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15 Target Shopping Tips & Tricks to Save Money (Online & In-Store)

Target is one of the top 50 companies by revenue in the United States, and the retail giant has been following its “Expect More, Pay Less” slogan since 1994. If you’re a member of the 75% of U.S. households that live within 10 miles of a Target, you probably do a fair amount of shopping at Target as well.

Shopping at Target is a convenient way to enjoy a massive selection at great prices. And if you want to take your frugality one step further to really save money on groceries and household essentials, a number of Target hacks can help cut down on your spending.

Ways to Save Money at Target

Be sure to use at least one of the following Target money-saving tips on your next shopping trip to help keep more money in your wallet.

1. Sign Up for a Target REDcard

The most powerful option shoppers have to save money at Target is signing up for the Target REDcard Debit Card or Target REDcard Credit Card.

Target wants shoppers to visit its stores. So it offers two generous rewards cards that make shopping in-store and online even more affordable.

The Target REDcard Debit and Credit cards are fairly similar and provide the following perks:

  • No Annual Fees. Neither version of the Target REDcard has an annual membership cost or hidden fees, making them the perfect tools for frequent or occasional shoppers to save money at Target.
  • Great Discount Rate. Both cards grant 5% off most in-store and online Target purchases. This discount also extends to clearance items, Target sales, and in-store Starbucks cafes. Pharmacy charges, optical purchases, and nonspecialty gift cards aren’t discounted. However, a 5% discount is better than many cash-back credit cards, and almost every Target purchase is eligible.
  • Unlimited Discounts. Big spenders don’t have to worry about discount limits with a Target REDcard.
  • Free Two-Day Shipping. REDcard holders get free two-day shipping from Target.com. This is perfect if you enjoy shopping online at Target and don’t subscribe to other free-shipping options like Amazon Prime.
  • Extended Return Period. Target REDcard members have an additional 30-day return period for items they purchase. That’s especially useful for big-ticket items such as appliances or furniture. Optical purchases and nonreturnable items aren’t included.
  • REDcard Exclusives. Cardholders receive a 10% discount at Hotels.com, which beats the discounts offered by many hotel rewards cards. Members also receive a one-time 10% discount anniversary bonus one year after opening their account.

The main drawback of both cards is they don’t work outside of Target. However, the unlimited discount potential makes signing up for a REDcard the most lucrative Target hack there is.

The Target REDcard Credit Card requires a credit check when signing up. If you want to build and improve your credit, this card is worth considering. If you’re only interested in discounts and special offers and don’t want another credit card, Target’s REDcard Debit Card is a better pick.

2. Take Advantage of Target Circle

Target Circle is essentially a new version of Target’s previous membership saving program, Cartwheel. Target Circle is free to use. If you already have a Target.com account, previous Cartwheel account, or REDcard, you’ll use the same membership details. Otherwise, you’ll create a Target.com account or share your phone number the next time you check out at Target to join Target Circle.

The main perks of this program include:

  • Cash Back. Target Circle members earn 1% cash back when making in-store and online purchases at Target. This cash back applies to future purchases and doesn’t stack on the 5% discount from a Target REDcard. However, REDcard members still gain the other perks included in this loyalty program, and Target Circle is perfect for shoppers who don’t want another debit or credit card.
  • Personal Discounts. Circle members receive personalized offers and discounts based on their purchase history.
  • Birthday Discount. Circle members enjoy 5% off in-store or online purchases on their birthday.
  • Manufacturer Coupons. Circle Members can easily find manufacturer coupons for products at Target by using the mobile app.

There’s no reason not to use this free loyalty program. Combining Target Circle coupons plus cash back from a REDcard is the ultimate Target hack to save money, and this program doesn’t require much additional effort.

3. Use the Target App

Target Circle is one main money-saving feature of the Target app. However, Target’s app also provides other ways to save money and time.

The Target app makes it easy to browse Circle offers, a Weekly Ad section of current promotions, and exclusive REDcard deals all in one place. Plus, the app lets you check specific product availability at nearby Target stores, streamlining the shopping process from planning to checkout.

The app also has a Drive Up feature, which lets you save time by ordering ahead and having your order brought out to your vehicle. You can also use the Order Pickup feature to ensure your order is waiting for you once you arrive in-store.

4. Shop for Clearance Items

Everyone loves a good deal or discount, and that’s why buying items on clearance is so satisfying. In-store shoppers can find Target deals by carefully browsing aisles for products on clearance. However, the fastest way to find clearance deals at Target is to look online.

Target’s online clearance section is very easy to use. Shopping filters allow you to sort by department or to find products with a 50% discount or more. Plus, REDcard members still have free two-day shipping. Alternatively, free in-store pickup is available.

5. Shop on Specific Days for Markdowns

One of the sneakiest Target hacks to cut down on costs is to only shop on specific days to take advantage of weekly markdowns on specific product categories.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that Target stores follow this markdown schedule each week:

  • Monday: Electronics, kids’ clothing, books, baby supplies, and accessories
  • Tuesday: Pet supplies, food, and women’s clothing
  • Wednesday: Health and beauty products, men’s clothing, furniture, and lawn and garden items
  • Thursday: Shoes, toys, home decor, sporting goods, luggage, and housewares
  • Friday: Cosmetics, jewelry, auto products, and hardware

This markdown schedule is not 100% accurate for every Target location. However, it’s worth paying attention to your local store to see when product categories go on clearance and plan future shopping trips accordingly.

6. Get Creative With Coupons

Saving money with coupons doesn’t have to require hours of weekly planning. If you use a variety of coupon apps and take time to understand a store’s coupon policy, you can easily cut down on your monthly spending.

Couponing at Target is no exception. In fact, Target encourages saving money through its generous coupon policy:

  • Stackable Coupons. Combine one manufacturer coupon, one Target coupon, and one Circle offer per item.
  • Coupon Limits. Use a maximum of four identical coupons per household per day.
  • Internet Coupons. Target accepts valid Internet coupons with scannable barcodes. However, coupons must have a purchase requirement.
  • Storewide and Category Coupons. Target allows one category or storewide coupon per guest per transaction.
  • Buy-One-Get-One (BOGO) Coupons. Shoppers can’t combine BOGO coupons to get both products for free.

The only weakness of Target’s coupon policy is that it doesn’t grant cash overages. However, the ability to stack discounts from manufacturers, Target coupons, and Circle offers is an amazing way to score heavily discounted items.

7. Shop At Target.com & Earn Free Gift Cards

Shopping on Target.com is a savvy way to enjoy free shipping and find clearance items. You can also earn free gift cards by shopping online under the GiftCard with Purchase category.

Many items in this category award between $5 to $20 in free gift cards. Gift card rewards vary depending on your order quantity and offer terms, such as “Buy three, get $5.” Target’s Current Promotions page outlines ongoing GiftCard with Purchase rewards.

You generally have to spend around $75 to $100 on a specific category to unlock a $20 gift card reward. However, stocking up on household essentials should make this threshold easy to accomplish.

Current promotions are subject to change. Visiting the GiftCard with Purchase section on Target.com is the easiest way to quickly find deals, but you must read the current promotions page to understand eligibility requirements.

8. Install a Shopping Browser Extension

There are different types of shopping browser extensions. Some award cash back for shopping at retail partners, while others offer automatic coupons or price comparison features at checkout.

Using one or more of the following browser extensions is another great way to save money when shopping on Target.com. Plus, these discounts or cash-back rewards are stackable with your Target REDcard or other credit card rewards:

  • Capital One Shopping. You can add the Capital One Shopping browser extension and it will automatically apply available coupon codes to your purchase before you check out.
  • Rakuten. Create a free Rakuten account and visit Rakuten before shopping at Target to earn 1% cash back. Rakuten pays quarterly through PayPal, provided you’ve accrued more than $5 in your account.
  • TopCashback. TopCashback is similar to Rakuten. Target shoppers earn 2.25% cash back from TopCashback.
  • Honey. Honey is a free browser extension that automatically applies any eligible coupons at checkout to find savings. Honey awards cash back in the form of Honey Gold points. Honey Gold is redeemable for free gift cards to a variety of merchants, including Target.com.

A bit of cash back and free coupons might not seem significant. However, there’s no harm in installing these shopping extensions to test out how much money you save per year.

9. Always Look for Price-Matching Opportunities

Target is one of several massive U.S. retailers that offer price matching. However, price matching is only useful if you understand the terms and actually ask for price matching at checkout.

Target has a fairly simple price-matching policy:

  • Broad Price Match Eligibility. Target matches in-store prices for identical items from Target.com or local print ads. Additionally, Target also matches select competitors’ prices online. Amazon and Walmart.com are two of these competitors, so you should be able to find price match opportunities with some searching.
  • Time Frame. Price match requests are eligible for 14 days after the original purchase.
  • Excluded Items. Clearance; liquidation; damaged, used, or refurbished items; and items advertised as percent or dollar off aren’t eligible for price matching. Pricing errors or member-only prices are also exempt. Finally, special Target offers, such as Circle offers, gift card offers, or Target coupons, aren’t eligible.

In other words, you can’t price match against products that already have discounts from programs like Circle or many in-store deals. While this limits price matching potential, price matching is still a great way to save money at Target on nondiscounted purchases.

10. Use Target’s Registry Program

Target’s gift registry program lets you easily create a registry for any occasion. Weddings, kids’ wish lists, housewarming events, and baby registries are popular options, but you can also create custom registries to suit your needs.

Most registries don’t come with any perks outside of making it easier for friends and family to purchase gifts together and  track what other gift-givers have already bought. However, Target’s wedding, baby, and college registries let registry owners save up to 15% on unpurchased registry items.

