There are a lot of ways to show one’s love for Target, but I prefer the old-fashioned way: throwing money at it.
And I feel a lot better about giving Target my money when I’m getting at least 50% off everything I buy. This equates to more items in my little red cart and less green stuff coming out of my purse.
So, keep giving Target your money, by all means, but use this strategy to get twice as much as you did before. Here’s how:
1. Sign up for Target REDcard (it’s a free debit card!) for access to cardholder-only deals.
This really is a must-have. It’s not a credit card — it’s linked to your checking account, so there’s no interest rate or annual fee at all. It’s literally free money and the closest thing Target has to a store loyalty program.
You’ll get 5% back on every purchase, free two-day shipping and exclusive access to certain deals and promos. Like, the week before Black Friday when Beats Studio Wireless headphones were only $151.99 (reg. price $379.99) for REDcard holders only.
Apply now and you’ll thank me when Target starts handing out insane deals to REDcard holders this fall.
2. Save 5% on your Starbucks drink when you pay with your REDcard.
3. Or use your Target gift card to buy your Starbucks.
It’s true, at the Starbucks inside your Target, you can use those Target gift cards you got when you did the Meat and Seafood gift card promo. Or the baby promo. Or use the gift card you got for Christmas.
4. Use your REDcard and get an instant 5% discount on brands that rarely go on sale. (Think: Disney or Apple!)
The easiest way to get a discount on rarely discounted brands and items is to buy gift cards with your REDcard. This gives you an immediate 5% discount. For example, buy Disney gift cards with your REDcard and use them to purchase Disneyland tickets. Or buy Apple gift cards and use them to purchase Apple products.
5. Shop Bullseye’s Playground instead of other departments and save up to 80%.
Bullseye’s Playground is that little spot at the front of the store where all items are priced at $1-$5. Of course, not everything is cheaper (pencils and bubbles, I’m looking at you), but many things are. In fact, I found five items that are quite a steal when you buy them at the Playground instead of another Target department.
6. Return items from any of the Target-owned brands for up to one year.
There are tons of these brands for items in every Target department. Here’s a list of the brands (click on “What are the Target Owned Brands?” to see). A few of the more popular names are Cat&Jack, Circo, Cherokee, Project62, Threshold, Xhiliration and Hearth and Hand (yes! Chip and Joanna’s new line for Target).
7. Use the Target app to dominate Circle offers and save up to 75%.
Newbies? Circle is a goldmine of discounts inside the Target app. You’ll see percent-off and dollar-off discounts on everything from olives to outerwear and LaCroix to leotards — all the things.
Just tap which offer you want to use, and it’ll be saved in “My Lists,” then show your phone to the cashier so they can scan your unique Circle barcode (or scan it yourself when you use self-checkout).
8. Learn to coupon using only your smartphone at Target. (AKA: the easy way!)
Download the KCL app first, and peruse current Target deals and the Target Weekly Deals post that lives at the top of that page. We’ll tell you what the best deals are at Target that week, and we’ll also help you figure out which apps to use — it’ll all depend on the deal you want to do. Next, download the rest of the apps and use them along with the Target app and the KCL app.
TIP: For a more in-depth beginner’s guide to couponing at Target, read our Free Quick Start Guide to Couponing. We tried to simplify couponing so anyone — no matter how new you are to couponing — can cut through any confusion and get going.
9. Don’t fall for “2 for $4” deals; you only need to buy one to get the sale price.
This goes for “2 for $7” sales (you can get them separately for $3.50 each) and any other “2 for. . .” sales. Conversely, the “when you buy 3” sales require you to buy three of the item in order to get the discount.
10. Use the Target app to find out if your item is in stock at another store in your city.
Just shop for your item in-app. If it shows up as “out of stock” at your local Target, tap “Find at another store” to see if you can get it anywhere else in your city.
TIP: You can also use the app to scan barcodes and do price checks. Note that the app isn’t always correct when it comes to clearance tags. In fact, store tags are usually more accurate (and lower!) than the app. Another option is to use the scanners you see around the store.
