Target-cart1KCL loves shopping at Target—between their Cartwheel offers, low prices and general coupon-friendliness, their deals are tough to beat. But one of the best ways to save at Target is to take advantage of their incredible clearance deals. Clearance is most often located on end caps, but you can also find them hidden in the aisles. In addition to regular clearance markdowns at the end of each season, after holidays and during semi-annual toy clearance sales, there are amazing clearance markdowns to be found year-round. And if you know how to read the signs, you can make sure you’re getting what you want at the lowest possible price! Here’s how to decode Target clearance tags so you can get the absolute best deals the store has to offer:

Target Clearance Finds—Stock up on Milk-Bone and Sheba Cat Food!

Target’s “unofficial” markdown schedule

All Target inventory goes through a markdown phase that is in set increments: 15%, 30%, 50%, 70% and so on, up to 90%. Here’s the unofficial markdown schedule so you’ll know exactly when to look for the best deals:

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

The “every two weeks” markdown schedule: Target typically further reduces unsold clearance merchandise every two weeks once the markdowns have begun, but this can vary based on region, amount of unsold inventory and manager discretion. If you are watching an item and see that it has been marked down 30% or 50%, come back in another two weeks to see if it has been marked down further.


How to read target clearance tags

  • 15%: When an item goes on clearance at Target, the first markdown is usually 15%. You can tell exactly how much the item has been marked down by looking at the upper right-hand corner of the red clearance tag. If you see the number 15, it is marked down 15%. The original price of the product will always be listed on the left-hand side next to the word “was,” and the new price of the item on clearance will be located on the right, next to the word “now.” The last digit of the item will usually end in the numbers 6 or 8 (for example: $7.48).
  • 30%, 50%, 70% and 90%: If you look closely at the red clearance tag, you might notice the higher clearance numbers 30, 50, 70 or even an amazing 90! These numbers correspond to the percentage off that product is now being sold for.
  • Price tags ending in $0.06 or $0.08: If the price of the item on clearance ends in $0.06 or $0.08, the item will be marked down again during the next markdown cycle as long as there is inventory in the store. The item typically will remain at the current percentage off for two weeks before progressing to the next level.
  • Price tags ending in $0.04: If the last number in the price of the item ends in $0.04, the item has been marked for final clearance, and this is the lowest price at which Target will sell the item.
  • Random price tag endings: Often, Target price tags end with $0.00, $0.01, $0.05, $0.07, etc. I spoke with some store managers and was told these endings are arbitrary and simply indicate an item is on clearance with no specific meaning, and the item will continue on its clearance cycle.
  • Sectioned clearances: Seasonal merchandise such as holiday, back-to-school, and summer items are examples of these clearance products. Many of these are holiday-branded and will be reduced at a much faster rate than the typical two-week increment because Target needs the space for new inventory. Often the products begin at 50% off, then are reduced to 70% off, and continue on up to 90% off within two weeks. Also, items may not be individually marked; the entire section will be at one discount rate.
  • Gift card bonus price endings: Though unrelated to clearance items, anything that ends with $0.49, $0.79 or $0.99 indicate a Target Gift Card promotion is in effect. The Gift Card offer details will be listed at the very top in red, and the amount of the gift card will be listed on the card or offer.

Even More Ways to Save at Target!

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20 thoughts on “How to Read Target Clearance Tags”

  1. Cathy says:

    I like to shop at Target, but lately it seems they have become the Neiman-Marcus of discount stores.

  2. Berenice Sauceda says:

    What does it mean when the tag says “AS IS”

  3. Anonymous says:

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  4. Anonymous says:


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  6. Maribel says:

    Is this possible and/or unethical?: I bought something on clearance but it was at irs first markdown, because it was the last one left i was afraid it wouldn’t be there amymore, so i bought it. Would if be unethical to return it and buy it again and do they allow that? Thank you!

    • Maribel says:


      • rach says:

        thats pretty extreme..i wouldnt call it unethical. unethical to me is people who buy things with coupons and then return them to get full purchase price back

      • Cathy says:

        I bought a heater at full price in December 2013. Took it home and decided I didn’t like the way it operated. I returned it to Target about 2 weeks later and asked the cashier to hold on to it while I looked for another heater. There wasn’t much to choose from, so I returned to the cashier and told her I’d go ahead and buy the heater again. What I didn’t know was that all heaters were on sale for 35% off, as advertised in their weekly flyer. I got the discount, bought the heater again, and took it home. I still don’t like the it, though.

  7. Omaha Coupon Mamma says:

    I would also like to add that if it ends in a 4 it will likely not go any lower but I have seen instances where that has happened. I bought something clearanced once and was curious at the previous rates. It had gone through 3 cycles the first cycle knocked it down by $0.55 making it end in a 4 but the next 2 cycles had it ending in a 8.

  8. Savingtobemrssands07 says:

    Just one thing, I work at Target and everything is true except, it’s only $70 a year not $75, at least that how it is at my store and I work at guest service too

  9. Lisa says:

    Look thru the clearance mismatch sometimes you can find the other half and they might sell it to you for the lower price. That has happened to me twice.

  10. orangegummy says:

    Thanks for the helpful info. I’ve been shopping the Target clearance for awhile and it’s nice to know their unofficial markdown schedule.

  11. flick22 says:

    Thank you, thank you for this! I am a frequent Target shopper and feel like a much wiser one now.

  12. sully says:

    this is awesome info i will print it for future reference. thanks

  13. Anonymous says:

    I’m saving this & sticking it in my coupon binder…lots of great information! Thanks a ton!!! Kudos to the author.

  14. Kenneth H says:

    Thanks for the info, will go into Target with a different mindframe and patience.

  15. lorettajewell says:

    WOW that was alot of good info! Thanks so much!