10 Secrets to Saving Money for the Target Obsessed (like me!)

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I remember as a little girl there was a huge store in our area called Gemco.  And then one day it became Target.  My mom called it “Tar-get” like with a French accent.  I didn’t think much of it then but now I could probably pull a “Where the Heart” is and move into the camping section.   I’m pretty sure they know me by name since I’m there at least once a week.  And when they added groceries to our Target, that was it.  Why go anywhere else?  Since I’m there so much (have you noticed on Instagram?), I have learned some simple tips and tricks to get the most for my money and thought I’d share my tips for saving money with you.  Anyone else big puffy heart love Target?

10 Tips for Saving Money at Target from www.thirtyhandmadedays.com


This is tied directly to your debit card/checking account.  It takes a minute and then you get 5% off every time you use it.  You also can get free shipping online and better returns.  You get an extra 30 days to get something back for a return.
When I was at Target my check out guy asked me if I had a red card and I said “Oh yes!” and he said “You’d be amazed at how many people are skeptical and just don’t have one.”  And I went off about how much I love it.  His response was “We just need you standing here to tell everyone about it.”  Ha!  I can’t tell you how easy this is and how much I love getting a little extra off for no work on end.
Note – there are Target credit cards and Target red cards.  I’m referring to the red card/debit card.  I don’t have a Target credit card.


Did you know that Target has days that they usually mark things down?  While it can vary state to state and Target to Target, these are the guidelines:

Target Markdown Schedule for saving money from www.thirtyhandmadedays.comDownload this printable guideline.

Target usually marks things down every two weeks in increments of 15/30/50/70% off.  But for holiday markdowns (more on that below), they speed up this process with just a few days in between markdowns.  So if you want to get holiday stuff on clearance, don’t wait!


Check out how to read the price tag.  Based on what the number is at the end of the tag, you know if it’s really the lowest deal.
If it ends in a $0.06 or $0.08 it’ll be marked down again.  But if it ends in a $0.04 it’s the best you’ll ever get.

Target will match the price of identical items found within 7 days of purchase.  You can bring in a printed ad or show the online competitor’s price.  It has to be the exact model number. Online competitors are limited to Amazon.com, Walmart.com, BestBuy.com, ToysRUs.com, and BabiesRUs.com.

Read more about price matching guidelines.

I used to be into couponing way back in the day before it was really a thing.  Before there were shows about cheapskates and all that.  It was insane the amount of things I got for little to nothing with some prep time.  I no longer coupon really because I don’t have the time for it.  But if I’m at Target and I see a coupon text sign I do it immediately.  It takes 3 seconds to text and if I’m getting something anyway, might as well get a little discount on it.  You can also sign up for mobile coupons to be sent to you.

Save with Cartwheel

Target Cartwheel App

I have dabbled a little with Cartwheel.  It’s another one that takes some time to figure out which deals will work for you.  Sometimes I sit in my car and look at the deals before I head in.  Other times I see signs at the store while I’m there and add things to my cart on Cartwheel.  But there are definitely savings to be had.  Check out Cartwheel tips from Passion for Savings.

In years past, Target has held a secret (but not really a secret anymore) Toy Sale on January 12th and 13th and July 28th and 29th.  I have friends who stock up on toys during those sales and keep a “gift closet.”  They get as much as they can and then go to the gift closet for birthday parties, holidays, etc.  I think that’s a genius idea if you are a planner.
There are also holiday sales/clearance. The day after a holiday (Christmas has some exceptions), all holiday stuff gets marked down.  It goes down by 30-50%.  A few days later they mark it down to 50-70%.  And then it’s eventually marked down to 90%.


A photo posted by Mique/30daysblog (@30daysblog) on

I picked up up these beauties from our Dollar spot!

Whoever decided to add the Dollar Spot to Target is a genius.  I can’t ever just walk by without stopping there because I know I will always find something.  And it’s just a dollar, so I have to.  They started getting sneaky by adding $3 and $5 items in there too.  There are adorable things for holidays, organization, stationary, school supplies and more.
On the barcode of a dollar spot item there is a symbol.  For example – black diamond, red dot, blue dot, etc.  When things go on clearance from the Dollar Spot there aren’t any stickers, they just use signs to let you know.  So it’ll say 50% off all black diamond items.   They group things by when they are added to the dollar spot.  So all the red dots came in on the same day, all the black diamonds, etc.


I’m all about a deal (if this post wasn’t obvious).  If I can get the same look with makeup for less money and not have to deal with a makeup counter, even better! Find out all the of details on how to shop the beauty aisles.

And just for fun — this post from Scary Mommy is hilarious! The 7 Stages of Going to Target with Children.

Looking for other budgeting/money saving tips?
Tops Credit Tips from a Bill Collector - what is FICO? How do you achieve good credit? www.thirtyhandmadedays.com
Guide to Excellent Credit

Month at a Glance- part of the ultimate Budget Binder from www.thirtyhandmadedays.com
Ultimate Budget Binder

Teaching kids about money - guidelines for teaching kids about money to be successful
Teaching Kids About Money



  1. says

    Target lets their customer stack coupons; which means I use a manufactures coupon and a Target coupon on the same item. However, sometimes when I go to get Target coupons on their site, they are no longer available because they only issue a certain amount. Do you know what day(s) Target lists new coupons? I would like to know this so I can get my coupons earlier before they run out. Please advise. Thanks!

  2. Chelsea says

    I love everything and agree with all except the tag says it all section. I mean, YES, the tag says it all, but it has nothing to do with the number it ends in. At all. It has everything to do with the formula/percentage discount in the upper right. A number will end in 4 based on what number it started at. If there’s any stock left after it starts going to clearance it’ll continue to decline in price until it’s at 70% off, as indicated by the number in the upper right. Very rarely you’ll even find something marked down lower than that, like at 85% off. Today I bought two children’s dish sets for 67¢ each, originally $8.99. At 15% off it would have been $7.64. It’s all about the percentage marked! Everything else is perfect. Also! If you have a coupon for something you bought and you happen to have left it in the car and remember after you’ve already checked out, they have a “missed coupon” policy. You have 72hours (down to the hour!) to go back in with your receipt and the coupon and they’ll refund you the value of the coupon!

  3. Rachel says

    I love Target too! I say it’s my happy place :) I have the red card also and it’s awesome. I love that you can see your savings for the year on your receipt. Thanks for all of your suggestions!

  4. Katie says

    I thought toy markdowns were on Thursday. Do you know if this has changed? I’ve investigated it in Minnesota, Kansas, and California.

    • Chelsea says

      It varies from region to region. For example, my store (in Kansas) marks down children’s clothes either Fridays or Mondays, depending on who’s working and the workload, according to the dept manager I asked.

  5. Patsy says

    Thanks for this helpful advice. I’ve never heard of the dollar spot, though. Is it in the same place at every target?
    Thanks again!

    • Kristen says

      It’s usually right when you walk in the door. If your Target has 2 entries, it’s most likely the one by the clothes. :)