17 shopping secrets to save time and money at Target
Target is changing its couponing policy — but you can still save big at the chain.
On Monday, Target updated its coupon policy and point-of-sale cash register software to prevent cashiers from overriding the system to allow couponers to save a bit more than they should, reports Coupons in the News.
However, there are many other ways to save at Target, which offers some fantastic deals despite marketing itself as a higher-quality option than many of its budget retail competitors.
Here are 17 ways to save big when shopping at Target.
1. Know the markdown schedule
Different departments mark down their clearance items on different, specific days, reports All Things Target. The schedule:
Monday – Electronics, Accessories, Kids Clothing, Books, Baby and Stationery
Tuesday — Domestics, Women's Clothing, Pets and Market (food items)
Wednesday — Men's Clothing, Health and Beauty, Diapers, Lawn & Garden items and Furniture
Thursday — Housewares, Lingerie, Shoes, Toys, Sporting Goods, Decor & Luggage
Friday — Auto, Cosmetics, Hardware, & Jewelry
2. Shop earlier in the week
Because Target releases newspaper ads on Sunday and sales run Sunday through Saturday, if you want to take advantage of new deals, your best bet is as close to Sunday as possible, reports Philly.com.
3. Ask for a rain check when you miss a deal
If you spot a deal, only to be disappointed to see that the item in question is sold out at your local Target, never fear — you can ask for a rain check. Take a ticket from where the sold out item was to the cashier, who will print you a "rain check" which can be used to purchase the item at the sales price for up to 45 day at any Target location.
4. Download Target Cartwheel
Target launched its mobile coupon app in 2013, and has dedicated a ton of effort since then to making it an appealing download for customers. The company reports that users have saved more than $475 million through the app, which allows you to scan tags in-store to see if there are any available deals.
5. Know what coupons you can combine
As Target gets stricter with its coupon policies, it's important to know what coupons are stackable. For a single item, you can use up to one manufacturer coupon, one Target coupon (paper or digital), and one Cartwheel coupon.
6. Understand big picture deals
While some deals are week-by-week, others go through seasonal cycles, reports The Mom Creative. Big toy clearance sales are in late January and late July or early August every year — so don't make your toy purchases in June.
7. Hit the endcaps
The shelves facing walls at the end of the aisles, especially those marked clearance, have some of the best deals around. Items have been marked down 15% to 70%, reports Philly.com.
8. Double check your receipt
The retailer prints high-value coupons on the bottom of receipts, reports Frugal Living. Make sure you double check and save before tossing them in the trash.
9. Do your research
Target has a price match guarantee with competitors including Walmart, Costco, and Amazon. So, before you buy something at Target, do a quick Amazon search of the exact brand, size, and quantity first.
RELATED: Items you should always buy at Target
10. Get a REDcard
Target promotes its rewards program as being straight-forward: 5% off on nearly all purchases (a few things, like eye exams and gift cards, don't apply). Other benefits of the REDcard include free shipping on online orders and an extra 30 days for returns.
11. Know what sale colors mean
Target sales are marked by two colors: red or yellow, reports the Krazy Koupon Lady. Red sales are "regular," limited-time sales, and will last from Sunday through Saturday of that week. Yellow sales are temporary or permanent price cuts, and last for at least two weeks.
12. Bring your own bag
Target offers a five cent discount for every reusable bag they use. So far, the company says that customers have used more than 190 million reusable bags instead of paper or plastic. That's $9.5 million in savings.
13. Check out Bullseye's Playground
The grab-and-go section in Target's front of store — previously called "The One Spot" or "The Dollar Spot" — has some great deals. Plus, Target is redesigning the area to be more "streamlined and cheerier," reports Bloomberg. Since the revamp, sales have increased 30%.
14. If a sale item's price tag ends in 6 or 8, wait
When items go on clearance, the first stage is a price reduction of 15%, which will usually lead to prices that end in 6 or 8, such as $4.48, reports the Krazy Koupon Lady. Clearance items can be reduced 30% to 90%, meaning a 15% drop is likely only going to grow larger. Price tags ending in 4 tend to be final clearance, and therefore the best deals.
15. Do your holiday shopping strategically
The day after a holiday, items are cut 50%. Wait a week or so, and products will drop to 70% or 90%, reports Philly.com.
16. Keep an eye out for gift card deals
Target is known for its gift card promotions, which allow customers to get a free gift card when they buy a certain amount of a specific item, reports the Krazy Koupon Lady. For example, one such deal would be that if you buy four cans of hairspray, you can get a free $5 gift card.
17. Don't forget about the return policy
The retailer has an extremely generous return policy on Target brand items, which can be returned any time in the next year, compared to the typical return policy of 90 days. There are some exceptions to the 90-day rule, so double check before you try to return something like a drone, for example, which must be returned within 14 days of purchase.
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