12 Secrets for Shopping at Target

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Closeup of row of Target store shopping carts
Photo credit: krblokhin/istockphoto

Target customers are known for their loyalty -- and for good reason. Once they get a feel for the store and its website, Target shoppers realize that there are at least a dozen ways to save real money that newbies might not know about. Target likes to give back to its customers -- you just have to know the inside tricks.

Target Cartwheel app
Photo credit: Courtesy of corporate.target.com

Cartwheel, which is now part of the main Target app, is Target's all-in-one savings tool, which the store claims has saved shoppers nearly $1.2 billion so far. Just download the app and start saving in two ways. Either choose offers within the app for up to 50 percent off or have the clerk scan your barcode at checkout to see if you can save on anything you're buying that day.
Target REDcard
Photo credit: Courtesy of target.com

Like many retailers, Target has its own credit card -- but no other store offers the REDcard. REDcard links to your existing debit card, so you don't have to apply for a card, open a new account, or have a lender check your credit. Just connect REDcard to your debit card and you'll save a full 5 percent every time you shop, every day of the week.
A hand with a marker writing 'Price Match Guarantee!'
Photo credit: Castleski/shutterstock

If you buy something at Target and then see it on sale somewhere for less in the next two weeks, Target will reimburse you for the difference upon request through its price-matching program. This is true whether you see the cheaper item in a competitor's local print ad, on the website of a select competitor, or on Target.com.
Out of Stock sign on an empty store shelf
Photo credit: pedphoto36pm/istockphoto

If a sale item you want is out of stock, Target will give you a rain check, which is good for 30 to 45 days, depending on your state. There are some exclusions, but rain checks are good at any Target store, and they'll offer substitutes whenever possible if the original item never comes back.
Target's Bullseye's Playground section
Photo credit: bullseye's playground by l_dawg2000 (None)

Formerly known as The One Spot, Bullseye's Playground is Target's name for highly visible discount bins at the front of Target stores. Bullseye's Playground is filled with stuff mostly priced between $1 and $5. Check there for the cheapest seasonal and holiday goods, as well as non-holiday time-of-year deals, like discounted back-to-school supplies. Don't live near a store? Bullseye's Playground is now online.
Target's reusable bag
Photo credit: 9.26.09 Going Red, I Mean Green by christie.co (None)

Like so many of today's corporations, Target is eager to show off its green movement bona fides. Aside from touting the use of sustainable cotton in its clothing and reduced packaging on its boxed products, Target gives shoppers 5 cents for each reusable bag they bring instead of bagging with paper or plastic.
Home office laptop and printer
Photo credit: FabrikaCr/istockphoto

Target counts itself among the stores that accept online coupons, including those from a manufacturer and other valid sites, that its customers print at home. Target will accept printed Internet coupons as long as they have a barcode that can be scanned and they're not for free items that don't require a purchase.
Free shipping button on keyboard
Photo credit: Tashatuvango/istockphoto

If you do your shopping online, there are two ways you can get free shipping from Target. First, simply spend $35 -- that's enough to qualify for free shipping on most orders. The other way is to pay for any order, no matter how much you spend, with a Target REDcard.
Target mobile coupon
Photo credit: Courtesy of target.com/target-app

You can use coupons you have on your phone to get discounts when you shop at Target, provided the coupon can be scanned by a cashier at checkout. Mobile coupons are only good in stores, but if your phone coupon comes with a promo code, you can use it at Target.com.
Target clearance section
Photo credit: Clearance aisle of home decor goods by l_dawg2000 (None)

According to All Things Target, Target shoppers would be wise to train their eyes to look for red stickers -- those are reserved for clearance items. When you see one, look in the lower right hand corner to see what the price is, the lower left hand corner to see what it was, and check the upper right hand corner if you don't want to do math -- that's where the tag states the percentage you'll save.
Woman looking at laptop at home
Photo credit: valentinrussanov/istockphoto

If you're heading to the store, make sure you stop by Target.com before you shop. Target maintains and frequently refreshes a massive database of printable coupons on its website. You can sort them by value or expiration date, and if you know what you're looking for, you can even search within the database for the brand or item you want.
woman writing on calendar
Photo credit: Dmytro Zinkevych/shutterstock

According to All Things Target, different days bring different discounts at Target. Shop for electronics and accessories on Monday, women's clothing, and pet food on Tuesday; men's clothing, health and beauty items on Wednesday; houseware and sporting goods on Thursday; and auto goods, cosmetics, jewelry, and hardware on Friday.

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