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11 Money-Saving Secrets Target Employees Won’t Tell You

You're probably losing out on deals every time you shop there.

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target clearance
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The clearance tag reveals the discount

Wondering just how much of a discount you’re really getting? No need to rely on mental math or pull out your calculator—a small number at the top right corner of the price tag reveals the percentage off. “Most of the time, items will be 30, 50, 70, which means it is 30 percent, 50 percent, 70 percent clearance,” says former Target executive team leader Lynda Peralta, founder of The Pocket Palette. “You rarely see something go on clearance for 90 percent, and that is usually candy from a holiday.” So if you run across a 70, you can be fairly confident that item is as cheap as it will be.

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Sale label sign in front of shop,Sale shopping season for discount display,Sale marketing business advertisement for clearance shop,Sale sign or label most use red color for tell customer.

Markdowns are totally predictable

If you’re on the market for a specific type of clothing, plan your day to shop when the markdowns happen. Stores stick to a regular schedule, slashing prices from certain departments on specific days, says Chris O’Neil, former guest services and planogram team leader at Target and current photographer and reviewer for moderncastle.com. For instance, O’Neil’s former Target currently follows this schedule: Monday is children’s and baby clothes; Tuesday is women’s and ready-to-wear; Wednesday is shoes, lingerie, and domestic items; Thursday is jewelry. Another Target employee shared that different locations follow their own schedules, though, so see if you can track down a price change team member who can share your store’s schedule. If they aren’t able to reveal the markdown schedule, O’Neil recommends showing up first thing in the morning and keeping an eye on where employees are adding those little red stickers. These are the 12 things you should always buy at Target.

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Mid section of female staff using credit card terminal at cash counter in supermarket

You have extra time to return Target brand items

The general return policy at Target requires you to bring items back within 90 days. If the item is from a Target brand (including Threshold, up & up, Mossimo, and more), though, you have more wiggle room: You can exchange or return up to a year after purchase. On the flip side, you only get 30 days to return electronics and entertainment items.

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Closeup of sale sign on shelf with couple in background at clothing store

Never regret missing a sale

There are few things more frustrating than buying an item, only to realize it went on sale the next week. Don’t go through the complicated process of returning the old one and buying the same version at the sale price (and praying it isn’t sold out). Bring in a coupon or show proof of the sale within two weeks of buying the item, and Target will adjust the price to match the cheaper option. “If you are shopping on Saturday night and see the last of something you want, buy it and if it goes on sale the next day, you can go in and ask for a price adjustment,” says Peralta. Keep your eye out for these must-have products coming to Target in 2019.

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Shopping coupons

Target guarantees the best price

Thrifty shoppers are constantly skimming fliers to find out what’s on sale at different stores. Instead of hitting the drugstore to stock up on cosmetics before heading to Target for cleaning products, just bring the other store’s flier to Target. “Just show them proof of a lower price within 14 days and they will match the lower price,” says Sara Skirboll, shopping and trends expert at RetailMeNot. This list will tell you which stores are considered competitors. If you’re ordering off Target.com, you can still snag that cheaper price by calling Guest Services.

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TED S. WARREN/AP/REX/Shutterstock

You can get a rain check for out-of-stock sale items

Rushed to Target stock up on shampoo while it’s on sale, only to find the shelf empty? Just ask an employee to give you a rain check. You’ll get 30 to 45 days to come back for the item, and the store will honor the sale price. Don’t miss these 10 other tricks to save even more money at Target.

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Robert F. Bukaty/AP/REX/Shutterstock

You can get REDCard benefits without the credit

An employee has probably asked if you want to open a REDCard to save 5 percent off every Target purchase. If you’ve said no because you don’t want to open a new credit card, you can still get the price-reduction benefits without waiting to be approved. “If you’re looking to avoid taking a hit on your credit, the Redcard debit card is a great option,” says O’Neil. You can pull the money (minus your savings) straight from your bank account.

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Phil Coale/AP/REX/Shutterstock

REDcard holders have longer return policies

Procrastinators, this one’s for you: REDcard members get an extra 30 days to return unwanted goods, meaning you’ll get a full four months to bring back standard items, and electronics get double their usual time limit. The only exceptions are for items with a fixed return date (such as certain holiday items), non-returnable items, and anything from Target Mobile. Here are more secret store policies that will save you money.

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Receipts With Calculator
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You don’t need a gift receipt

Feel bad asking your aunt for a gift receipt but know you’ll never use the blender she bought you? No worries—Target will still give you a gift card, even without proof of purchase. The only catch is that merchandise return cards can only be redeemed in person, not online. If you made the purchase but just can’t find the receipt, you’re even luckier. After you show ID and the card you used to pay, Target can try to track down your transaction and give you a refund.

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Man holding credit card in hand and entering security code using laptop keyboard

Never pay shipping on Target.com

Target offers free returns on online purchases, so you don’t need to worry about wasting money sending any unwanted items back. As for the delivery fee to get to your house, regular Target.com shoppers might have one more reason to sign up for a REDcard. Target cardholders get free shipping on almost any online purchase, with no minimum. Just note that you can’t use a Target debit card on the mobile online store.

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Red tote bag on blue wooden vintage background or texture
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Target will pay you to go green

For every reusable bag you use at Target, the store takes five cents off your purchase to encourage shoppers to reduce waste. “Not only are you saving some money that can really add up—but you are giving back to the environment,” says Skirboll. Next, read up on these insider secrets to help you save at all your favorite stores.

Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s Medscape.com and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.