savings with the REDcard discount for a 10% off shopping trip. If you are planning to make a bigger purchase, such as TV or a grill, it is great to maximize these savings. If you already use the Target pharmacy on a regular basis, there is no reason not to sign up for the rewards program.

The Cartwheel App in action.
The Cartwheel App in action. | Source

Cartwheel App

There are hundreds of Target discounts available through their Cartwheel app, which is free for both Android and iPhone users. You can sign up with an email address or Facebook account. The discounts range from 5% to 30% and cover everything from baby to grocery to health to luggage. The app includes a number of neat features such as browsing the Cartwheel activity of your Facebook friends.

Simply add offers to a personalized Cartwheel barcode. You can print your barcode or have it scanned right on your smartphone at the store. Discounts can be used an infinite amount of times as long as they are still active. Cartwheel offers can be combined with Target REDcards and Target and manufacturer coupons.

3 Easy Ways To Save Money Shopping At Target!

Make sure that you are viewing the ad for your local store.
Make sure that you are viewing the ad for your local store. | Source

Weekly Ad

The Target weekly ad is readily available online through target.com for those who do not get it through a newspaper. Make sure that you are always viewing the ad for your local store to ensure that you are getting all applicable offers.

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Coupons

There are several options for shopping with coupons at Target. The general rule is that you can stack ONE Target coupon (mobile or online) with ONE manufacturer coupon. These coupons can all be used in conjunction with REDcard discounts and Cartwheel offers unless stated otherwise.

  • Online. Target has coupons available right through their website at coupons.target.com. You can print these coupons or send them to your smartphone.
  • Manufacturer. Don't hesitate to clip and use manufacturer coupons from newspaper coupon sections and websites.

When you shop in store at Target, don't forget to check out the coupons that you sometimes get with your receipt. They print Target exclusive coupons as well as coupons for other retail and online stores such as Sports Authority and Shutterfly. As these coupons are chosen based on your purchases, they are likely to be useful.

EXTREME COUPONING TIPS - SELECTING COUPONS - how to use coupons

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Tip: The key to price matching is to keep your receipt!

Price Matching

Target matches prices in competitor ads. The product must have the exact same brand name and model number, and the ad must be from within seven days of the purchase. Target does not match prices from target.com or any other online retailer. However, if they put the same item on sale within one week of your purchase, they will refund the difference.

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Markdown Schedule

The Target markdown schedule is as follows:

  • Monday: Baby items, children's clothing, office supplies / gift wrap / stationery, electronics.
  • Tuesday: Home décor, domestic items, women's clothing.
  • Wednesday: Food, health and beauty, garden items, toys, men's clothing.
  • Thursday: Lingerie, luggage, housewares, shoes, sporting goods.
  • Friday: Jewelry, automotive, cosmetics, home improvement, hardware.

Please note that it is always best practice to check with your local store to confirm the markdown schedule as there may be regional differences.

Look for the red clearance sticker at Target for savings of anywhere from 15 percent to 90 percent.
Look for the red clearance sticker at Target for savings of anywhere from 15 percent to 90 percent. | Source

Clearance Tips

  • Prices that end in an 8 (i.e. $10.08) are going to get marked down again. Prices that end in a 4 (i.e. $9.04) are not going to get any lower.
  • Typically Target knocks prices down every two weeks. Items continue to be marked down until they sell or reach 75% off. The knock down day may vary in different stores.
  • Target frequently uses the end caps of the aisles for discounted items. Even when these end caps are labeled "clearance," the items are often jumbled together. You may have to hunt to find the deep discounts.
  • If you're looking for clearance holiday merchandise, you have to act quickly. The first three days following the holiday, items are half off. For the next three days, they are 75% off. For two days after that, they are 90% off. Whatever is left at the end of those final two days gets donated to Goodwill.

The Target in store and online prices are not necessarily the same.
The Target in store and online prices are not necessarily the same. | Source

Compare In Store / Online Prices

Target does not necessarily have the same prices for items in store and online. While it may be more of a hassle than the few bucks that you could save to price compare every item, it can be worth it for larger purchases. Before you pick up a new set of furniture or a high-end camera, check out both sets of prices. Don't forget that if you have the REDcard, you'll get free shipping for the online purchases.

Online Shopping Tips

The packaging may be rough on a returned item, but as long as the item itself is okay, it's worth considering.
The packaging may be rough on a returned item, but as long as the item itself is okay, it's worth considering. | Source

Repackaged Items / Online Returns

Most repackaged returned items and online returns are sent to the shelves at deep discounts. While their packages may be in rough shape, the items are usually just fine. You can't count on finding these returned items, but it's worth taking advantage of the great prices when you do come across them.

Multiple price scanners are conveniently located around every Target store.
Multiple price scanners are conveniently located around every Target store. | Source

Don't forget to use the scanners!

When in doubt, don't hesitate to check a price with one of the in store scanners. They are strategically placed around the store and should not be hard to spot. If you frequent the same Target locations, you'll start to remember the scanner spots. You can always have a checker take an item off of your cart, but it's nice to keep a running total going as you shop so there are no major surprises.

