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Almost everyone shops at one or all three of these mega-retailers. So, think of this as your personal shopping guide.
Added bonus — most of these tips don’t require you to draw a lot of attention to yourself. Stealthy savings are literally the best savings!
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Put Paribus in charge of getting your money back from Target.
Target offers a 14-day price adjustment period.
This means you can get a lower sale price if an item you bought experiences a price drop during that window of time.
And since nobody’s got time for that when it comes to monitoring prices on items you already bought, Paribus offers to do it for free on your behalf.
Sign up for Paribus and they’ll notify you when there’s a price drop on something you bought so you can request a price adjustment.
Paribus compensates us when you sign up for Paribus using the links we provided.
2. Ship to an Amazon Locker if you know you won’t be home.
This is a game changer during the holidays when it gets dark early and you know you’ll have packages on your doorstep.
Ship them to an Amazon Locker instead of to your house, and pick them up at your convenience.
3. Never say “nope” to Target mobile coupons.
I can’t think of a single reason for the word “Nope” to cross your mind in relation to mobile coupons. They’re easy to do and can offer up to 75% savings.
Look for current mobile coupons inside the Target app — tap on “Wallet” and then “Coupons.”
Here are some examples of mobile coupon categories that show up a few times a year — they rotate frequently:
- Free Target gift card with a Meat and Seafood purchase
- Free Target gift card with a Baby Department purchase
- Dollars-off iPhone purchase with an activation
- Dollars-off Travel Gear purchase
Download the KCL app and we’ll tell you when we see a hot Target mobile coupon deal!
4. Only pay for Amazon Prime for part of the year.
If you only really shop Amazon during the holiday season, switch to a monthly Prime membership. And then teach me the deep magic of avoiding shopping Amazon the rest of the year, O Wise One.
On a monthly plan, you’ll pay $12.99 a month, so this isn’t ideal if you use it all year. But if you’re just using it from November-January, it’ll be cheaper than the typical $99 annual fee — cancel and start it back up anytime.
5. Use your Target gift card to buy a Starbucks drink inside Target.
Assuming anyone on earth is having trouble using up their Target gift cards, I present the Starbucks option.
You can pay for your drink with a gift card at any Starbucks located inside a Target.
6. Take all the ten-dollar bills Amazon wants to throw at you.
I mean, Amazon wants to give you money; why would you refuse? Here are two awesome ways to get free money from Amazon:
- $10 back when you reload your Amazon gift card with $100 or more
- $10 back when you add $40 to your Amazon cash account
7. Use coupons at Target even if they say “redeemable at Walmart.”
Truth. Walmart is hoping you’ll use those coupons at their stores, but you don’t have to. Target (or any store that accepts manufacturer coupons) will gladly take them.
8. Buy groceries online and pick them up for free at Walmart.
I’m not sure everyone gets what a lifesaver Free Walmart Grocery Pickup can be.
Life hack: Pick the day you’re playing taxi for the kids anyway, and the night before, shop for groceries online at Walmart. On the way home from all the sports and lessons, pull into a stall at Walmart, and relax while Walmart loads your groceries into your car for you.
And then make your 5th grader unload them while you put your feet up at home.
9. . . .But shop inside the store if you want to redeem Ibotta offers at Walmart.
The only catch to Walmart’s Grocery Pickup is that you don’t get a paper receipt — only an email confirmation.
So you can’t scan the QR code on your Walmart receipt to redeem Ibotta offers.
It’s a trade-off — save time with Grocery Pickup or save money with Ibotta.
10. Use free store pickup at Target unless you have a REDcard.
You’ll get free shipping on every purchase when you link a Target REDcard to your checking account, and it’s definitely the smart way to shop Target.
But if you just can’t with the REDcard, choose free store pickup to avoid paying for shipping at Target.
11. Use the Amazon app to keep Target honest.
It’s called sophisticated price matching.
Scan your Target item with the Amazon app while you’re still in the store, and if Amazon is offering it for a lower price, march over to customer service and ask for the Amazon price.
12. Return online purchases to Walmart without waiting in line.
When you make an online Walmart purchase and need to return it, you can do it all without standing in line at customer service or even speaking to a human.
It’s called Mobile Express Returns. Just bring your item to the store, bypass the long line, and scan your smartphone on the console. Leave your item and peace out.
13. Share your Amazon Prime account.
Yep — it’s fine.
You can share a Prime account the same way you share dinner at Olive Garden.
Or you can join Amazon Household if you’re only sharing with your immediate family.
14. Scan everything with the Target app to be sure you get the lowest price.
More often than not, I see a sale price on an item that doesn’t ring up correctly during checkout.
So, think of the Target app like the judge and jury in the Target courtroom — it has the final say. If you can confirm the sale price with the app by scanning your item, just show it on your phone to your cashier, and they’ll honor the lower price.
15. Buy Target-owned brands because you can return them for up to a year.
Target will allow you to return owned-brand items for a full year — for any reason! Like, “My Kindergartner crawls around on the floor and gets holes in his Cat & Jack jeans” is legit.
Popular Target-owned brands like Cat & Jack, Project 62, Ava & Viv, Hearth & Hand, Pillowfort, Universal Thread are all included.
16. Stalk Amazon price histories to get the best deal.
Get your creep on for a good cause — saving money!
Grab the URL of the Amazon item you want to buy and enter it on CamelCamelCamel to find out its price history. You’ll see during the past year when it was most and least expensive.
Use this info to decide if you want to buy now or wait.
17. Don’t fall for deals like “2 for $5” at Target — buy one and still get the sale price.
Go ahead and ignore those signs, because you can get the deal even if you only buy half of what the sale is offering.
For example, if you see a “2 for $5” offer, you can still get one item and only pay $2.50.
18. Use BrickSeek to find low inventory at Walmart and Target.
BrickSeek can be hit or miss but when it works, you feel like the smartest shopper on the planet. And since that’s the whole point, it’s worth a try.
For example, say the Target you’re shopping only has one curtain panel and you need four.
Grab the UPC code off the curtain package and enter it on BrickSeek; you’ll find out right away which Target (if any) has more inventory than the one you’re standing in. Then, ask an associate to call that store and put the items on hold while you scramble across town.
Ditto for curtains at Walmart.
19. Put toilet paper and diapers on autopilot through Amazon or Target and save.
Save up to 15% with Subscribe & Save and 5% with Target Subscriptions, plus free shipping when you use Target Subscriptions.
20. Ask for the cheaper Walmart.com price when you’re in store.
Although Walmart won’t price match competitors, they will price match their own website.
So, if you see a cheaper price on an identical item online at Walmart.com, ask your cashier to honor that price.