11. Or use BrickSeek to find out if another Target store has inventory.
For example, if you’re trying to buy items for a complete bedding line but your Target is missing the curtains and a few throw pillows, use BrickSeek to see if there’s another Target carrying them.
TIP: If this is a bust, pick up the phone and call Target. You’ll need to give the store the DPCI inventory code, which KCL always provides when we write Target clearance deal posts. It’s a nine-digit number. Having this handy will make it easier for your Target associate to see if there’s any clearance inventory. Then ask Guest Services to put it on hold, and head over to the store!
12. Get a rain check if an in-store item you want is out of stock.
Yep. You’ll get the sale price for the following 30-45 days for any item your Target doesn’t have in stock in the store. There are a few exceptions like no rain checks for music, DVDs or cell phones. And “price cut” items are often excluded. Read the fine print on the sale tag at your store to be sure.
13. Shop on Sundays to get first dibs on grocery and household items.
Target’s sale cycles run Sunday-Saturday, so the best time to jump on deals in the grocery/household departments is Sunday. You’ll find fresh deals and the best selection.
And I’m kinda not kidding about this. Once I tried to do a Schick razor deal at my local Target and made the mistake of waiting until Monday. They were sold out. Happy ending: the store called the other Target in my city and I still got my razors. But, lesson learned!
14. Shop the week after a holiday and save up to 70%.
Here’s how the holiday clearance schedule shakes down:
- First day after a holiday: Non-food items are marked down 50%; food and candy are marked 30% off. This sale lasts three days.
- Fourth day after the holiday: Non-food items are marked down 70%; food and candy are marked 50% off. This sale also lasts about three days.
- Seventh day after the holiday: Food and candy hits 70% off. This lasts about two days.
Holiday food and candy only hits 70% off, never 90% off.
15. Stock up on toys in January, July and December to save at least 50%.
During the second or third week in January and July, Target has a semi-annual toy clearance sale. You’ll start seeing 30% off toys. The sale then goes to 50% off and quickly to 70% off.
Toys go fast so if there’s something you really want, it’s best to get it at the 50% markdown. The good stuff is gone once it hits 70%.
Another good time to stock up is during the holidays when you can save 40-70% on popular brands like Nerf, Star Wars, American Girl, Melissa & Doug, and more.
16. Return unopened items (and select opened ones, like makeup) for up to 90 days.
Most items have a 90-day return policy. There are a few items Target will let you return even if they’re opened — makeup is one of them. Otherwise, keep your receipt and don’t open the item unless you’re for sure in love with it.
17. Decode clearance tags in order to find out how much you’re actually saving.
Look in the upper right-hand corner of a clearance tag, and you’ll see a number (15, 30, 40, 50, 70 or 90). This is the percent-off amount.
18. Look for 70%-off items sitting on 30%-off clearance racks.
Always comb through the racks and look at the tags to find out how much you’re saving — never trust the signs. If you really love something but it doesn’t seem to have as big of a discount as you’d like, use scanners located around the store to double-check if it’s cheaper than the tag indicates. Sometimes the system updates the discounted items before Target team members can update the tags.
19. Price tags with 15, 30, 40 or 50 in the upper right corner may get more markdowns.
These aren’t final markdowns, so if inventory seems good, you can push your luck and try waiting for that 70% markdown. It’s risky, though, since you don’t know if the item will get to 70% off — not all items do. Fifty percent off is a fair deal on Target clearance, so you might want to cut your losses and buy at that price.
20. Price tags with 70 or 90 in the upper right corner are final markdowns.
These price tags can end in 4 or 8, but ultimately it matters less what the last digit of the price is and more that it’s a 70-90% markdown. If you see a “70” in the corner, that’s the final markdown for that item.
Holiday and seasonal items are the only items that reach 90% off.
21. Stickers on items that say “As-Is,” “Repackage” or “Online Item” are usually online or no-longer-in-stock returns.
“As-Is” items may have missing pieces or be broken, so heads up about that. Good news is you can still return these.
