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19 Money-Saving Secrets Target Doesn’t Want You To Know

Terence Loose

If you frequently shop at Target, you already know this retailer can help you save money on anything from pillows to Pepsi. With more than 1,800 stores across the U.S., the retail giant has made its reputation as a low-price mecca.

But as easy as it is to save money at Target, those with extra Target intel can save even more. GOBankingRates asked savings experts for money-saving tips to make your Target shopping experience better than ever.

1. Pick Your Day

Because most Targets mark down certain departments on specific days for clearance, knowing the schedule can help you find the best Target deals.

“For instance, you’ll find the best deals on clearance electronics on a Monday and sporting good clearance on Thursday,” said Christy Palmer, founder of the All Things Target blog.

Here’s a schedule Palmer said is good for most Targets:

Monday: Electronics, accessories, kids’ clothing, books, baby, stationery
Tuesday: Domestic goods, women’s clothing, pets, market (food items)
Wednesday: Men’s clothing, health & beauty, diapers, lawn & garden, furniture
Thursday: Houseware, lingerie, shoes, toys, sporting goods, decor & luggage
Friday: Auto, cosmetics, hardware, jewelry

2. Check For Price Adjustments

Here’s a moment everyone has felt and no one likes: You finally buy that dress you’ve been wanting only to see it go on sale the next day. Well, at Target, you can get the difference between what you paid and the new sale price refunded, said Palmer.

So, if an item you bought goes on sale within 14 days of purchase, just bring in your receipt and Target will adjust the price for you. Some exclusions do apply, so make sure you read Target’s policy before requesting a price adjustment.

3. Shop Amazon

Wait, you can shop on Amazon to save money at Target? Correct, because Target is one of many retailers with price match guarantee.

As expected, there are some rules and restrictions. But in general, Target will match the lower price from select online or local retailers.

4. Know the Clearance Codes

Clearance items are some of the best deals at Target, Palmer said, and they are marked down to certain levels in a certain order. “First, items will get marked down to 15% or 30% off, then to 50% off and finally end up at 70% off,” she said.

If you’re on the hunt for clearance items, they should be marked down in red or yellow stickers, according to Palmer. The new price and the percentage of the markdown will be in the top right-hand corner without a percent symbol.

“Check the number in the upper-right corner of the price tag,” said Palmer. “If it says ’70,’ it’s been marked down to 70% off.”

If a price ends in $0.04, this usually indicates it’s reached its lowest markdown.

5. Shop For the Holidays Early — or Late

Want Halloween or Christmas decorations, Easter baskets or back-to-school items that are practically free? Wait a few days or a few weeks after the holiday to buy them.

Holiday items will be cut by 50% the day after the holiday — 30% for candy. But wait a week or so, and products could go down to 70% off. Then, a few days later, if anything is left, they’ll go to 90% off, which is practically free.

Here’s a list of days and times of year that Target offers holiday sale prices, according to All Things Target:

  • Valentine’s Day
  • Easter
  • Summer
  • Back-to-School
  • Halloween
  • Christmas

6. Stack ‘Em and Save

If you’ve done your pre-Target-run prep properly, you might have more than one coupon for a single item. No problem: Target lets you stack coupons.

Don’t be shy about handing the checkout person a Target coupon, a manufacturer’s coupon and even a third coupon, such as a Target Cartwheel discount for the same item.

Which Wins? Comparing Grocery Buys at Target and Walmart, Section by Section

7. Use a Cash-Back App or Website

To save even more money at Target, sign up for an Ibotta, Ebates or BeFrugal account. These online programs and smartphone apps give you money back for selected items you buy at Target or other participating stores.

Every service is slightly different, but the bottom line is you receive cash back for the items you buy.

8. Use Target’s Wedding Registry — Even If You're Not Getting Married

Even if you’re not actually getting married or having a baby, creating a wedding or baby registry is a sneaky way you can save on big-ticket items.

“What I do to save money at Target is that I create a registry for items that I need,” said Becky Beach, founder of MomBeach.com. “After the date of the registry [event, Target gives you a coupon] for 15% off [the remaining items]. That’s how I was able to get a brand new TV set cheaper after our toddler broke the one we had.”

Stack the 15% off deal with the 5% you get for shopping with a REDcard and any Cartwheel discounts, and you can save big bucks.

9. Buy Discount Gift Cards

You can shave even more off your bill by buying discount gift cards at sites like Gift Card Granny or Raise. The cards are real gift cards that you use like cash, so the bonus is that the gift card savings are in addition to any savings with coupons or sales.

10. Don’t Rely On Advertisements

Periodically, Target might have unadvertised markdowns on items. These bargains will be labeled with red and white sale signs, and the signs will have dates on the bottom telling you how long the sales are valid, Palmer said.

“Some are valid longer than a week, some sale prices will last a month or more,” she said.

11. Go Green, Get Paid

Bring in your own reusable bags, and Target will give you a 5-cent discount at checkout for each reusable. It’s not much, but it can add up — especially on those big shopping days.

12. Shop Online Instead of In-Store

“My advice to save money at Target that most people don’t know — and that Target does not talk about — is that online prices are cheaper than in the store,” said Vanessa Valiente, a San Diego-based personal shopper and creator of the fashion blog V-Style. “To get the online price in-store and save time, order the items online and then click on the ‘pick up in store’ option. If you are already in a Target store and want to get the online price, you can look up the item online and then have the cashier price match the item.”

13. Compare Prices at Multiple Store Locations

An item might be on clearance at one store and not another. To find the best price at different Targets in your area, use BrickSeek.com’s Target inventory checker, said Collin Morgan, CEO at the frugal living site Hip2Save.com.

“One of the things I love about Target is that if you wait long enough to purchase an item you love, it will eventually go on clearance,” said Morgan. “Just grab the UPC number off the tag or the DPCI number found on online listings and use BrickSeek to check current pricing. If you are lucky enough to live near multiple Target stores, you can look and see where the best price is before heading out to shop. I will say that BrickSeek is not always 100% accurate, but it’s a great resource.”

14. Use Coupons From Other Sites

Target coupons aren’t limited to those you can find on the website, app and circulars. Check sites like RetailMeNot, Groupon and DealCatcher to find more Target coupons to stack.

15. Use a Coupon Aggregator When You Shop On Target.com

Install the Honey plugin on your browser and you’ll automatically have any applicable promo codes applied to your Target.com purchase.

16. You Don't Need To Buy 2 Items To Benefit From '2-for' Pricing

Target will often label discounted items as “2 for x-dollars,” but you don’t actually need to buy two items to get the lower price, according to the Krazy Koupon Lady. These signs might entice you to buy more than you normally would, so just stick to buying one of whatever item is marked down to truly save.

17. Buy Toys in January, July and December

Target has semi-annual toy sales during January and July, and also offers big discounts on toys during the holidays, according to the Krazy Koupon Lady. Stock up on toys for birthday and holiday gifts during these periods with major markdowns.

18. Get a Rain Check on a Sold-Out Sale Item

If an item you want is out of stock, you can ask customer service to issue you a rain check that will enable you to purchase the product at its sale price for that day, according to the Krazy Koupon Lady. This rain check is good for up to 45 days. Not every Target store offers this perk — but it can’t hurt to ask.

19. Use Manufacturer's Coupons — Even If They Say They Are For Other Stores

Target accepts manufacturer’s coupons, even if they’re labeled as “redeemable at Walmart” or redeemable at another store, according to the Krazy Koupon Lady.

Click through to find out the worst things to buy at Walmart and Target.

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Taylor Bell and Gabrielle Olya contributed to the reporting for this article.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 19 Money-Saving Secrets Target Doesn’t Want You To Know