I don’t know about you, but I can usually walk into Target with a short list and end up spending at least $150. But not anymore, not that I know the Target markdown schedule. And I’m about to share my Target clearance secrets with you!
You can find some of the best Target clearance deals ever just by waiting and watching for those little yellow stickers. But at the same time, it’s pretty hard to predict the markdowns, especially with all the changes Target has made to their clearance strategy lately. Lucky for you, we’ve done the legwork.
It pays to get to know the clearance patterns at your local Target store, but these tips will give you the tools you need to save at whichever Target store you’re shopping. In this guide, I’ll cover everything from regular clearance sale markdowns to clearance events and holiday clearance schedules.
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1. Regular Target clearance discounts range from 30% to 70% off.
The Target markdown schedule for any section normally starts at 30% off and reaches up to 70% off, but the exact schedule and markdown will depend on the item itself and the inventory available.
Household items like laundry products begin their clearance journey at just 15% off and finish at 50% off. These items (at least at my store) get snatched up pretty quickly, so they never even make it to the final 70% discount.
2. Learn the Target markdown schedule at your store, and shop there during the week.
Before we dig deep into the “when” of Target clearance, keep in mind that the Target markdown schedule will vary by your store location. My best advice? Get familiar with your Target store and observe what and when clearance markdowns happen for different departments. Here’s what I can tell you:
Target generally marks down items Monday through Friday.
Target does markdowns five days a week, Monday through Friday. You’ll notice each department does it on their own day. I have one store near me that always marks down toys on Tuesday and another that does it on Thursday. Try being friendly with the Target associates at your store and politely ask if they can share some insights into their Target markdown schedule.
After the first clearance markdown, Target makes further markdowns every two weeks.
This is another one that varies by location and depends on inventory (plus what is and isn’t selling). If we’re talking about Target’s typical clearance schedule, further markdowns happen every two weeks. But if your Target store has a boatload of items that aren’t selling at 30% off, they’ll aggressively mark them down much sooner.
Related: Here’s your ultimate guide to clearance sale schedules at all the top stores.
3. Learn how to read a Target clearance tag — it’ll tell you when to wait for a bigger discount.
For years, shoppers have speculated what the numbers mean on a Target clearance sticker. But in reality, the secret formula isn’t really a secret.
In the upper right-hand corner of the tag, you’ll see one of three numbers: 30, 50, or 70. The number represents the discount percentage (30%, 50%, or 70% off). So once you know that clearance markdowns start at 30% off and end at 70%, you can easily tell whether you’re looking at a first, second, or third markdown!
Related: We’ll tell you which of these Target shopping myths is true vs. fake.
4. Target clearance discounts won’t get better than 70% off — items get salvaged after that.
Unfortunately, the days of getting Target clearance items at 90% off are few and far between. Not long after items hit 70% off, Target sends them off to Target salvage stores, so you only have a short window of time to snag these final clearance markdowns.
Target is more likely to salvage big-ticket items when they hit 50% off. If you find something you really need at a clearance price, don’t wait too long. Otherwise, it might disappear from the shelf forever.
The only exception to this 70% off rule are holiday clearance items — you’ll see select items reach up to 90% off at Target in the weeks after Halloween and Christmas.
5. Online Target clearance is different than in stores and the discounts aren’t nearly as good.
If you’re after the best Target clearance discounts, always head to the store to shop. Target.com does have an online clearance section, but you’ll rarely find discounts over 50%. In fact, most online clearance items don’t get past 30% off.
For example, I recently stocked up on Target Easter Clearance items in person at my store for 70% off, and when I looked online, I found a few of the same items for only 15% off.
6. Can you return clearance items to Target? You bet!
Yes, you can return clearance items to Target as long as it’s within 90 days of your purchase. Clearance items have the same rules as anything else under the Target return policy. However, there are some items you can’t get a refund for, like products that have been salvaged or discontinued.
7. Shop for toys during the Semi-Annual Target Toy clearance in January and July to score some of the best deals all year.
Target’s Semi-Annual Toy Clearance Sale happens in January and July each year, and it’s THE BEST time to stock up on toys, games, dolls, and more. Both of these Target toy sales typically run for three to four weeks total, with discounts starting at 30% to 50% and reaching up to 70% during the last leg of the sales.
