Skip to content

30 Amazing Secrets Target Managers Don't Want You to Know

Tricks that guarantee an instant shopping-spree bullseye

With more than 1,800 stores in the United States alone, Target is easily one of the biggest and most influential businesses out there. And though the company is known for its low prices and irresistible deals, even the most seasoned and steadfast Target shopper can still learn a thing or two about how to score even more savings at their local chain.

Whether you're just discovering the wonders of Target or are already on the bullseye bandwagon, here are some Target secrets that will serve you well on your next shopping spree. And for more money-saving tricks, check out the 20 Easy Ways to Stop Wasting Money.

You can trade in gift cards.

save money on clothes

One of the many little-known perks that Target offers is their trade-in program. At certain store locations, you can trade in an unwanted gift card from places like Ann Taylor and Fandango, and in exchange the store will provide you with Target credit (though likely not for the entire amount of the original gift card).

Target-brand items have longer return periods.

inside a target store

According to Target's return policy, any item that is a Target brand (meaning Mossimo, Threshold, and the like) can be returned within one year of the purchase date if it doesn't live up to your expectations. Any other item must be returned within 90 days.

Beauty products can be returned.

woman putting on makeup in mirror

As if you needed it, here's yet another reason to love Target: According to their website, beauty products—even if they've already been opened—can be returned within 90 days of purchase, so long as you still have the receipt.

You can still get a sale discount if you bought a product at full price.

save money on clothing

Few things feel worse than buying something new, only to have it go on sale the very next week. However, this situation is never a problem at Target, seeing as the store will match the sale price so long as you bring your item in with the receipt up to 14 days after purchase. And for more genius shopping tips, don't miss the 8 Tips for Shopping a Thrift Store Like a Fashion Stylist.

The store will match a competitor's lower price.

target price scanner

Not only will Target honor its own prices, but it will also meet the prices of other businesses. According to the company's price match guarantee policy, if an item sold at Target can be found for less from an online competitor, then they will match that competitor's price.

If an item on sale is out of stock, ask for a rain check.

empty shelves in a store

If an item on sale is sold out in store, Target offers something called a rain check, which allows you to purchase the item at the sale price for up to 45 days, so long as the item is restocked within that timeframe.

The store has its own savings app.

Target Cartwheel app

Not only does Target have crazy in-store sales, but the company even has its very own savings app. Called Cartwheel, the online app is full of downloadable coupons that you can use around the store to take anywhere from 5 to 50 percent off of each item's price tag.

REDcard holders get extra time to return purchases.

Target credit card, REDcard
Image via Flickr/Mike Mozart

One of the many benefits of being an owner of a Target REDcard is that it allows you an extra 30 days to return almost any item purchased either online or in store. And for more shopping secrets, check out these 30 Genius Ways to Save Money on Clothes.

Target offers discounts just for bringing your own bag.

reusable bag with groceries

In an effort to encourage customers to go green, Target offers a discount of five cents for every reusable bag that a person brings. And if you want to increase your eco-friendly efforts, then check out the 30 Easy Ways to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly.

The company has its own forensic laboratory.

FBI agent Amazing Facts

To be fair, this doesn't help you save money, per se. But it is a fun fact! Target owns one of just 390 crime labs accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board. Evidently, the forensics facility deals with "processing, examining, and cataloguing evidence on countless cases, fingerprinting that evidence, and then handing it off to case investigators." And for more mind-boggling trivia, check out these 50 Fun Facts About the World That Will Put a Smile on Your Face.

You can use multiple coupons for one item.

woman in grocery store looking at collection of coupons

Though some companies are more stringent when it comes to coupons, Target's policy is actually rather lenient. On any one item, the business allows you to use a Target coupon, a manufacturer's coupon, and a Target Cartwheel coupon, giving you savings upon savings if you know where to look. And for more amazing discounts, check out the 20 Best Instant Online Coupons.

Returns made by mail are free of charge.

Opening a Package

Even if you're on the fence about ordering something on, there's no reason not to go for it: No matter what you're buying, the company has a flexible return policy that is completely free of charge. If the order is over $35, they'll cover shipping and handling costs, too. (Shipping and handling is entirely free for REDcard members.)

Look for deals at the end of every aisle.

30 compliments

While some stores will just scatter clearance items throughout the shelves, Target does things slightly differently. The ends of every aisle—or "end caps," as they're known—are always stocked with hidden clearance items, so don't forget to take a peek at these often-overlooked shelves.

The Target website offers printable coupons.

older woman on computer

Though Target has its own separate app for coupons, its website also has a section where you can find even more discounts and deals. Every week, you can check out the company's weekly ad to discover discounts, flash sales, and even more printable coupons. And if you love to save money, then make sure you know about these 15 Grocery Shopping Mistakes That Are Killing Your Wallet.

Outside apps can save you bucketloads.

woman on phone

Using a coupon isn't the only way to save a pretty penny at Target stores. Thanks to apps like Shopkick and Ibotta, you can make money just by shopping as you normally would and taking a picture of your receipt. And for more easy ways to make money, don't miss the 25 Work-from-Home Jobs with High Salaries.

