Jenna McMahon | 

I Debunked 15 Target Shopping Myths — Here's the Truth

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There’s a lot of chit-chat about Target shopping myths, but the word on the street (or the web) isn’t always true. Some things you hear are the real deal, others are just nonsense. But knowing what you can and can’t do at Target is key to separating fact from fiction, so I dug into the details to set the record straight.

Does Target Layaway exist? Can you order Target Starbucks from your car? And is Target really more expensive than Walmart? You asked — I answered below.

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1. TRUE: Target will match competitor prices before and after your purchase.

cellphone with target app in front of air fryer

Yes, the Target price match policy is one of the true Target shopping myths out there. If you find a lower price — at Target or any of their listed competitors — you can ask for a price match before your purchase or up to 14 days after.

Target price matches a bunch of top stores including Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Costco, and more. To get a price match, all you have to do is bring in proof of the lower price — whether that’s an entire printed ad, digital ad, or a link to the online listing. Then show it to a Target associate at checkout or guest services.

To get a price match online, start a customer service chat or call (800) 591-3869. Be sure to have the current price you want to match along with the digital ad, a link to the online listing, or the Target store price.


2. TRUE: You can order and pick up Target Starbucks without ever leaving your car.

hand holding a starbucks iced beverage outside of target

The convenience of Target Drive Up combined with a caffeine boost from Starbucks is all you need to keep your day moving.

Now, hundreds of Target locations across the U.S. allow you to pick up your Target order and grab your favorite Starbucks drink at the same time — all while you sit comfortably in your car.

All you have to do is place a Drive Up order in the Target app, order off the Starbucks menu, and park in a Drive Up spot when you get to the store. A Target associate will bring your Target items and Starbucks order right out to where you’re parked.


3. FALSE: You can pay for purchases in installments with Target Layaway.

A sign advertising Walmart layaway inside a Walmart.

Contrary to popular belief, Target layaway isn’t a thing. Although they don’t have layaway, you can use a “Buy Now Pay Later” service. These services partner with Target to help you pay for your purchases overtime at a pace that works for you. At Target, you can use Sezzle, Affirm, and Klarna.


4. TRUE: Target gives you 365 days to return Target-owned brands.

the cat and jack toddler apparel section at target

No joke. The Target return policy gives you a full year to return items from Target-owned brands like up & up and Cat & Jack. Even if these items are used or worn, you can still get a full refund or exchange them without issue. This also goes for Target food brands, like Good & Gather and Market Pantry items.

You’ll need a receipt or proof of purchase to return or exchange Target brands. So be sure to keep them in a safe place in case you need to make a return in the next 365 days.


5. TRUE: Target returns are free in stores and by mail.

target boxes and packages outside of someone's front door

Target used to charge a shipping fee if the reason for your return wasn’t due to their error. So if your item arrived damaged, Target would cover the return shipping cost. But if you simply decided not to keep the item, you’d have to pay for return shipping. Luckily, this isn’t the case anymore.

Now you can make Target returns by mail for free, too. Target will give you a prepaid return shipping label once you start the return process online or in the app.

The only stipulation: you may have to pay a restocking fee if you return an opened mobile phone purchase, depending on your location. We have a full breakdown of the Target return policy if you want to freshen up.


6. FALSE: Target is always more expensive than Walmart.

walmart groceries in a walmart bag versus Target groceries in Target bags side by side

You might be surprised to find out who really comes out on top in the battle of Target vs. Walmart. We compared prices for over 60 products at both stores, and Target turned out to be the cheaper store overall. This is mostly thanks to RedCard discounts and Circle offers in the Target app. For example:

Compared to Walmart, Target had lower prices on diapers, paper towels, trash bags, laundry detergent, pet food, and other major household essentials. They also had better deals on toys.

Walmart did win in one category — hair and makeup. They had lower prices on shampoo, conditioner, hair dye, and mascara. And both Walmart and Target tied for prices on groceries, first aid products, and tampons.


7. TRUE: You can earn both Ultamate Rewards and Target Circle Rewards on Ulta purchases from Target.

ulta and target rewards sign inside ulta inside of a target

Shopping for Ulta at Target has double the perks — literally.

If you’re an Ultamate Rewards member and a Target Circle member, you’ll earn rewards from both programs when you buy Ulta products at Target. All you have to do is link your two accounts to earn 1% back from Target Circle and 1 – 1.5 points per dollar spent from Ultamate Rewards.

The only downside is you can’t earn Ulta bonus points at Target, like the 2X Birthday bonus points and Ultamate Rewards Credit Card points.


8. FALSE: You have to get a credit check to sign up for a Target RedCard.

A woman's hang holding up the Target RedCard welcome letter that says "Say Hello To Your New RedCard" with the Target RedCard debit card attached to the letter

There are actually two other Target RedCard options you can choose from if you don’t want the credit card — a debit card or a reloadable account. Both offer the same major benefits. So you don’t have to go through the credit card approval process, which requires Target to run a hard pull on your credit report.

