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In-Depth Guide to Saving Money at Target

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Target Shopping Guide

Target has a very loyal fanbase. It’s positioned itself as a place to get everything, stock-full of stylish options for everyone. In recent years, they’ve expanded to carrying groceries in more and more locations as well. Target stores vary by location. There are normal Targets, Super Targets and City Targets, but these shopping strategies will work at all of them. Target has great prices to begin with, for the most part, but you can save some money without trying very hard at all, and you can save a ton of money if you’re able to put a little more effort forth.

Target’s Cartwheel app is the best, and possibly easiest, way to save money at Target. It was one of the first apps for shopping in-store that had great functionality, and it’s been around for a few years, so any kinks there may have been at the beginning have largely been worked out now. It’s very easy to sign up for Cartwheel. You can use Facebook, Google, or your email to sign up. You can find offers by browsing through categories, by searching for an item, or even by scanning the barcode of an item you have in your hand as you shop. If there’s an offer you want to use, you can add it to “My Cartwheel” in the app, and then when you get to the checkout, have the cashier scan it. The discounts come off your total automatically. Discounts are typically around 5 percent, but can certainly be higher. There are discounts on all kinds of products and brands, and you’ll often get a discount if you’re willing to buy Target’s generic brand items. There are sometimes offers on the Cartwheel website that aren’t available on the app, so check there too.

Are you a couponer? Target is very cool with that. They’re actually one of the most coupon-friendly stores in the country. They allow you to stack coupons, which can add up to extremely good deals. You can use one manufacturer coupon, one Target coupon and one Cartwheel offer on an item total. Check in the paper and online for manufacturer coupons. Target mails out ads and also advertises in newspapers, so you can find their coupons there. Target also distributes catalina coupons, which print out in the store and are handed to you along with your receipt. Sometimes stacking one each of this type of discount when an item is already on sale can get you an item for next to nothing. Be careful when you’re using lots of coupons at Target, because their lax rules make them a big target in coupon fraud. Always coupon by the book. Carrying their coupon policy with you is a really good habit to get into if you’re shopping there a lot, because you want to be prepared if you come across a new cashier who isn’t informed of the policy.

Target offers free gift cards with purchase on a fairly regular basis. You have to buy a specific item, usually in a specific quantity, and you get a gift card back, just like that! They’re often in pretty low denominations, of course, like $5 or $10, but can be up to $20 or so on more expensive items. This is where you can actually start to make money on items, referred to as “moneymakers.” If you’re buying an item that’s already on sale, you have each type of coupon you’re allowed to have, and then you’re also getting a gift card back, sometimes you end up coming out ahead. Just know that you usually can’t use the gift card on the same day you receive it.

You can find really good clearance prices at Target as well. There are excellent post-holiday clearance sales that you’ll definitely want to take advantage of. Have you noticed the seasonal section in your local Target? It’s usually several aisles dedicated to whatever holiday or concept is in season at the time, and there’s a whole lot of product packed into those aisles. Once the holiday is over, they need to get rid of the items really quickly, so they mark them down drastically — sometimes up to 90 percent off. These are good times to buy decorations for next year, but you can also get things like paper plates for pennies. Now, yes, these things will be out of season, but for that huge of a discount, it might be worth it to you. Target also has clearance on its regular items. Check the ends of the aisles in each department. Sometimes one or two of the endcaps will be devoted to clearance items. They’re sometimes messy and there’s not much rhyme or reason to them, but you can find some great deals there.

If you shop at Target a lot, you might also want to consider signing up for a Red Card. You can choose to sign up for the credit card or the debit card version. The credit card is self-explanatory, but the debit card is just linked to your bank account. The perks for the Red Card are amazing. You get 5 percent off every single purchase you make with it, as well as free shipping online. Five percent doesn’t feel like a lot, but it really adds up if you shop there a lot. You can also sign up for Target Pharmacy rewards to save 5 percent off your first prescription as well as to receive extra coupons in the mail.

Jason Feller is a seasoned writer and journalist who now blogs about couponing tips and shopping strategies for Dealspotr.com, a leading online community for bargain hunters. 

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