Shipping is always free with the REDcard.

woman at computer Life Easier

No matter how many items you're looking to purchase online, shipping will always be free when you use your Target Debit Card, Target Credit Card, or Target Mastercard. The only time that this rule doesn't apply is when you use expedited shipping, or purchase an item that requires special care during shipment.

There's a markdown schedule.

holiday sales

In order to make the most of a Target run, it pays off (literally) to be aware of their markdown schedule, which, according to All Things Target, is as follows:

  • Mondays: Electronics, Accessories, Kids Clothing, Books, Baby, and Stationery
  • Tuesdays: Domestics, Women's Clothing, Pets, and Market (food items)
  • Wednesdays: Men's Clothing, Health and Beauty, Diapers, Lawn, Garden Items, and Furniture
  • Thursdays: Housewares, Lingerie, Shoes, Toys, Sporting Goods, Decor & Luggage
  • Fridays: Auto, Cosmetics, Hardware, & Jewelry

Don't buy a product immediately after it goes on sale.

couple shopping for clothes

Similar to its competitors, like Walmart, Target employs an incremental sales system, which means that buying a product right after it goes on sale is not the best move. In order to get the most bang for your buck, wait until a week has gone by to grab the item when it is further discounted, say the folks at Go Banking Rates.

Don't miss the "Dollar Spot" section.

target dollar spot
Image via Wholesome Harmonies

Most of you have likely spotted this discount area, which sits directly in front of the store entrance. If you're prone to skipping out on this "Dollar Spot" section, you should reconsider your shopping practices since you can often snag stationery items, household trinkets, and occasionally, candy, for three dollars and under.

Wait until the day after major holidays to shop seasonal clearance.

Buying presents

The day after every major holiday (Easter, Halloween, Christmas, and Valentine's Day), Target slashes its prices by up to 50 percent off—and discounts them even further by the end of that week, according to All Things Target.

There are secret color codes to the clearance items.

target sale section

If you pay close attention, you'll notice that Target has two kinds of sales: regular sales and price cuts. The regular sales last for a week and are identified by the red price tags. Then there are the price cuts, which are marked with yellow price tags and could last anywhere from two weeks to two months. In some cases, these yellow tags could indicate a permanent price cut.

Be sure to check the price tags for future discounts.

woman looking at a price tag shopping

Further, pay attention to the price of an item—if the price ends in 6 cents or 8 cents, it will be discounted again in a week.

Electronics and entertainment items must be returned within 30 days of your purchase.

tv remote television

The only exception to the 90-day return policy is any electronics or entertainment item, like cameras, speakers, and televisions, which must be returned within 30 days of your purchase. Further, mobile phones must be returned within 14 days of purchase, while Apple products (excluding mobile phones) must be returned within 15 days of purchase.

Target donates merchandise that doesn't sell to Goodwill and TJMaxx.

goodwill secondhand store

When certain items, like clothing and accessories, remain on Target's shelves for too long, they are sent to Goodwill and TJMaxx, where they are sold at even cheaper prices. So, if you're on the hunt for Target products but don't have the budget to pay the full price, head to one of these two retailers for the best sales. And before you head to Goodwill, make sure you know the 15 Things You Should Never Buy at a Second-Hand Store.

Target cashiers are trained to provide a speedy checkout.

Target Cashiers Target secrets

For those of you looking to make your shopping experience as quick and painless as possible, Target employees have you covered. In some locations, cashiers are actually timed to make sure that they maintain the most efficient checkout time possible—though, according to Business Insider, this practice has been terminated in order to build better relationships with customers.

You can get rid of unwanted gifts at Target.

Gift Cards Target secrets

That's right—long-gone are the days of hoarding unwanted gift cards in your wallet. Now, participating Target stores will allow its customers to swap out unwanted gift cards from brands like Nordstrom, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and Costco—though you want not receive back its full value. To do this exchange, just head to the store's mobile phone counter.

Take advantage of Target's semi-annual toy sales.

Mom and Daughter Buying Toys Target secrets

For the best deals on toys, head to Target during their semi-annual toy sales in January and July to take advantage of the extreme price cuts.

Shop for curated items on Instagram.

TargetStyle Instagram Target secrets
Image via Instagram

By simply searching #TargetStyle on Instagram, you can access a curated look at Target's hidden treasures, and then easily shop for the items on Target's website, according to Real Simple.

Subscribe to receive items on a self-curated rotation and save five percent each time.

Target secrets

Every time you receive your Target Subscription items in the mail, you'll receive 5 percent off every order and free shipping. Further, if you have a REDcard, you'll get an extra five percent off. This service is also great for new parents, as the Baby Subscription gives customers 10 percent off every order and free shipping.

They hand out free snacks to children in the store.

Child Shopping Target secrets

Though this can vary depending on the location, certain Target stores hand out free treats, like fruit and baked goods to children in the store. They might recognize that this a peaceful way to maintain the shopping serenity at Target.

To discover more amazing secrets about living your best life, click here to sign up for our FREE daily newsletter!