How to Save Big at Target


If you've been following me on my Facebook page, you've heard me talking a lot about the big sales at Target lately.

I think the reason there are so many awesome deals is because of the recent Target data breach. Target lost a lot of money AND customers and I think they're working hard to get their customers back into the store.

Target has one of the best overall savings programs. One of the best ways to make more room in your budget for healthy food is to minimize the costs of the other items you need, like clothing, household items like toilet paper, laundry soap, etc.

Target's coupon policy allows you to stack a manufacturer coupon, a Target store coupon, and a Cartwheel offer for ONE item.

"Stacking" is coupon lingo for using multiple discounts on one item.

You can also get the Target debit card to save an extra 5%, although it's been my experience that by the time I'm done using my discounts, the extra 5% doesn't add up to very much additional savings. If you're making a large purchase, however, it does come in handy.

Target's coupon policy allows only four like coupons per transaction. Sometimes they won't let you use more than two Target store coupons.

Also, their policy states that you can't use a coupons on a deal with a free item, but it depends on your cashier. Your mileage may vary.

How to Find Target Coupons:

You can get Target store coupons in a couple of ways:

In store, usually in booklets or flyers, peelies, and Catalinas

Via text messages

Printable coupons from at

Target Cartwheel:

Target Cartweel is an application you can use on your smartphone or on your computer. You can download it from your phone's app store.

You earn spots on your Cartwheel for various things, like inviting friends and reaching certain savings levels. How this works exactly is is a mystery to me, however.

I have 21 spots on my Cartwheel, which makes it convenient to have many offers on there without having to remove others. I signed up for Cartwheel early on, so I'm sure that helped.

There are Cartwheel offers on a lot of items, items you are probably buying already anyway.

At first, you'll want to spend some time scrolling through them. When you're in the store, you can use the search feature to see if there's a Cartwheel offer for something you're buying and add it in the store.

You can redeem Target Cartwheel offers in two ways: on your smartphone or bring the printed page to the store with you.

If you use a smartphone, you can just show the bar code at checkout.

If you don't have a smartphone, load your offers and print out your Cartwheel list and bring it with you to the store for scanning. Your bar code never changes, so as long as you have loaded the deals, you can use an "old" barcode if you have one in your binder.

You can use each Cartwheel offer four times per transaction. Keep that in mind, because it won't take off the totals if you buy more than four items.

You can do a total of six transactions per day using a Cartwheel offer.

Important: Save yourself some hassle and remember to show your Cartwheel at checkout. The Cartwheel app is still new, so whenever I had trouble with it, Customer Service was not much help. I haven't received an adjustment when an offer did not come off my total.

Target Store Text Coupons:

Target's text coupons count as a Target store coupon and you can only use one store coupon per one item.

To start receiving Target text coupons, text OFFERS to 827438 and follow the sign up process.

You can redeem text coupons by clicking through the link to get the barcode. Show the barcode at checkout on your phone.

There is also a way to print out text coupons, but I haven't ever figured out how to do that.

Printable Target Store Coupons:

Visit and scroll through the coupons. Select and print the ones you want. Normally you are only allowed two prints per computer.

If you forget to redeem a coupon, visit Customer Service before you leave the store for an adjustment.

An Example of Stacking Discounts:

Here's an example of a deal I did last week using multiple discounts. Mossimo tank tops were on sale for $5. I bought four.

4 tank tops at $5 each = $20

I also used (2) $3/2 women's apparel items, which subtracted $6

And I used the 10% off Mossimo tank top Cartwheel offer, which took off another $2

And I used my Target debit card, which took off about .80 cents.

$20 - $6 (coupons), - $2 (Cartwheel), $.80 (Target debit card) = 11.20, or $2.80 each.

Coupon Sequence

The best way to hand the cashier your coupons is in this order:

First, hand over/show any store coupons that require a minimum purchase threshold, eg., text coupons or other store coupons, like the coupons in this week's ad. This ensures the register recognizes your balance before your coupons and discounts. For example, Target coupon that is for a $5/$25 apparel purchase. These store coupons are sometimes additional rewards for reaching a purchase threshold, which means you can sometimes use more Target coupons for some items. Read the language on the coupon to figure out the restrictions.

Next, hand over the rest of your paper coupons, and then show your text coupons.

Your Cartwheel barcode is shown last. I have heard stories about registers locking up if the Cartwheel is scanned before your coupons and other discounts.

Then, if you have gift cards (see my post on rolling rewards), use them next.

Finally, if you're paying with your Target card, that goes last. The balance comes off right before the card goes through.

How to REALLY save BIG at Target:

To save the most at Target, roll your rewards! You can save even more by breaking up your transactions into smaller amounts and using gift cards on subsequent transactions.

My goal is to minimize my out of pocket expenses. If I have the right coupons and the store has the right inventory, I will do the lower cost gift card deals in the first transaction by themselves.

Then, in a second transaction I will put my other items, also using all the applicable discounts, and also use the gift card to bring that total down.

Don't spend too much time trying to figure out how to configure your second and third transactions at Target -- you've probably squeezed out as much value as you can just from breaking up the transactions.

I wouldn't try to do too many transactions in the beginning unless you have a Cartwheel or you have more than four like coupons. In that case, keep them simple until you get the hang of it all. I've been doing some complicated transactions lately and I've gotten to my car only to realize I did not use all my discounts and had to ask for an adjustment.

Do you have questions about saving big at Target? Let me know on the CFP Facebook page!