The Definitive Guide to Couponing at Target

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It's no coincidence that Target is the favorite retailer of so many couponers and deal seekers. The store provides a slew of ways to save money and sets up very few barriers for bargain hunters.

The hardest part about shopping at Target is learning how to utilize all the tools available for finding discounts. Dealspotr is here to help. We've outlined all of the ways you can save money when shopping at Target below.

Download the Cartwheel App on Your Smartphone

What It Is

Cartwheel is Target's mobile app that features a variety of powerful features for deal seekers. Target's early embrace of mobile technology helped Cartwheel become one of the best and most popular store apps on the market.

How It Works

There are many useful aspects to Cartwheel, but we'll start with the "Offers" tab since it's such a fantastic and easy way to save money. Once you've downloaded the app, you'll have to register for a Target account. No reason to worry, though, as it's very quick and all you need to do is enter your full name, email and password. You also have the option of signing in with Facebook or Google.

After you log in and go to the menu, click on the "Offers" tab to find hundreds of mobile coupons. They are all neatly arranged by category or you can search for them by tapping the magnifying glass on the top right. When you find an offer that you like, simply tap "add" and it will appear in the "My Cartwheel" menu. Show the "My Barcode" to the cashier and the savings will be applied. It's that easy and can even be done while you are standing in line waiting to check out.

Insider Tip

There are occasionally hidden offers that you can get for stuff at Target by going to the Cartwheel web site, instead of the app. You'll want to search through all of the offers available on the web site first and then click "add privately". Then the offer will show up in your app.

Stack Coupons to Get Items At a Huge Discount or Even Free

How Target Promo Codes and Coupons Work

Target is one of the most coupon-friendly stores in the United States. Not only does the store provide so many places where you can get coupons, they also have a very accommodating stacking policy. Target has printable web site coupons, mobile coupons and regional print coupons found in the Target circular (sales ad), in addition to its Cartwheel offers. They also accept manufacturer coupons.

The best part is that you can stack many of those Target coupons together to create scenarios where you can get massive discounts. On rare occasions, it's even possible to stack enough coupons and use them on an already-reduced sale item, so you can get it for free. Extreme Couponers are well known for compiling epic hauls of stuff at super low prices.

Unfortunately, because Target has such a great reputation among couponers, it is prone to attempted coupon fraud. This makes it all the more important to follow the rules. Target allows customers to combine one manufacturer coupon, one Target coupon and one Cartwheel offer per item for a maximum of three possible discounts per item. You cannot use more than one Target web site printable coupon, Target sales flyer coupon or Target mobile coupon on the same item. Internet manufacturer coupon printables from sites like are accepted, but Target does not permit internet coupons for free items with no purchase requirements.

Insider Tip

If you plan on stacking coupons at Target regularly, you should always keep a copy of the store's official coupon policy handy in case the cashier you get is unfamiliar with the rules. It's also smart to build a relationship with a few of the cashiers at your local Target, so they are prepared when you get to the register and know to expect a bunch of coupon combinations. Sadly it's not always possible to get the same cashiers. In that case, follow these tips from The Krazy Coupon Lady for dealing with newbie cashiers that aren't as knowledgeable about couponing.

Take Advantage of Clearance Holiday Sales

Explaining Clearance Sales

Target goes all-in for the major holidays like Christmas and Halloween. They stock up on tons of holiday-themed items and dedicate entire sections of the store just to products related to those holidays. Obviously, they wouldn't do this unless they knew they'd be able to sell most of this stuff at a premium during the holiday rush. And they do sell most of it, but they don't sell all of it. This results in a situation where they have to unload quickly whatever is left over and creates a chance to find some jaw-dropping deals.

We suggest you mark down several post-holiday trips to Target in your calendar each year. You'll want to go within a couple days after Easter, within a couple days after Halloween and especially within a couple days after Christmas. Target is known to put Christmas stuff at up to 90% off starting the day after Christmas. What makes this such a unique buying opportunity is that these sales are often for packaged foods and other items like cups and plates. It's not unusual to get a box of Oreo's or a water bottle with holiday branding for mere pennies.

While the post-holiday clearance sale usually offers the biggest savings, Target does actually mark down products on a weekly basis as well. has the general weekly schedule for which departments go on clearance on which day. Some stores might follow a slightly different schedule, however, so if you aren't sure, you can always ask the store manager.

Insider Tip

Plan your holiday shopping a year ahead of time. Aside from items that have the date printed on them, there will be almost no difference between holiday-themed items you buy on a year-to-year basis. You can save significant money by purchasing things like gift wrap, lights and decorations in the post-holiday clearance sales rather than during the typical pre-holiday frenzy.

Keep Your Eye Out for Free Gift Card With Purchase Promotions

How It Works

As an incentive for getting people to buy various products (typically stuff like diapers or cleaning supplies) and continue coming back to the store, Target will frequently offer a $5 or sometimes even $10 gift card with purchase promotion. The gift card can't be redeemed until the subsequent trip to the store, but unlike a coupon, it has no restrictions and can be used on any item in the store.

This leads to a phenomenon known as the MM. It's a commonly used abbreviation among couponers and refers to the term "Moneymaker". Basically, if you are able to effectively shop by stacking coupons and sticking to sale items, you can end up paying less than the amount you got back in gift cards.

Here's an example: You buy $30 worth of toothpaste, paper towels, dish soap and dog treats that is discounted to $22 because it's all on sale. You are able to strategically stack $18 worth of coupons, bringing the total down to $4. The dish soap came with a $5 Target gift card. In the end, you effectively made $1 on $30 worth of merchandise. This is not simple to pull off and isn't always possible, but the more skilled a Target shopper you become, the easier it gets.

  • NOTE: Target does not pay overage.
Insider Tip

You should be very selective and strategic with how you redeem your gift cards. Since they are applicable to any item in the store, your best bet is to use them towards items that rarely go on sale or offer coupons. That way you can get a price break on products that otherwise would almost always be full price.

Open a Target Red Card Account

Why It's Worth It

Committing to a store credit card (or debit card) is a step some shoppers might not be willing to take, but for those that are, the Target Red Card provides some profound benefits. The most obvious perk is that you'll get 5% off every Target purchase you make. This is on top of any sales, coupon or gift card savings you get. Think about it this way: If you buy $1,000 worth of Target products a year, that's a savings of $50 a year. There is also no annual fee cutting into those savings.

Other benefits include free shipping from and an extra 30 days for returns. As an added bonus, Target will donate 1% of your Red Card purchases to your local school. For those with the debit card, you also have the option to get cash withdrawals of up to $40 at in-store checkout.

Insider Tip

Sign up for Pharmacy Rewards and combine that with your Red Card. That way you'll get 5% off once you fill your first eligible prescription and you'll get an additional 5% off with your Red Card savings, which comes out to 10%.

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This guide was published on April 14, 2015, and last modified on April 14, 2015.
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