20 Target Shopping Secrets Only Die-Hard Regulars Know


Target is organized, it's budget-friendly, and best of all, it stocks everything from food to furniture. But being surrounded by so much temptation makes it hard to stick to a shopping list. More often than not, Target customers find themselves entering the store for milk and leaving with a Keurig and some new workout gear because, hey, they were on sale, so why not? We understand that Target's aisles can be alluring, but if you want to be a money-conscious consumer then you need some strategy. It takes proper planning (and coupon collecting!) to score real deals at any store, Target especially. So, we've gathered up some of the best Target shopping secrets that you can use to be a better buyer.

Some Target purchases come with free gift cards.
Image via Wikimedia Commons

When you scour Target's promotions page, you'll find several offers that reward you with a free Target gift card.

Right now, for instance, customers can receive a free $20 gift card after spending $100 or more on select baby items via order pickup, drive up, or Target restock. And if you pay attention on big sale days like Black Friday, you'll often see big ticket items—electronics especially—that come with gift cards upon purchase.

Note: Since retailers' prices and offers are constantly changing, some information in this article may no longer be applicable. Always check before you shop!

You can earn Target coupons just by using the pharmacy.

Since CVS took over Target's pharmacies in 2015, prices have gone up, but there is a plus side.

CVS Pharmacy customers can earn Target coupons just by using their CVS ExtraCare cards. One of the rewards featured in CVS's ExtraCare rewards program is a $5 Target coupon for every 10 points earned.

Earn points by refilling prescriptions, adding prescriptions to a CVS.com account, signing up for text alerts, and getting vaccinations—and you'll receive up to $50 in coupons per year. Click here to view a detailed description of the program.

Save money by using your own bags.

Since Target wants you to B.Y.O.B., the retailer offers $0.05 off of your purchase whenever you come with your own reusable totes. Five cents might not seem like much, but any discount is valuable, especially when it's on top of the reward that is helping to save the environment!

Clearance price tags are chock-full of information.

Look closely at the clearance price tags when you go to Target. In addition to the current price, they include the item's original price (in the lower left corner) and the percentage discount being offered (in the upper right corner).

Since Target's clearance prices abide by a meticulous markdown system—typically it goes 30 percent off, 50 percent off, 70 percent off, and then 90 percent off if the item is seasonal—you can use the information on the price tag to determine whether you should buy a clearance item now or wait until it's marked down further.

Sign up for a Target REDcard for extra perks and savings.
Image via Flickr/Mike Mozart

Devout Target customers save big by signing up for a the store's credit card. With a Target REDcard, you get an additional 5 percent off on every purchase you make, free two-day shipping online, an extended return period, and more.

Subscribe to items you purchase frequently and save even more.

Amazon isn't the only player in town with a "subscribe and save" option. Target also has a subscription service that you can customize to have the items you need frequently sent on a schedule of your choosing.

Plus, any order placed via a Target subscription will receive 5 percent off and free shipping. And if you use your Target REDcard, you'll also get that additional 5 percent off.

The store follows a strict sale schedule.

Since items at Target are marked down on a specific schedule, you can plan your shopping trip according to what you intend to buy.

The markdown schedule is as follows:

Monday: Electronics, kids' clothing, and stationary
Tuesday: Domestics, women's clothing, pets, and market
Wednesday: Men's clothing, toys, health and beauty, lawn, and garden items
Thursday: Home goods, lingerie, shoes, sporting goods, movies, music, books, decor, and luggage
Friday: Auto, cosmetics, hardware, and jewelry

Only some price cuts are temporary.

Not all of the "price cut" tags at Target are the same. Products marked with a "temporary price cut" means get it now before the price goes back up.

But "price cut" items without the "temporary" on their tag are permanently marked down, so you don't have to worry about missing out on the deal.

Use the Cartwheel app to find coupons.

If you're not taking advantage of the savings that Target's Cartwheel app offers, then you're not doing your Target shopping correctly.

This Target-exclusive app features coupons and special discounts that you can use to turn ordinary savings into extraordinary ones.

Combine store coupons with manufacturer ones.

Target's coupon policy is extremely generous, and you can save a lot of money by stacking store coupons with manufacturer ones.

Per the retailer's policy, you can combine one manufacturer coupon, one Target coupon, and one Cartwheel offer for every item in your cart. That's a whole lot of savings to be had.

Take advantage of the store's rain check policy.

Looking to buy a sale item at Target that's out of stock? No problem—just ask a cashier about a rain check.

If the item becomes available again within the next 30 to 45 days, the rain check entitles you to buy it at the sale price, even if the sale isn't still going on.

Wait until Target gift cards go on sale, and then stock up.

Here's an ingenious way to save money on all of your Target purchases: When Target gift cards are on sale—which is quite often—buy as many as you can, and then use the discounted gift cards to pay for your next shopping trip.

If you get a $100 gift card at 10 percent off, it's like saving 10 percent every time you shop until you use up the gift card!

Ask for a price match.

If you find an item you love at Target but know that you could get it at a competitor for less, all you have to do is find proof of that lower price and Target will match it.

The bullseye brand will even price match with their own online prices if something happens to cost less on the website than it does in the store.

Let Target pay you for your old electronics.

If you have an electronic like a cell phone or a gaming console that you no longer have any use for, you can either bring it to Target or ship it to the store in exchange for a Target gift card.

Not only is this a simple way to recycle your electronics and give them a second life, but it's also an easy way to pad your pockets! For detailed information, check out Target's trade-in instructions here.

Trade in unwanted gift cards from other retailers, too.

Target will take other retailers' gift cards with a balance off of your hands and in exchange, give you a gift card to their store for the same value.

During the holiday season, you can use this trade-in program to get rid of those gift cards you know you'll never use and stock up on Target money instead.

Shipping is almost always free.

As long as you spend a minimum of $35, shipping is free on the Target website. And if you use your REDcard, shipping will be free no matter what your total is.

And returns are free, too!

Another great feature of Target's online ordering system is that if there's anything you don't like from your e-order, you can return it for free with a prepaid mailing label provided by the company.

So if you aren't sure what size you need in jeans, just order a few pairs and ship back the ones that don't fit without spending another cent.

Target will accept returns on makeup (even if it's opened).

The only caveat is that the return has to be made within 90 days of your purchase. Otherwise, anything goes!

If there's a product you're eager to try, but aren't sure if it'll work for you, then definitely buy it from Target. You literally have nothing to lose.

Use Target for your bridal or baby registry for big savings.

Target has everything you could ever want or need, so why not sign up for a Target wedding registry or baby registry? Any items left on your wedding registry will be available for you to purchase after your big day at 15 percent off.

And if you're using a Target registry for your new baby, there are even more savings in store. You'll get a free welcome kit with over $100 worth of coupons and handpicked samples. Plus, you can get 15 percent off on everything left on your registry eight weeks before your due date. This way, you won't have to run to the store after your little one arrives!

The best deals are at the Dollar Spot.
Image via Wholesome Harmonies

No, this isn't Target's secret dollar store chain. It's the section at the front of every Target store where useful everyday items are sold for anywhere from $1 to $15.

This section isn't always the most organized, but you can find great deals on everything from food to stationary by spending some time digging around the bins.

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