I personally think my debit RedCard is the best thing ever. I signed up for free (no credit check) and don’t have to worry about interest, late fees, or anything like that. My RedCard is linked up to my personal checking account, so funds are automatically transferred every time I make a purchase. And I get 5% off, free shipping, and an extra 30 days for returns and exchanges.

Also because you need to know — RedCard members save 5% on Starbucks in Target stores, too.

Related: This is everything to know about opening a Target RedCard.


9. TRUE: RedCard holders can buy gift cards from Target for 5% off the face value.

a person standing by a wall display of gift cards and pointing at them.

Real talk: you can use your Target RedCard discount to save 5% at other stores, too.

All you have to do is buy a gift card to that store at Target to save 5%. You can even buy Disney gift cards for 5% less than their face value (and use them to buy park tickets at a discount)!

You can’t, however, use your RedCard to buy Target gift cards, prepaid cards, Game On gift cards, and Starbucks gift cards purchased at Starbucks locations in Target.

Related: RedCard members can save 10% on Target Gift Cards during the two-day Target Gift Card Sale in December.


10. TRUE: Target lets you exchange your old tech devices for Target Gift Cards.

a woman trading in her old android phone to target's trade-in program for a gift card

The Target Trade-In program is a great tool for getting rid of any old cell phones, tablets, headphones, gaming consoles, and other electronics lying around your house. Not only do you get to clear out all that clutter, but you’ll also get paid in Target Gift Cards for the devices you trade-in.

When you start your Target trade-in online or in stores, they’ll give you a quote for your device based on its model, condition, and storage space. You can get paid up to $280 in Target Gift Cards for a single item, depending on what you trade in.


11. FALSE: Regular Target clearance markdowns reach up to 90% off.

Cream and tan colored accent pillows displayed on a clearance shelf at Target

Sorry, folks. The days of saving 90% on Target clearance items are over.

Unfortunately, regular markdowns only reach up to 70% now. If clearance doesn’t sell at 70% off, Target either donates the items or ships them off to Target salvage stores.

However, seasonal clearance (like Target Easter clearance and Target Christmas clearance) will still reach up to 90% off — but it won’t stay there for long. The 90% markdowns only last for a day or two max, and items get picked over before you can say “Target run and done.”


12. FALSE: Target refunds you for promotional discounts if you return something you used a coupon on.

Pampers diapers with Coupons at Target.

No more refunds for coupon returns.

For a long time, returning an item you used a coupon on was no biggie. You’d get your full refund back to your original payment method, plus the coupon discount refunded to a Target gift card.

But unfortunately, Target changed their policy. Now you’ll only get refunded for what you paid out of pocket.


13. TRUE: You can stack one Target Circle offer, one Target store coupon, and one manufacturer coupon on a single item.

Person holding coupons at checkout.

Target lets you stack three different types of coupons on a single item: one percentage-based Target Circle offer, one manufacturer coupon, and one Target store coupon. So, if you used one of each coupon on Degree deodorant from Target, here’s how that would look:

  • Target Circle Offer: 10% off Degree Antiperspirant Deodorant
  • Target Store Coupon: 20% off Deodorant
  • Manufacturer Coupon: $2 off Degree Women’s MotionSense Antiperspirant Deodorant

If a single deodorant costs $4.99, your final price after these three coupons would drop to $1.99.

Related: Our all-inclusive guide shows you how to coupon at Target the easy way.


14. FALSE: Target accepts all manufacturer coupons.

A woman holding out a stack of manufacture coupons. The coupon on top is for $2 off Tide Pods.

Target happily accepted manufacturer coupons for as long as we can remember, but a recent change to the Target coupon policy put an end to that flexibility.

Now, Target only accepts manufacturer coupons on their pre-verified list. The tricky part? Target doesn’t make this list public to coupon shoppers. So in many cases, you won’t know if your coupon works until you scan it at checkout.

But don’t let that stop you from stacking coupons at Target. We haven’t had any major problems using manufacturer coupons since Target made this change, so keep aiming for the biggest possible savings.


15. TRUE: You don’t have to buy two products in a “2 for $10” promo at Target.

A person holding a package of Good and Gather coffee in the coffee aisle at Target

If Target has a “2 for $10” promo, you don’t have to buy two items to get the deal. You only need to buy one to get the $5 sale price. This also goes for “2 for $7” promos (you can buy them individually for $3.50 each) and any other “Buy 2” offers.

“Buy 3” promos are different, though. If Target runs a “Buy 3 for $5.99 each” promo on Starbucks coffee bags, you’ll have to buy all three to get the $5.99 sale price per bag.



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