© 2013 Rose Clearfield

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    • Heather Says profile image

      Heather Rode 3 years ago from Buckeye, Arizona

      Good ideas! I love using the cartwheel app on my iPhone.

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Heather! That's great. :)

    • kikalina profile image

      kikalina 3 years ago from Europe

      Bunch of great tips. We do not have target in this part of Europe but I am impressed at the possibilities to save at this store.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Great tips for those who shop at Target! Very nicely constructed hub.

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, kikalina and FlourishAnyway! It is amazing how many options there are for saving at Target.

    • ForLoveofCupcakes profile image

      Jamie Jensen 3 years ago from Chicago

      Thanks for the great article! I thought I knew all the ways to save money at Target but I could never quite nail down the markdown schedule. I totally copied it down in my Filofax. :) I'll link you when I show that page on my blog. :)

    • Kejanny profile image

      Kejanny 3 years ago from Port Moresby

      Very useful hub. Thanks

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Jamie, I verified that schedule through several different sources. I would still check with your local Target to make sure that there aren't any differences. Once you get in the habit of checking sales of certain items, it should be pretty obvious. I appreciate the blog link!

      Thanks, Kejanny!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      I didn't know any of this. Thank you for sharing. This is really very helpful. Voted Up!

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      I'm glad that you were able to get a lot out of this article, MsDora! Thanks!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Vicki L Hodges 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      I don't go to Target much, but when I do, I use my redcard! That's neat about the prices ending in 8 and 4--and the markdown days. These are great tips! Sharing!

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      So much information to digest here about one of my favorite stores. I love the way you've put the article together with your related hubs as links at the end. The pictures were great, too. Thanks so much for the tips on saving at Target.

    • drpennypincher profile image

      Dr Penny Pincher 3 years ago from Iowa, USA

      Cartwheel looks promising. Thanks for sharing all these ways to save at Target!

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Vicki, I just ordered a REDcard this week and am excited to start using it. I do go to Target...a lot and will definitely save with it. I'm glad that the price markdowns and markdown day information is helpful.

      PegCole, thanks for the feedback!

      drpennypincher, as Cartwheel is free, I would definitely give it a try. Even if you only save a dollar or two per trip, it adds up over time.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Target is the closest store to my house and I've always like the way the store is organized. I've had a couple of red flags with Target over the years. Bought an electric blanket for a Christmas present in the fall, found out it didn't work when we opened it on Christmas, and Target made us return it ourselves to the manufacturer for repairs because the receipt was more than 30 days old. Also they call their customers "guests" which is never a good sign for customer service.

      I have considered the red card, but had doubts about the corporate policy and since the debacle over the holiday buying season, I'm wondering if my doubts were well-founded. Would like to hear your take on that episode.

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      I also live very close to a Target and appreciate their organization. That's too bad that you've had a couple issues with them. I just signed up for a REDcard but am a little dubious after the recent security breach, too. Currently my husband and I use a credit union for the majority of our savings, and they are great about alerting us to potential fraud. Is Target as good about that with the REDcard? I don't know. We'll see how it goes.

    • Anna Marie Bowman profile image

      Anna Marie Bowman 3 years ago from Florida

      These are great tips!!! I love shopping at Target! It's my favorite store, and have taken advantage of the Cartwheel app. I didn't know that they offered a debit card, though. I am hesitant to sign up for any store credit cards. I hate credit cards. A debit card, though, is a good option.

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Anna! Target is definitely one of my favorite stores, too. It's great that you're able to use the Cartwheel app. I'm not a big fan of store cards of any kind. I'm giving the REDcard a try, though. We'll see how it goes.

    • Obreinfamily profile image

      Obreinfamily 3 years ago from florissant

      great research... thank u

    • randomcreative profile image
      Author

      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Obreinfamily!

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 2 years ago from Western NC

      I'm impressed! I had no idea about the prices ending in 8 and 4 and what that meant and the RedCard seems like a great value, too. I wish I lived closer to a Target, but I do make it to the one that's about 35 miles away from time to time. I might be doing some Mother's Day shopping there this weekend, so this is very timely. Thank you!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Vicki L Hodges 2 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      I like that they have the 5% off with their card, but I'm kind of scared to use it since they had that security breach thing with the cards. Surely, though, security is much tighter now . . . ?

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 2 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Cyndi, I'm glad that you were able to learn a few things from this article! I don't know what I would do if the closest Target were 35 miles away haha. Currently I live 3 minutes away from a Target. Good luck with your Mother's Day shopping.

      Vicki, I know, it's a little unnerving. The breach was with all debit and credit cards, not just REDCards...

    • MarloByDesign profile image

      MarloByDesign 24 months ago from United States

      Great clearance tips about the prices that end in an 8 (i.e. $10.08) will be marked down again...I would have never figured that out! Rated 'Useful'.

    • randomcreative profile image
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      Rose Clearfield 24 months ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      I'm glad that tip is helpful for you, Marlo!

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