If you're often hypnotized by a red bulls-eye as you drive down the highway, we get you — you're just one of the many people who find themselves at Target more often then they'd like to admit. But before the next time you find yourself with a full basket of items (why does that always happen?), arm yourself with these insider tips:
1. The day of the week might reveal what discounts you could score.
have made it their mission to sniff-out Target's markdown schedule. And though a spokesperson for Target told us that stores don't have a weekly discount strategy, extra-savvy shoppers think they've figured out a generally accepted rubric.
Heather Wheeler and Joanie Demer, the bloggers behind say this is the : On Mondays, Girls, boys, infants, and electronics get price cuts; Tuesdays, it's women's and junior's clothing; on Wednesdays, it's men's, food, stationery, health items, and laundry; Thursdays feature cuts on sleepwear, athletic wear, pet items, shoes, housewares and toys; and Fridays are for auto, jewelry, and beauty.
Of course, every store is different, and yours might have different rules or goals that dictate what they discount. But if you keep a watchful eye on when sales appear, you might be able to sleuth out a strategy — and save some dough next time you need new shoes.
2. The clearance tags say more than just the price.
You know the red clearance tags on sale items? (Of course you do — you love it when you spot one!) Pay attention to the upper right-hand corner: There's always a little number, which tells you the percentage of the markdown. It's usually 30, 50 or 70% off — and you won't have to do the math to know how excited to get when you score a deal.
3. And clearance price itself might offer hidden clues.
Target is tight-lipped about its markdown policies, and wouldn't confirm their clearance pricing strategy — but money-minded shoppers think they've figured it out. The bloggers at have noted that clearance items with prices ending in $0.06 or $0.08 could possibly get marked down again during the next cycle, as long as there is inventory. If the price ends in $0.04, it could mean that it's the last time an item will be discounted.
You might also look to that little percentage number, too, to decide if you should pounce. A 70% discount .
4. If you skip the Cartwheel app, you're missing out on offers.
We know. Another app? But don't you love the ones that save you money? Download to quickly see what discounts are on offer — they typically range from 5 to 50% off. Once you're in the store, you can also scan the items in your cart (things you were going to buy anyway) to see if there are any Cartwheel offers that match.
"I've used the app to get 50% off my son's Halloween costume, 50% off women's skirts, 25% off clearance shoes and more," says Christy Palmer, the blogger behind .
5. Getting the REDcard might not be a bad idea if you shop at Target a lot.
You might rue yet another credit card offer, but it might be worth signing up for the if you're a frequent Target shopper. You can choose between a debit or a credit card, and any time you use it, you automatically get 5% off. Plus, the card also gets you free online shipping, and an extra 30 days for returns on most items.
6. Texting can save you money, too.
to get mobile coupons texted to you. They're generally delivered every other week and arrive on Thursdays. "I like these texts because there is just one bar code that you need to scan for all of the available Target mobile coupons," says Palmer. "Plus, the mobile coupons can be combined with manufacturer coupons for even greater savings."
7. Yep, after you've racked up all of these coupons – you can stack them!
Target lets you stack coupons. That means you can typically use one Target coupon, a manufacturer's coupon and a Cartwheel coupon on a single item. Or basically, all the coupons! Restrictions might apply, and Target reserves the right place limits on quantity, but this deal is a coupon-lover's dream.
8. You can use Instagram to pre-shop (and style!) Target finds.
Target, of course, has its own Instagram account — and they love using it to get excited about new seasonal products (seriously, check out their .) But we also like to get ideas from everyday 'grammers who love Target.
For instance, follow the hashtag to see how people are wearing or decorating with their favorite Target finds. And some super-fans, like the venerable duo behind , now even partner with Target to clue followers into special deals and new finds
9. Target price matches.
If you find the same item for less on, say, or , Target will match it. And you can still use additional coupons on top of that new, discounted price. (Yay, more coupons!) They don't match prices for every store or website, but is still fairly inclusive.
10. They offer rain checks.
Everyone loves a good Target sale, so it's possible that an item could be sold out before you get to take advantage. Luckily, Target does offer rain checks — and they're . You don't even have to go to Guest Services to get one — simply snap a picture of the shelf tag and ask for a rain check at the register. If you don't want to have to go back to the store to use the rain check later, ask if that item is eligible for a substitution.
11. Sometimes Target gives you gift cards, too.
Check out the promotional items each week: You can often earn gift cards just for buying something you were going to buy anyway. And if restrictions don't apply, you can often participate in the promotion more than once to earn multiple gift cards.
12. You can trade in your old gadgets.
Got a drawer full of old phones and iPods? You can bring them to Target or go online for a quote. You'll find out how much your gadgets are worth and, if you accept the offer, get a gift card for the amount. The stores (even phones with !), so you're bound to have something worth trading in.
13. Bringing your own bags can save you even more.
Nope, we're not done yet! For every reusable bag you use during your checkout, Target will give you a – which can really add up over time, if you shop there often. Plus, it's something you can feel super good about: So far, Target shoppers have opted for more than 190 million reusable bags instead of paper or plastic.