“Repackage” items usually just have damaged packaging. Same thing — feel free to return it if it doesn’t work for you.
“Online Item” stickers mean that an item was bought online and returned to the store.
These three categories of clearance are discounted, because Target is hoping they’ll sell fast since they’re not items currently in stock at the store. You can find these mixed in with other clearance items on end-caps throughout the store.
22. Use the Amazon app to keep Target honest, and request a price match if Amazon is cheaper!
You can scan any item at Target with the Amazon app and find out if Amazon offers it for a lower price. If so, ask Target to give you the Amazon price.
In fact, this works for any of Target’s online competitors. Just request a price match at checkout for any regular price items. You can’t price match clearance, and Target won’t price match clearance from Target.com. Boo.
23. Go ahead and use a manufacturer coupon and a price match together.
Most stores require you to choose between using a coupon or a price match on an item. Not Target! You can use a manufacturer coupon with a price match, but you can’t use a Circle offer or store coupons, BOGO free or gift card promotions with a price match.
24. Shop online and use Target Subscriptions to save 5%.
Similar to Amazon’s Subscribe and Save. This works best for items that routinely need replaced, because you can “set it and forget it,” making it so motor oil or baby formula arrives on your doorstep right when you’re running low. Change the items you subscribe to at any time.
TIP: Use your REDcard and save an additional 5% on Target Subscriptions for a total of 10% savings.
25. Exchange used electronics (tablets, phones, mp3 players) for Target gift cards.
Target will take certain used electronics and other-retailer’s gift cards and give you a Target gift card in exchange. (Review the list of electronics and retailer gift cards Target accepts.)
You won’t get the highest value for your gaming console this way, but it’s a great way to offload items you don’t feel you have time to sell and haggle with a buyer over.
26. Lose your receipt and still get free assembly and replacement parts when you buy Target-brand furniture.
The program is called myTGThome, and the best part about it is you don’t even need your receipt to get replacement parts for your Target-brand furniture. For up to one year, you can just request what you need, no questions asked.
One word of caution: There are negative reviews of this service around the web, and some people say it took twice as long to get a response from myTGThome than they said it would.
27. Plan one big shopping trip to use your 15% off registry completion coupon.
If you create a registry for a baby shower or a wedding, you’ll receive two separate 15% off coupons via email to use on your remaining registry items. You’ll get one to spend on an online purchase and one to use on an in-store purchase.
College registries will receive one 15% off coupon to use online only. Plan to make one big purchase (two for wedding or baby) in order to maximize the coupon. You can use other offers alongside the registry completion coupon; you just cannot use another sitewide discount (% off an entire purchase). But go ahead and go crazy with your department-specific Circles and manufacturer coupons.
Registry completion coupons expire after six months and will be sent as follows:
- Baby: Eight weeks before your expected arrival date.
- College: One week after you create your registry.
- Wedding: The week of your event date.
28. Target’s Restock is the same concept as Amazon Prime Pantry.
You fill up a box with non-perishable goods like toilet paper, dishwasher detergent, etc. and Target will deliver it to you. One notable difference is that each delivery is guaranteed to reach your door by the next day (if you place an order by 7p.m. on a weekday). Prime Pantry takes 1-4 days to reach you, and if you don’t pay $4.99 monthly for the service, you’ll pay $5.99 for a one-time shipment.
Right now Restock is available in Denver, Dallas, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C./Baltimore area.
29. Use coupons that say “redeemable at Walmart” when you shop at Target.
30. Bring your plastic Target bags back and reuse them to save $0.05 per bag.
Target will give you $0.05 back for every reusable Target bag you use at the store. But even cooler? You can bring your plastic Target bags back to the store and use them over and over again and get the $0.05 discount as well. So I’d skip purchasing Target reusables and just bring back your old bull’s-eye plastic bags!
Be sure to tell the cashier you’re using your own bags, but they can apply the discount anytime during your transaction.