If you stay on top of the best deals, you can score name-brand toys for up to 70% off. These clearance deals are available on Target.com, too, but the best deals are always in stores. During the event, you can save on brands like Little Tikes, LOL Surprise, Barbie, Lego, and Nerf.
|Winter Semi-Annual Toy Clearance Dates||Clearance Discount|
|Week of December 26||30%|
|Week of January 2||50%|
|Week of January 9||70%|
|Summer Semi-Annual Toy Clearance Dates|
|Week of June 26||30%|
|Week of July 3||50%|
|Week of July 10||70%|
8. Save BIG on holiday decor for next year during Target’s Christmas clearance.
Now that you’ve stocked up on toys and other gifts, it’s time to get all your Christmas decor on clearance, too. Target Christmas clearance starts the day after Christmas (Dec. 26) both in stores and online. You’ll find markdowns on holiday gift sets, accessories, Christmas lights, decor, party supplies, gift bags, wrapping paper, bows, and more.
Here’s how the Target markdown schedule during the holidays generally happens:
- First Markdown: 50% off for non-food, 30% off for food and candy
- Second Markdown: 70% off for non-food, 50% off for food and candy
- Final Markdown: 90% off for non-food, 70% off for food and candy. But fair warning — the best stuff will likely be gone by this time.
Related: Shop all the best after-Christmas sales with our ultimate guide to after Christmas clearance.
9. You’ll find the best clearance deals at Target after any major holiday.
Hunting for holiday clearance at Target isn’t a science, it’s an art. Your best bet is to wait for that 70% markdown so you can take advantage of deep discounts before the entire store gets picked clean.
You can expect to see this holiday clearance markdown schedule at most Target stores:
- The day after the holiday: 50% off for non-food, 30% off for food and candy.
- 3 – 4 days after the holiday: 70% off for non-food, 50% off for food and candy.
- 1 week after the holiday: 90% off for non-food, 70% off for food and candy (usually only lasts for one or two days).
Target’s holiday clearance sales usually only last a week. If and when items hit 90% off, you’ll only have a day or two to snag what’s left.
10. Shop in July for clearance patio furniture and more summer items at Target.
If a new patio set is in your future, wait ’til they go on clearance in July. You’ll find clearance patio furniture, summer toys, and garden items for up to 70% off — and Target marks down all their remaining summer inventory.
Discounts will start at 15% off, but they’ll ramp up to 70% off as the month continues.
11. Check the aisle endcaps and beyond for clearance deals in every department.
About 99% of the time, Target clearance will be in one of three places:
- The seasonal section of the store
- Specific aisles (this is mostly true for the Semi-Annual Toy Clearance)
- Endcaps throughout the store
Be sure to keep your eyes open in any of these locations, especially on the sides of endcap displays in the health and beauty section. There might be a few clearance deals hiding on those sides!
12. Yes, you can use coupons on Target clearance items.
Low prices aren’t the only way to save on clearance items from Target. Want a better deal? You can use manufacturer coupons on Target clearance items, too. According to Target’s Coupon Policy, you can even use Target Circle offers on them, unless the fine print says otherwise.
Related: Wanna learn how to coupon at Target? We’ll teach you everything you need to know.
13. Always verify the price of clearance items at the Target price checker kiosks.
Even if your clearance item seems cheap enough as it is, the actual price might be lower. Bring all your clearance items over to a Target price scanner to check for the most accurate prices.
TIP: Unfortunately, if the price rings up as “$0,” you can’t get the item for free. If this is the case, it means the clearance price just isn’t registered in the system.
14. Miss a clearance markdown? Ask Target for a price adjustment within 14 days.
If something you buy pops up in the Target clearance section immediately after you take it home, you can get a Target price adjustment within 14 days. This is all thanks to the Target price match policy, which lets you get a lower price if a Target item goes on sale after you buy it.
All you need is proof of purchase, whether that’s your receipt, order confirmation email, or the order history page in your Target app. You can show this to the associates in the checkout lane or at the Guest Services desk. For online purchases, contact Customer Service.
Easy peasy, right?
15. Check out salvage stores for more Target clearance items (and save up to 90%).
Target doesn’t let clearance items linger around the store as much as they did in the past. Once nonholiday items hit 70% off, they get sent off to a salvage store shortly after. If you’re looking for deeper discounts on clearance items, you can find them at Target salvage stores.