12 Incredibly Common Mistakes People Make at Target

There may be extra ways to save cash at Target that you don’t know about.
Updated May 1, 2024
Fact checked
Target shopping center

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Target is a great place to go shopping for home goods, clothes, electronics, and more. But you may not be taking full advantage of the deals you can get at the retailer. 

The next time you pack up your shopping list or reusable bags, here are some mistakes to skip if you want to maximize your Target savings.

You skip the Dollar Spot

VTT Studio/Adobe sale signage in the supermarket

Target has a great section, usually near the front of the store, that’s filled with bargain deals for all types of items. 

Most of the items are around one dollar to five dollars and change on a regular basis to include new products or seasonal treats. Skipping this section could make you miss out on some one-time specials.

You don’t use a Target's credit card

MelissaMN/Adobe self-checkout station machine at a Target store

A Target credit card is a good choice if you’re trying to save extra cash when you shop at Target. 

The cards offer users 5% off Target purchases as well as free shipping on most items if you order online. You also may qualify for special deals that are only for card members.

You didn’t check the sales ads

Sundry Photography/Adobe school supply dedicated area in a Target store

Target’s sale options may vary depending on the time of year, but there is usually something that can appeal to everyone. 

Check the ad before you go to see if there are any deals you can pick up at Target that may be better than other stores you frequent. 

The ads also may help you alert you to discounted prices for things you didn’t really want to purchase unless they were on sale.

You’re not using the app

Gorodenkoff/Adobe man using smartphone while sitting on a sofa

Target’s Circle app can help you earn money that you can use on qualifying Target purchases later to help you get deeper discounts. 

You also may want to use the app to add items to your shopping list before your next Target run or check previous orders to remind yourself of which items you like to restock at home. 

Using the app also allows you to build up votes for Target’s Community Support, which lets you vote on local programs in your community that may deserve Target donations.

You didn’t price match with other stores

monticellllo/Adobe laptop computer displaying logo of Target Corporation

Target allows for price matching with other retailers in order to help you get the best deals on products. 

Check Target’s website to find out which stores the retailer will price match and have proof of the price at the competitive retailer in order to get the discounted price at Target. 

And remember that Target’s price-match program covers both in-store and online purchases.

You didn’t stick to your list

Sergii/Adobe Person shopping at the grocery shop food concept

It’s really easy to walk into Target with a set number of items you need to get and walk out with several extras. It can be hard to shop at Target if you’re trying to stick to a budget. 

Consider making a list of items you need before you go into the store, and then stick with the list to ensure your Target run doesn’t hurt your wallet.

You ignore details

Syda Productions/Adobe woman with white reusable canvas bag for food shopping

Target may have some great deals that can tempt you as you walk through the aisles, but be careful before you start tossing items into your cart. 

While Target may have good sales, it also could be confusing when you grab things just because you see a red sales card on items. 

Read the fine print before you hit the check-out line to ensure you can account for the correct discount.

You didn’t check on expiration dates

eldarnurkovic/Adobe woman shopping in the supermarket grocery store

You may want to head to Target if you’re trying to find ways to save money on groceries. But be aware that the retailer is not a dedicated grocery store, so it may not have the same selection and quality as other grocery stores. 

Check the expiration dates to make sure you’re getting fresh items and give a good look at any produce before you add it to your cart.

You skip the store brands

sheilaf2002/Adobe Good and Gather brand Quick Oats oatmeal

Target has several store brands such as Good & Gather or Market Pantry in the grocery aisles, Cat & Jack clothing for kids, or Up & Up for household products. 

These products may have the same quality as your favorite name brands but at a fraction of the cost. 

Pick the in-store brand the next time you’re trying to decide which product to buy as it could help you save money.

You didn’t check the discount racks

trongnguyen/Adobe red clearance sign for 30% off

Target has seasonal items that need to be moved out to make room for new pieces or it may have overstocked items that didn’t sell well. To get rid of older items, the stores may move things to sales racks with deep discounts. 

The racks may not have things for the latest season or you may have to sort through extra items, but you can get some good discounts on quality pieces with a little patience.

You don’t use coupons

GVictoria/Adobe clipping coupons

Cutting coupons isn’t something you should only do at your local grocery store. Target will honor coupons on different items in stock and you may be able to stack coupons depending on which types you may have.

You didn’t use a Target gift registry

NaMaKuKi/Adobe cardboard boxes with a shopping cart logo in a trolley

Target gift registries are perfect for big life events like a new baby or a wedding, but you can also create a wish list for your kid’s birthday, holidays, or items for a college dorm. 

You can even set up a wish list for a local charity to allow the community to help buy needed items. 

Target’s registries also include a coupon to help you fill any additional requests or exclusive deals for registry recipients.

Bottom line

wolterke/Adobe Target store exterior and trademark logo

Target is a good place to shop if you’re trying to save money or stick within a budget. 

Remember to check your wallet for the best rewards credit cards before you go and take a list with you if you’re worried you will pick up more than you need. 

Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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