As one of the largest general merchandise retailers in the U.S., shopping at Target is considered an outing of sorts for many. The store has become so beloved over the years that it has inspired countless memes about going to Target for just one thing and leaving with a full cart.
It’s such a popular shopping destination that there is even a Monopoly game that sends players out for a Target run instead of off buying properties.
The fanfare is well deserved, as the retailer sells everything from beauty products to home decor, sporting equipment and even groceries, making it a one-stop shop for just about everybody.
If you’re not a superfan, however, you may not realize that Target’s “Expect More. Pay Less” slogan is about as accurate as it gets, as it’s pretty easy to save some serious cash at the store. From coupons to clearance items, special membership deals and more, heading out for a day at Target doesn’t have to be expensive.
Trendy products, discounted prices and a full wallet? Bullseye. Here are 10 secrets to help you save money at Target:
1. Shop the Bullseye’s Playground and Target Dollar Spot
If you’re already a Target shopper, you’ve no doubt noticed the Bullseye’s Playground and Dollar Spot section at the front of the store. The section is full of items that are typically cheaper than the rest of the store, with some products costing just $1.
The section changes often, and seasonally, meaning you can find everything from back-to-school and Halloween items in the fall and then Christmas and holiday goodies in the winter. It includes home decor items, games, organizational products and even clothing.
You cannot shop the section online, however, so you will need to head to the store to see what’s there right now.
2. Use Circle By Target
Circle is Target’s free smartphone app that offers coupons you can clip before shopping in-store or online for pretty much all categories, from home decor to groceries. You’ll also earn 1% cash back to spend at Target on a later date, and you’ll get a 5% off deal when you shop on your birthday.
To get started, just download the app to your phone, then make an account or sign in to an existing Target account.
3. Become a RedCard Member and Save 5%
If you shop at Target often, becoming a RedCard member is a very good idea.
Not only does it get you free 2-day shipping when you shop on Target.com, but you will also save 5% on all your purchases, both in-store and online. Depending on which state you live in and how much your sales tax is, 5% could cover the tax on each purchase.
You will also get 5% off at any in-store Starbucks location when you use your RedCard, plus 5% on specialty gift cards for travel, restaurants, movie tickets and more.
4. Stack Gift Cards During a Gift Card Promotion
One of my favorite tricks for saving money at Target is to use gift cards during gift card promotions, which the store does often.
For example, if you have a $10 gift card and there is a promotion for “buy three makeup products and receive a $10 card back,” then you can use your $10 gift card on the items. It will likely cover at least one of the items, meaning you only have to buy two or fewer items at full price and will still get another $10 gift card.
If you use this trick enough, you can earn multiple gift cards, then stack them to use at once. That means you will get free products and more gift cards for those purchases.
5. Always Check the Weekly Ad Before Shopping
This one might seem obvious, but it’s often easy to forget to take a peek at the weekly ad before heading out for a Target run.
Target’s ads change every Sunday and are valid through the following Saturday. You can find the week’s ad online, which is full of not only sales but also Circle deals you’ll find in the app. Looking at the ad for sales and seeing what Circle deals go with those sales helps you figure out just how much money you can save on an item.
6. Combine Your Coupons
You can also save money at Target by combining their coupon, Circle offers and manufacturer coupons.
Target’s coupon policy states that you are allowed to combine one manufacturer coupon (paper or digital), one Target coupon (paper or digital), and one Target Circle offer per item. Combining three coupons for one item can really add up, in some cases meaning you may even get the item for free — or at least at a really great price.
7. Use The Price Match Guarantee
Target has a pretty excellent price match guarantee that states they will match the price of an item sold within 14 days of purchase if the identical item is found cheaper at select online competitors, or if the identical item is found cheaper in a competitor’s local printed or digital ad.
Not all competitors are included in the guarantee, but it does include the largest retailers that sell products similar to Target, like Amazon, Kohl’s, Walmart and Bed, Bath and Beyond.
8. Get a Refund If an Item Goes on Clearance After You Bought It
Target not only offers a price match on items bought at other retailers, but if you bought an item you bought at Target is then marked down, you can get a price adjustment within 14 days. It also counts if the identical item is found cheaper on Target’s website.
This offer is typically extended during the holiday shopping season as well, usually going all the way to Dec. 24. That means if you bought an item as early as November, but it goes on sale before Christmas Eve, you may be able to get some money back.
You just need proof of purchase, like a receipt or the order history in the app.
9. Decline Bags When Picking Up a Mobile Order
Target has begun charging a bag fee for Drive Up and Order Pickup orders, adding the cost of 10 plastic bags to each order automatically, then adjusting the number of bags based on what you actually ordered.
You cannot select ‘no bags’ when ordering, but can check the cost of your bag fee by viewing your order invoice and if you’re not happy with the added costs, you can decline the bags when you pick up your order. That means your merchandise will not be in bags, but you will then be refunded the cost.
10. Shop For Target Merchandise At Goodwill
Ever wonder what happens with the Target merchandise that nobody buys after it’s already gone to clearance? The answer is that at least some of it (if not all) goes to Goodwill.
I’ve personally seen Target merchandise at my local Goodwill on several occasions, always brand-new and clearly donated directly from the retailer. So, if you saw an item on clearance that you later regretted not buying, check the Goodwill nearest to that Target location and you might find it there.
Keep in mind, however, that Goodwill has become more expensive the last few years. While it’s likely still cheaper than buying from Target, you will want to compare Goodwill’s prices with Target if an item is on sale or you can use a coupon.
11. Save Time With Drive-Up
It can be argued that time is just as valuable as money, so if you’re short on time or just wanting to use yours more wisely, you may want to consider Target’s Drive-up service.
By using the pickup service, you can place your order via the app from wherever you are, then head to the store once it’s ready. A Target employee will then bring your items to you so you can save all the time it takes to head into the store and shop.
Do you have any other money-saving secrets for shopping at Target?
This story originally appeared on Don't Waste Your Money.