If you've ever shopped at Target and walked away spending way more than you thought you would, you're not alone. The discount retailer is already known for its great deals, but savvy shoppers can slash their bills simply by tuning into Target's policies and schedule for marking down goods.
Christy Palmer, a Maple Valley woman and mother of five, started maximizing her Target dollars a few years ago, then launched a blog -- www.allthingstarget.com -- to help others save money.
Every week, she scours a local Target to hunt for great deals she can share with her readers. More often than not, you can find her at the Renton Target, which is near her house.
The first thing you'll notice is she walks into a Target with a stack of coupons. She finds coupons on Target's website, online, and in the Sunday newspaper.
Since Target allows you to combine a Target coupon with a manufacturer's coupon, a shopper can get even greater savings on an item. For example, Christy found a package of Star Wars action figures for $6.99. But with a $3 Target coupon and a $3 manufacturer's coupon, the final price for the item is $.99.
In another example, she found a Glade air freshener originally priced at $3.49. But with a $1 Target coupon and a $2 manufacturer's coupon, she ended up paying $.49.
Many times, Christy will get items for free because the coupons cover the entire cost of the item.
Another tip is to shop the clearance sections.
"Usually you will find a clearance end cap in almost every department," said Christy."
The clearance end caps face the walls of a Target store. There you will find items up to 70 percent off. In the food department, we found organic applesauce at 50 percent off and a jar of salsa for $.86.
Christy says don't be afraid to buy things on clearance, especially food. "It's not because it's expired. It's because maybe they have a new box or maybe they just need to clear out a certain flavor or variety or something like that."
Clearance items vary by store.
To find great deals, Christy suggests shopping on the days most Target stores mark down their departments. Generally, Target marks down items Monday through Friday. Each department is usually assigned a certain day to post markdowns.
Some stores may follow a different schedule, but this is what Christy has discovered to be the schedule at most Target stores:
- Monday: Electronics, Accessories, Kids Clothing, Books, Baby and Stationary, (Cards, Gift Wrap, etc.)
- Tuesday: Domestics, Women's Clothing, Pets and Market (food items)
- Wednesday: Men's Clothing, Health and Beauty, Lawn & Garden items
- Thursday: Housewares, Lingerie, Shoes, Toys, Sporting Goods, Decor & Luggage
- Friday: Auto, Cosmetics, Hardware, & Jewelry
She also discovered Target has a strategy to slashing prices.
"I find that the markdowns happen every two weeks, so if something is marked down 30 percent off, generally two weeks later, it'll go to 50 percent off, and two weeks after that, 70 percent off."
On Christy's blog, All Things Target, she shows her readers the best deals of the week, often including a picture of the item and links to the coupons.
"So I do all the math, and I do all the work, and if it's a printable coupon, I even include the link so all you have to do is just click on the link," said Christy. "A lot of times, most of the good deals that you find at Target aren't necessarily in the ad."
When she finds a screaming deal, she will stock up on an item or save it for a birthday party or Christmas gift. Christy said it's yet another way to save money, instead of paying full price for an item at the last minute.
"I have a box at home and if I have things I don't necessarily need now, I'll just keep them in the box and when I need them I'll pull them out," said Christy.
Target coupons: www.coupons.target.com