  • Wedding Registry: Receive a coupon for 15% off everything left on your registry the week of your event date.
  • Baby Registry: Receive a 15% off coupon eight weeks before your expected arrival date. Your registry must contain items and be active for 14 days before the expected arrival date to receive this coupon.
  • College Registry: This 15%-off coupon is valid for one online purchase sent to a single address. You must use this coupon before the registry expiration date or your college move-in day.

Registry coupons don’t apply to certain categories, such as gift cards, alcohol, cameras, gaming systems, and certain brands of televisions. However, if you fit into any of the registry categories that grant a 15% coupon, there is massive saving potential for a larger Target bill.

11. Trade In Old Electronics & Gift Cards

There are numerous ways to donate unused electronics or sell old phones and devices for cash. But if you want to save money at Target, the Target Trade-in Program is your best bet.

The process works in four steps:

  1. Find Your Device. Browse Target’s accepted trade-in product list to see if your product qualifies.
  2. Get a Quote. Answer questions about your device’s condition and any accessories to get an instant quote.
  3. Ship for Free. Use a prepaid shipping label to send your device to Target for free.
  4. Earn Target GiftCards. You receive a Target GiftCard within two weeks of Target receiving your device.

Eligible categories for trade-in include smartphones, tablets, consoles, wearable technology, and voice speakers.

The Target Trade-In Program also lets you exchange unwanted gift cards. You can trade in gift cards from dozens of participating brands in exchange for Target GiftCards or PayPal cash. Gift cards must have a balance, and this program is only available at select Target locations. Target GiftCards are redeemable online or in-store, making this an excellent option to turn your unused electronics or unwanted gift cards into another opportunity to save money at Target.

12. Buy Discounted Gift Cards

People receive unwanted gift cards all the time. And there’s an entire industry that focuses on buying and selling them.

If you have a large shopping trip coming up, purchase discounted Target gift cards to save money. Some popular Target gift card exchange websites include:

  • Card Cash. Save up to 9% on Target gift cards.
  • Raise. Save up to 4.05% on Target gift cards.
  • Cardpool. Save up to 8% on Target gift cards.

Target gift cards aren’t always in stock, and discount rates change based on supply and the value of specific cards. Typically, the larger the gift card amount, the larger the discount.

These websites are useful if you want to purchase a big-ticket item at Target, such as an appliance, or if you have an expensive shopping trip coming up.

Discounted Target GiftCards are only redeemable on Target.com, so keep this in mind.

13. Earn Free Gift Cards With Fetch Rewards

There are plenty of mobile coupon apps like Ibotta and Checkout 51 that let shoppers save money on groceries by shopping at certain stores. However, Fetch Rewards, a relatively recent entrant to the world of cash-back apps, makes the process of saving money even easier.

Fetch Rewards lets users earn cash back by shopping for dozens of brands in the United States. Shopping at specific stores doesn’t matter with Fetch Rewards; as long as partner brands appear on your receipt, you earn cash back. All you have to do is scan your receipt with the Fetch Rewards Android or iOS app within 14 days of purchase to earn cash back.

Fetch Reward points are redeemable for a wide variety of gift cards, including gift cards to Target.com. Fetch Rewards has a $3 minimum cash-out threshold, unlike apps like Ibotta that have a $20 minimum. This makes Fetch Rewards a fast and low-effort way to cut down on your grocery bill and save on future Target purchases.

14. Shop Off-Season

Target offers plenty of ways to save money with its annual Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. However, if you’d rather avoid the crowds, buying presents for the holidays throughout the year is another way to snag some great deals. Similarly, shopping off-season or at the end of a season is a great way to save money on clothing.

15. Save 5% With Target Subscriptions

With Target Subscriptions, shoppers gain free shipping and 5% in savings for opting in for automatic delivery on thousands of products. Plus, if you use a Target REDcard, you save an extra 5%. Shopping with your REDcard also gives a total of 15% off for select baby products, diapers, and formula with a subscription order.

You manage your subscriptions through their Target.com account. The process is similar to buying normal products on the website, with the addition of delivery frequency being the main difference. You can easily skip, modify, or cancel a Target subscription through the website or app at any time.

Comparing discounts between Amazon Subscribe & Save and Target Subscriptions is the best way to find savings on products you order multiple times per year. If you want to simultaneously simplify your monthly shopping and save money at Target, subscriptions are certainly worth looking into.


Final Word

Target already offers affordable prices and wide selection. However, if you want to maximize your savings rate, every little bit counts.

The next time you shop at Target, remember to try out one (or more) of these useful saving hacks. Even something as simple as signing up for a Target REDCard or using the mobile app to look for coupons will help you cut down on your next shopping trip.

It might seem trivial at first, but over the course of a year, you might be surprised at how much money you end up saving.

What’s your favorite way to save money when shopping at Target?

Tom Blake
Tom is a freelance writer originally from Toronto, Canada. Tom's passion for finance and discovering methods to make money originally sparked in college when he was trying to make ends meet on a tight budget. Outside of freelance writing, Tom also manages the blog This Online World - a personal finance website dedicated to helping young adults make and save more money.

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