From its humble beginnings as a single department store in Roseville, Minnesota in 1962, Target has grown to nearly 2,000 stores nationwide today. And there’s good reason why there’s so much demand for Target stores: the popular retailer delivers on its mission to “Expect More, Pay Less” by offering low prices on brand name goods as well as its dozens of high-quality Target private labels. Plus, Target makes shopping fun and easy with stores that are modern, bright and organized and a website and app that are simple to navigate. All making it easy to save money shopping at Target.
But even still, it’s happened to the best of us: you walk in to Target to buy one $5 item and leave having spent at least $200. Thankfully, Target continually creates new ways for shoppers to save even more money, including their Target RedCard that gives shoppers 5% off purchases, the Target Circle rewards program that gives shoppers 1% off purchases and free Target gift card offers.
In fact, there are so many ways to save cash at Target, money-saving pros want to make sure that you’re taking advantage of all of them! Read on for expert advice on how to save money shopping at Target.
1. Score big benefits with the Target RedCard
If you’re a fan of rewards cards that help you save money and you’re a regular Target shopper, you may want to consider getting the Target RedCard, which you can get as a credit, debit or reloadable card.
“I think it’s a great card if you do a lot of your shopping at Target because you get a lot of nice perks for a card with no annual fee,” says money-saving expert Jim Wang, founder of WalletHacks.com.
The biggest benefit is that you get an immediate 5% off most purchases made at Target stores or at Target.com. “Some cards, like the Amazon.com card, will give you 5% in reward points or cash back, but Target avoids those games and gives you 5% off at the register,” he notes.
And there are other perks! “You also get free 2-day shipping and an additional 30 days for returns and exchanges as well as 2% rewards on dining and gas and 1% everywhere else outside of Target,” says Wang.
On top of all that, a Target RedCard also gets you 5% off Starbucks purchases at any in-store Target location, 5% off specialty gift cards for travel, restaurants and movie tickets, 5% off for Drive Up Target purchases, 5% off Shipt same-day delivery for orders made on Target.com and other exclusive savings.
2. Save cash by joining the Target Circle rewards program
The Target Circle rewards program is free to join, easy to use and can save you a bundle every time you visit a Target store in person or online.
“Target Circle is a must if you shop at Target!” insists extreme couponer and deal hunter Shayna Farnan. “Once you’re a Target Circle member, you will have access to hundreds of digital coupons that you can clip to save money,” she says.
You’ll also get special offers and deals customized to your Target shopping habits and in response to your Target.com searches.
Another bonus: If you’re not using a Target RedCard, then you can earn 1% cash back on eligible purchases made in-store or online, which you can redeem on your next Target visit.
Plus, on your birthday you’ll receive 5% off an entire shopping purchase.
3. Nab digital coupons when you download the Target app
When shopping online at Target.com, Target Circle members can add digital coupons directly to their account by visiting Target.com/circle/offers.
And if you’re shopping in person, taking advantage of these Target Circle offers is as easy as downloading the free Target app.
In addition to displaying the current top Target deals and weekly ad, the app allows Target Circle members to add digital coupons to your account so you can use them when shopping in-store.
To redeem these digital coupons, tap the wallet tab in the app and show the wallet to the cashier. And when using self-checkout, enter your mobile number on the keypad or use the hand scanner to scan your Target Circle barcode.
Download the free Target app from the App Store or Google Play. Or follow the link from here.
4. Get extra savings by combining coupons
Target wants to help you save as much as you can when shopping, so the store lets you combine (or stack) coupons for extra savings. According to their coupon policy, you can combine one manufacturer coupon (paper or digital), one Target coupon (paper or digital) and one Target Circle offer per item.
On top of that, if you find Internet coupons with scannable barcodes, Target will accept them as long as they are valid. Look for online coupons at free deal websites, such as RetailMeNot.com and SlickDeals.net.
5. Enlist Target’s Price Match Guarantee
Target wants to make sure they offer the lowest prices on clothing, housewares and other items. So, they offer their Price Match Guarantee to ensure it. This means they’ll match the price of an identical qualifying product found at select online retail competitors (such as Amazon.com, Costco.com and Walmart.com) and in Target’s print ad or a competitor’s local print ad. You can check out the full list of stores that Target will price match here.
Also smart: “Always check the online price before buying anything in store,” advises money-saving pro Andrea Woroch. “Sometimes, Target.com’s prices for select products are cheaper and the store will price match its online deals,” she says.
Price matches may be requested at time of purchase or within 14 days after purchase.
To request a price match when at a Target store:
1. Visit the checkout and request a price match.
2. Show proof of the price you want to match, which can include the entire printed ad, digital ad or retailer’s primary website. Photos and photocopies are not accepted.
3. Bring the original receipt if you already purchased the item.
To request a price match online at Target.com:
1. Call customer service at 800-591-3869. Or chat online at ContactUs.Target.com, then select Target.com Order Experience in the dropdown menu, then “Chat Now”.
2. Have proof of the current price you want to match ready, such as the digital ad, approved retailer’s website or Target store price. Photos and photocopies are not accepted.
3. Have your order number and item information ready.
Some rules and restrictions apply. Find out more about Target’s Price Match Policy.
