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How to Save Money at Target

Feb. 23, 2017
Managing Money, Personal Finance
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Target’s vast selection and competitive prices make the store a shopper’s paradise. But before you load up your cart, there are a few steps you can take to help maximize your savings.

Take these suggestions into consideration every time you visit Target.

Plan your purchases

One way to save at any retailer is to shop with a purpose. Avoid stopping by a Target location or visiting the website just to browse. You can minimize impulse purchases by setting a budget and drafting a shopping list before you set foot in the store or log in to the website.

Check out the discounts

Once you’ve made your list, there are a few places to look for discounts. Using your smartphone, tablet or computer, you can start here:

  • Look for storewide offers of 5% to 50% off in-store items on Target’s free Cartwheel app. Search for discounts by category or keyword, or by scanning a product’s bar code with your phone. You can use Cartwheel offers with other Target coupons and manufacturer coupons.
  • Click on the “deals” tab on the website’s homepage and you’ll see a drop-down menu. From there, you can access Target’s weekly ad, clearance page, top deals, Cartwheel page and printable coupons.
  • Take a peek atTarget’s help page to see current online and in-store promotions including sales, shipping offers and a list of items that include a gift card with purchase.
  • Subscribe to the email list to get exclusive Target offers and weekly ad alerts.

There are other ways for in-store shoppers to search for discounts, no technology required. For example, most Target stores have a dollar section where you can find rotating bargains on stationery, decor, tableware, accessories and other items. This area is usually toward the front of the store, near the registers.

You can also seek out clearance items, which normally are placed at the back of each department or at the end of the aisles.

Pick the right time to shop

There are certain times throughout the year when you’re likely to find sales at Target. Like most retailers, Target hosts sales around seasonal events and major holidays like the Fourth of July and Easter. Among the standout occasions are:

  • Black Friday: Target is known for offering some of the best deals on electronics like TVs, cameras, video game consoles and Apple products around Thanksgiving.
  • Back-to-school season: You can score deeply discounted clothing, pencils, notebooks and more during the summer. In August 2016, school supplies sold for as low as 99 cents.

Consider a REDcard rewards card

If you frequently shop the bull’s-eye brand, it might make sense to get a Target store credit card or debit card. The REDcard’s perks include discounts on Target purchases and an extended return period. But before you apply, make sure this is the best option for you.

Use price matching

If there are no sales or offers available for the item you’re looking for, don’t give up just yet. You may be able to use price matching to save money. Use an app or browser extension to compare prices among retailers. If you find a cheaper price on the same product at a competitor like Amazon or Best Buy, Target may honor it.

Target’s price match guarantee states: “We’ll match the price if you buy a qualifying item at Target then find the identical item for less at, select online competitors, or in Target’s or a competitor’s local print ad. Price matches may be requested at time of purchase or price adjustments within 14 days after purchase.”

Trade in your old gadgets

The Target Tech Trade-In Program lets you swap electronics you no longer use for Target gift cards. Qualifying items include cell phones, video game consoles, wearables and tablets. Bring your item to a Target store and an employee will determine the amount to put on a gift card. You can also make trade-ins online by following the instructions here.

Before you shop

There are plenty of ways to save money at Target. Try to time your purchase around a sale, look for coupons and check discount sections for the items on your list. When there are no applicable markdowns, consider other money-saving options like price matching, trade-ins and the store’s rewards card. For more information on shopping the retailer, check out our Target store guide.

Lauren Schwahn is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @lauren_schwahn.