By Terence Loose, Contributor
If Target is on your list of stores to hit for your holiday shopping, it’s easy to see why. After all, it’s built its reputation on great deals. However, there are ways to make great deals even better at Target. Click through to find 19 ways you can maximize yourTarget deals this holiday season.
1. Plan Your Shopping Now
Target posts its weekly ad for sales to help you strategize your shopping trip. It’s a great way to shop for deals ahead of time. Just visit Target.com, the link is on the home page.
2. Shop Online
In addition to saving gas, you can save $5 by shopping online, said Coupon Sherpasavings expert Kendal Perez. “Target typically runs an offer for $5 off your online order of $50 or more,” she said. “So if your total typically reaches or exceeds $50, make sure you always apply this coupon code for some savings.”
3. Free Shipping
Target is offering free shipping right through Dec. 25, so you can shop online without having to pay for shipping costs. Furthermore, Target offers free return shipping, “so if something doesn’t work out, you can return it and dodge delivery fees again,” said Perez.
4. Try a Cartwheel
This refers to Target’s Cartwheel app, not the gymnastic move. You create an account at cartwheel.target.com, and put the coupons you want on your list. When you visit Target, you simply present your barcode, via your smartphone or printed page, and you receive the discount.
“Throughout the holidays, Cartwheel will have more than 1,000 deals, with more than 350 deals at 25 percent off, or more,” said Regina Conway, consumer expert forSlickdeals.net. “Cartwheel will also offer 50 percent off a different toy every day… through Dec. 24,” she added.
5. Get the REDcard Discount
Target’s REDcard is the store’s debit or credit card. With it, you’ll receive 5 percent off every purchase, and an extra 30 days to make returns. There are no annual fees for either card. However, you might want to opt for the debit version, which is linked to your checking account, rather than the credit card version, which currently carries a 22.9% APR. Unless you pay the balance in full, any finance charges you rack up could kill the holiday cheer you get from the 5 percent savings.
6. Get a Price Match
‘Tis the season to take advantage of Target’s expanded price match policy. “Target’s price match policy will be extended for the holiday season, beyond its standard 14-day window,” said Conway. “If a qualifying purchase is made at Target from now until Dec. 24, and the consumer finds it for less at Target, Target.com, a local competitor’s printed ad or at select online retailers, Target will match that price.”
Bring proof of the lower price with you to the register when you check out. Also, price matches do not apply to prices between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, said Perez.
7. Get a Price Adjustment
It’s no fun to visit Target a week after you bought a new set of pans, only to see them on sale. However, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the sale price.
“Target offers price adjustments on products that go on sale within two weeks of purchase,” said Perez. “Bring your receipt within the time period to receive a refund.” Like with the price match policy, you can’t qualify for a price adjustment on prices from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday.
8. Stack ‘Em Up
Pro-couponers know that stacking coupons — using more than one coupon for the same item — is the way to save big. Target allows this, so go ahead and use a manufacturer coupon with a Target coupon, then throw down your REDcard or Cartwheel discount for ultimate holiday buys.
Also, you don’t have to settle for just a price match, you can also throw in a manufacturer’s coupon. “You can use manufacturer coupons on top of price-matched items,” said Perez. That could help make the holidays very merry, indeed.
9. Don’t Overspend
It’s easy to assume that Black Friday is the best deal day for anything that flashes or beeps. However, that’s not always the case. Fortunately, there are many apps and websites out there that can help you track and compare the best deals throughout the holidays. Do your research before you head out the door, or before you fill your online cart.
10. Clear It Out
Clearance items are some of the best deals at Target, according to Christy Palmer, founder of the All Things Target website, which is not affiliated with the retailer. “Target marks down their clearance items to certain levels. First, items will get marked down to 15 percent or 30 percent off, then to 50 percent off and finally end up at 70 percent off,” said Palmer. Look for red “clearance” tags with a number in the right-hand corner.
11. Dollar Stocking Stuffers
Stuffing stockings can add up, so to avoid spending a fortune on the little stuff, hit Target’s Dollar Spot, the section for heavily discounted items. Items are $3 or less, but even these items get marked down, said Palmer. She said you could score anywhere from 30 to 70 percent off on small toys, coloring books and holiday items. That could make for some full stockings.
12. Follow @Target
Yep, Target tweets. Follow Target, and you’ll get the latest scoop on any special holiday sale items or sale days. Just don’t expect Target to follow you back.
13. Unadvertised Deals
Target routinely has unadvertised markdowns on items, marked with red-and-white sale signs, said Palmer. There are dates on the bottom telling you how long the sales are valid, so check them closely. Some items will be on sale for less than a week, some for more than a few weeks.
14. Use Your Thumbs
If you’re like many people, your smartphone is now fused to you, so why not let it alert you when Target has a holiday deal via text. To sign up, text COUPONS to 827438. You’ll then receive ongoing coupons every couple of weeks. At the register, the cashier will scan your coupon right from your phone. Of course, Target coupons can also be found on sites like PromoCodeWatch and RetailMeNot.com as well.
15. That Coupon App
If you prefer apps, and have an iPhone, Android smartphone or a tablet, download the Target App, which also offers ongoing coupons. The app is available on Apple’s App Store or Google Play. Once the coupons start flowing, you can merely present your smartphone to the cashier for scanning.
16. Virtual Clearance Items
If you’re more of a couch shopper, you can still get in on clearance savings through Target’s online clearance section. With deals up to 60 percent off, it’s neatly categorized, and searchable by price or department.
17. Don’t Wait Till Friday
Target’s big newspaper insert ad, with weekly deals, runs Sunday, so it’s best to get to the store early in the week. The sales run Sunday through Saturday, but popular items with great discounts don’t last long, said Palmer.
If you’re like a lot of people, you’ve cancelled your newspaper subscription. Hence, you won’t be getting Target’s Sunday ad insert with rockin’ deals. No worries. It’s online at Target.com, as well; just click the “Weekly Ad” icon in the top ribbon.
18. The End Is Your Friend
The shelves at the end of the aisles are known as “end caps,” and often have the best deals, including clearance items, said Palmer. On these shelves, you can often score great holiday presents for anywhere from 15 to 70 percent off, she said.
19. Shop After the Holidays
Everyone knows holiday items will go on sale the day after you need them. But at Target, the discounts can be up to 90 percent, said Perez. The day after Christmas, holiday items will be slashed up to 50 percent. Within a few weeks, whatever’s left goes to 70 percent and finally 90 percent off, she said. That’s too good to pass up, “so keep your eyes peeled for these savings and stock up for next year’s event,” said Perez.