6. Receive a price adjustment when a Target price drops
Whenever you buy a product at Target, it’s worth keeping track of its price for the following two weeks. That’s because the retailer will give you a price adjustment if the price drops within 14 days of your purchase. This means you can get refunded the difference between the amount you paid and the current lower cost.
Even better? “During the winter holidays, starting around October through end of December, Target does not limit the amount of time you have to request a price adjustment,” says Woroch. Dubbed the “Holiday Price Match Guarantee,” this ensures that you get the best price at Target all season long.
“Getting prices adjusted is super-easy for online purchases as you can just call Target.com Guest Services at 800-591-3869,” says Woroch. “In-store is also easy,” she assures. “Just go to customer service, show your receipt (or access it in your app or with your credit card) and they will adjust the price based on the current price and the money goes back to your account. I can’t even tell you how much I’ve saved by paying attention!”
Some exclusions do apply to Target’s price adjustment policy, which you can find here.
7. Request a rain check for a sold-out Target product
Frustrated when a product you want at a Target store goes on sale, but lots of other shoppers loved the low price, too, so now it’s sold out? “Target issues paper rain checks so you can get that same deal at a later date,” says Farnan. The rain check entitles you to that current day’s sale price for the next 30 to 45 days (it varies by state) and can be used at any Target store.
Can’t find the exact item that’s sold out? Target allows substitutes whenever possible except for music, movie and software titles. Ask a store team member for help making a substitution for the product you want.
Bear in mind, there are some exclusions for rain checks. These include Target.com sales as well as Clearance, Price Cut, Temporary Price Cut and Everyday Low Price items that are not included in the weekly ad. Also, promotions that state “No Rain Checks” can’t be rain-checked.
8. Grab bargains with Target clearance deals
At Target stores, you won’t find a single dedicated clearance section. Instead, products that have been marked down for clearance are scattered throughout the store.
Luckily, there are clues that make it easy to spot these reduced-price bargains fast. “These items will have a yellow sticker with the discounted price,” says Woroch. Plus, there’s one place to look in the store where you’ll usually find them: “End caps of the products aisle,” she says.
Shopping for clearance items online at Target.com? Unlike inside stores, you can find clearance sales grouped all in one place, making it easy to find a great deal in a jiffy. Simply head to the Target.com Clearance section.
9. Cut the cost of food, clothing and more with Target’s private brands
Target prides itself on its more than 45 private labels (which it calls “owned brands”) for a wide selection of high-quality products. Just a few include clothing (such as A New Day and All in Motion), household goods (such as Made by Design and up&up), furniture (such as Smith & Hawken and Threshold), groceries (such as Market Pantry and Favorite Day) and even wine (such as California Roots and Casa Cantina).
Not only do they rival similar products from big-name companies, but they’re also sold for far less.
To find out which Target owned brands to try, visit here.
10. Earn free Target gift cards
One easy way to save when shopping in-store at Target? “Look for deals that come with free Target gift cards,” advises Woroch. Target frequently offers these bonuses when you make some purchases. “For example, you may have to spend a certain amount within a certain category, like get a free $10 gift card with $100 worth of baby item purchases or a free $5 gift card with $25 worth of cleaning supplies,” she explains.
“If free Target gift card deals apply to items you use on a regular basis and are nonperishable, like diapers or cleaning supplies, buy more than you need at that time to reach the spending minimum and get your free gift card,” she recommends. “You can then use it at a later time. Or break up your current shopping haul into two separate transactions and apply the free gift card to your second purchase to save instantly!”
Find the current gift card offers by checking Target’s weekly ad at Target.com or in the Target app.
11. Get special Target discounts for students, teachers and military
Target wants to help students, teachers and military families by offering exclusive money-saving offers that help you save more. For example, Target recently offered college students, teachers and school staff 20% off one qualifying store purchase to help buy back-to-school essentials. And every Veterans Day and Independence Day, Target gives military members and their family 10% off.
Those who are eligible for special Target discounts include:
- Teachers, staff and faculty employed by K-12 schools and colleges/universities in the United States, daycare center and early childhood learning center teachers, as well as home school teachers
- College students currently enrolled at a degree-granting college or university of higher education
- Military service member who served or is actively serving in the Armed Forces and one dependent or family member
To start receiving your Target discount if you’re a student, teacher or military family, log into your Target.com account, visit your Account Settings, then tap “Verify status” under Teacher Verification, Student Verification or Military Verification and follow the easy steps.
12. Apply discounts to Target Order Pickup and Drive Up purchases
Prefer to save time by placing your Target order on the Target app or at Target.com, then opting for Order Pickup (where you retrieve your items inside the store) or Drive Up (where a Target team member brings it to your car in designated parking spaces outside the store)? You can apply any eligible discount or promotion to these orders when you check out. You can also redeem Target Circle offers when placing orders using the Drive Up or Order Pickup options.
Want to know more ways you can save shopping at Target? Check out this TikTok from @lorafied below:
For more ways to save while shopping, check out our these money-saving stories:
Gabrielle Lichterman is an award-winning author and journalist who has been reporting on health, personal finance and lifestyle topics for Woman’s World since 1997. Gabrielle is best known for pioneering the worldwide “cycle-syncing” movement that began with her groundbreaking women’s health book, 28 Days: What Your Cycle Reveals About Your Moods, Health & Potential. Learn more at GabrielleLichterman.com.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.