August 9, 2013

How To Save Big at Target... Lizzie's Insider Secrets

Lizzie here.

When brainstorming new ideas for blog posts, I usually try to make sure my ideas are either entertaining or useful. Or both. And of course it has to be something I actually know about. And while I love to be a know-it-all, I'm really not. (You hear that, Diana?) Sometimes I feel pretty lost when it comes to choosing post topics.

But one thing I really know a lot about is being thrifty.

Today, I somehow fell into conversation with a fellow shopper at Target while we browsed through the cardigans...

I asked, "Are you using the Cartwheel coupon for these sweaters this week, too?"

She looked at me like I was crazy. "What's Cartwheel?"

I then explained how I saved myself $70 on a recent Target purchase by using a combination of coupons, phone apps, and employee knowledge.

(Yeah, by the way, I work at Target. I don't think I've ever mentioned that, actually, haha.)

Needless to say, I spent fifteen minutes showing this woman how to download all the apps and where to find all the coupons her bargain-hunting heart could desire.

And that's what I want to share with you all today... How to save some serious money at Target.

1. Get the Target Debit card. And no, I did not say CREDIT CARD. It is truly a debit card. Honestly, truly, cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die a debit card. It will take 5% of your total purchase off the amount you have to pay. BAM. Instant savings.

And for those of you who don't know the difference between credit and debit, please read up here. As a cashier whose job it is to ask customers if they want a Target Debit card, I've heard every excuse in the book. And I just don't get it. A debit (or checking) card is essentially paying with cash. It comes straight out of your bank account and has no fees or bills. AND IT SAVES YOU 5% EVERY TIME YOU SHOP!!! It doesn't get any easier than that.

So the next time you're checking out, ask the cashier to sign you up! Nothing like saving some free money with no work.

2. Use the Target app. The Target app is pretty useless in and of itself, EXCEPT for the Deals & Coupons section. Every week, there will be a ten or so new coupons. They may be useful, they may not. It's pretty hit and miss. But they are pretty good coupons, usually worth at least $3. When checking out, just open the Deals & Coupons section, tap Mobile Coupons, and let the cashier scan the barcode.

3. Use manufacturer coupons. Coupon clipping is annoying, yes. But I've had people come through my line and get stuff for practically nothing with those annoying little scraps of paper. Hey, whatever works. If you don't get the weekly paper, you can go to sites like this one to print them yourself.

4. Use Target coupons. Target always has some on their website you can print out. They change every week, so check frequently.

Target also sends out coupons in the mail to Target Debit card holders. And to everyone (card holder or not), they send out seasonal coupons.

BONUS:  You can combine Target coupons with manufacturer coupons.

5. Use Target's app called Cartwheel. Cartwheel is a relatively new app soley for couponing. When you sign up, it links directly to your Facebook account. (Don't worry... You can choose the option for it to not post to your Facebook timeline. The only reason it links to your Facebook is because it needs to know if you have friends who use Cartwheel, too) (Which, by the way, is a huge plus. The more Facebook friends you have who use Cartwheel, the more "spots" you have in your "cart" for coupons).

You start out with ten "spots" in your "cart" to save coupons and special deals. You can browse weekly deals by topic (women's, baby, grocery, home, etc.) and add ones you think you will use to your "cart" by tapping "Add". (Below "Add" is "Details". This can be useful because it tells you when clearance is included in the deal and when it is not).

When you check out, simply open Cartwheel, select "My Cartwheel" from the side menu, and let the cashier scan the barcode. All your deals will be combined into one barcode, so it's fast and easy to use.

You can use each deal as many times as you want until it expires, but only four items per deal per purchase. So, for example, if you had a deal for 5% off milk and wanted to buy six gallons, you could do two transactions in order to use the deal for each gallon of milk. It's very handy when it comes to groceries.

And finally, each deal can be combined with both a Target coupon AND a manufacturer coupon. AND your Target Debit card 5% off. (And in my case, my 10% employee discount.)

6. Use the Shopkicks app. To be perfectly honest, this one is kind of unknown to me. Basically what you do is check in every time you walk into one of the participating stores (one of which is Target) and get "kicks", or points. 500 kicks will get you a Target gift card. Sounds easy enough. I am yet to find out if it's worth the space it takes up on my phone. We shall see.

UPDATE: I have been messing around on Shopkick and have decided it is indeed worth the space it's taking up on my phone. Shopkick, at least for Target, offers decent coupon books in the app that you simply tap to use. Plus, every time I go to Target, I can "check in" and get kicks. I'm close to getting a giftcard now so we'll see how that works out soon.

7. Know how clearance works. Every day a certain type of items get marked down. It is, however, different for every store. So get to know your Target to get the best deals. Clearance will only go down to 70% (except seasonal. It will go down to 90%), so all that nonsense you may have heard about "items whose prices ending in four will not be marked down again blah blah blah" is not true. Clearance stickers will say in the top right corner what percent off it is, so use that as reference as to if an item will be marked down again.

Clothing clearance is easy to find, but other items like groceries and home items are a little trickier. Look for clearance endcaps in every section, but also look for sections of clearance throughout the aisles. It's a hunt, but sometimes it can really pay off.

8. Shop at Goodwill. Bet you didn't see THAT coming! How does shopping at Goodwill save you money at Target?

Well, after clearance goes to 70% off and doesn't sell, Target donates those items to Goodwill. So, with a bit of looking, you can get brand new Target items for a fraction of even the clearance price. I've bought clothing items that still had the Target tags on them. Other brand new finds include a beautiful quilt with the tags still on (I hope to share pictures of it soon!), blue sandals with no wear on the bottom, and a throw pillow that matches my apartment bedding.

Target brands to look for include Xhilaration, Mossimo, Merona, Circo, Room Essentials, and Threshold.

9. Actually use this information. I know being lazy is human nature. But is it really worth the money you're wasting? Big savings can and do happen. You just have to shop with a brain and a good sense of timing.

I will give you an example to hopefully give you incentive.

Today I went into Target with the intent to buy myself a new boyfriend cardigan. I had a Target coupon and a Cartwheel coupon, plus my 10% employee discount and my 5% Target Debit card discount.

Okay. Down to the math.

$19.99 - $3.00 = $16.99
$16.99 - 15% off = $14.44
$14.44 - 10% employee discount = $13.00
$13.00 - 5% = $12.38 
Total savings: $7.61

Not bad, eh? And with practice, you'll fall into the habit of buying things you need when you have coupons. Soon you, too, could be a money saving goddess like me. I believe in you!

Well, that's all to share for now. This post is long enough as is! I hope this information has been useful and that you can use it to start saving your cash for other things, like stickers, glitter, and cookies.


Do you love to shop at Target? Have any more good tips on saving money? Do you save your cash for stickers, glitter, and cookies too? Leave us a comment!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the post. Coupons as rewards are nowadays so much popular idea.
    All over the world people are always demanding more saving on their monthly budgets.
    So they are highly influenced to collect coupon. Take a look at couponsponge


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