How to Shop Target

This post originally appeared on Dec 17, 2008.

Ah, you say—you already know how to shop Target. In fact, you’ve spent so much time there that you should be eligible for some kind of lifetime achievement award. Okay, we’ll give you that—but are you shopping it in the smartest way possible? Perhaps not. And to show that Kathryn will not be sharing a classic six condo in hell with Sam Walton, here’s our tips for maximizing your Tar-jay experience:

How to Shop Target

Mobile coupons

Use Your Mobile For More Than ‘Words With Friends’. Target now offers scannable mobile coupons for guests who opt-in to the program. Sign up on a PC at, on your mobile at or text COUPONS to 827438 (TARGET). You’ll receive a text message with a link to a mobile web page with a whole bunch of deals accessible through a single bar code, to be scanned on the phone at checkout. The best part is if you end up picking up some extra stuff you weren’t planning to (like we do on EVERY SINGLE TRIP to Target) you can quickly access the page on your mobile and have coupons at your fingertips.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Know the Schedule. Target has a regular schedule for clearance and markdowns, and while it can vary from store to store, this is the general breakdown:

Monday – Electronics, Kids Clothing (and possibly Infants items) and Stationary
Tuesday – Domestics, Women’s Clothing, Pets and Market
Wednesday – Men’s Clothing, Toys, Lawn & Garden, Health and Beauty items
Thursday – House Wares, Lingerie, Sporting Goods, Shoes, Music/Movies, Books, Decor and Luggage
Friday – Auto, Cosmetics, Hardware, and Jewelry

Traditional Holiday Clearance:
50% off the day after the holiday, for three days
75% off the fourth day after the holiday, for three days
90% off the seventh day after holiday, for 1-2 days.
Arriving early on the days you know they’re marking stuff down and you’ll have access to the best deals of the week. Also, Internet wisdom notes that if the price ends in the number 4, it’s your last chance to buy before the item gets shipped out to, well, wherever Target merchandise goes to die (some of it ends up at Goodwill, just FYI).

Sponsored Content


  1. seldomyes says


    Wow…this is amazing. Won’t be shopping until after Dec. 25th (not Christian, don’t celebrate Christmas, hate the rush), but I can see this coming in handy when I do go! Thanks…love the tip about prices that end in 4’s!

  2. TexanBargainHunter says


    You are totally right about planning the purchases. 

    I love Target holiday clearance.  Wal-mart doesn’t mark-down their candy whereas Target discounts the edibles like crazy.  I like to pick up the holiday hershey kisses and use the green for St Pattie’s and the red for St. Valentine’s.

  3. Target-Addict says


    SO TRUE that all Target stores are not all created equal, and that different outposts seem to stock different things.  It’s also true that certain Targets seem to sell out more quickly on “hot” items.  For instance: the Target near my home is still well stocked with Thakoon, whereas the one near my work (in a much busier area) is almost sold out as of today.

  4. blackplaid says


    although i really like target, i avoid it at all costs.  i *never* get out for under $35.  even if i bee-line for the kitty litter, by the time i get to the check out i’ve collected more items, and—bam—$35 on nothing.

  5. Rose C. says

    Your idea about having a gift card with you for spending what you don’t really “plan for” is genius! Have a budget and have a tool to help you (especially when shopping alone!). Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *