My “Saving Money on Groceries at Target” method is simple, easy to follow, and requires very little time to implement each week. I’ll walk you through how I’ve learned to take advantage of in store discounts in addition to using my Target REDcard.
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The Ultimate Couponers
I’ve seen the ultimate couponers saving tons of money on groceries each week and I often wonder how they do it. I see ladies with overfilled, organized notebooks slowly idling down each aisle at the grocery store.
Checking her stash of coupons against the items sitting on the shelves. I watch as she fills her cart with wise economic choices, and then I stand in line behind her and watch as her grocery bill dwindles down to nothing.
How does she do that? And does she really like the products she’s buying? After all, if you’re not satisfied with the quality of the product then you’re really not saving money, are you?
Traditional Coupon Cutting for Savings on Groceries
Years and years ago, I would go through the Sunday paper and clip a ton of coupons, organize them, and then head off to the grocery store, all the while thinking I was about to save a ton of money on groceries.
And it never failed. I spent extra time in the store looking for the products I had coupons for, locating the right size, and of course, purchasing the required quantity. And after checking out, the disappointment would be overwhelming when I realized I had saved a grand total of $4.50. Seriously, I don’t think I ever saved more than that on a single trip to the grocery store.
Why in the world had I wasted so much time and energy on something with such little return?
I’m nothing, if not determined, so I would repeat this cycle throughout the years, always believing that this time I would actually save a substantial amount of money…
Which never happened of course.
Modern Ways to Save Money Grocery Shopping at Target
Since I’m a frugal stay at home mom, I didn’t give up on the idea of saving money; however, I did give up on the traditional coupon clipping route. I started looking at more modern ways to save money shopping at the grocery store.
I’ve been using a Target REDcard debit card for quite a while and on average I save $15-20 each week. The Target REDcard gives you an automatic 5% off your entire purchase (some restrictions apply) without having to clip coupons or buy certain products. By far, this is the easiest way to save money at Target.
You’re probably thinking, “5% off doesn’t sound like much. Is it really worth it?”.
I’ll break it down for you so you can see the benefits of using the Target REDcard.
My Savings Using the Target REDcard:
Average Weekly Savings: $15
Average Monthly Savings: $15 x 4 = $60
Average Yearly Savings: $60 x 12 = $720
As you can see, I save around $720 each year at Target just by using my Target REDcard debit card. This debit card is just like any other debit card except it can only be used at Target. When I make a purchase with my Target debit card the money is subtracted from my checking account, and unlike credit cards, there’s no interest accruing.
Is saving $720 a year worth signing up for a Target REDcard? I would say so.
Target REDcard Debit Card vs. Target REDcard Credit Card
Target offers the Target REDcard Debit Card or the Target REDcard Credit Card and the 5% savings is applied to all purchases made at Target or online. This includes groceries, baby items, clothing, health and beauty, toys, and home decor to name a few. See below for restrictions.
Some of the Target REDcard Restrictions:
Are you ready to start saving at Target? Sign up ====>HERE!
This is just the first step in saving money at Target. Keep reading to learn how I stacked coupons at Target to save $81.03 in one trip!
My New Friend at Target
I was actually pretty happy with the amount of money I had been saving at Target by using my Target REDcard until an older gentleman working in the meat and dairy section befriended me. Each time I shopped he would stop and look in my overflowing cart and ask if I use the Target Cartwheel app.
The first few times I quickly extricated myself from the conversation and moved on, but my new friend Jeff is just as stubborn as I am apparently.
He kept after me about using the Target Cartwheel app, telling me that several of my items in the buggy had coupons on Cartwheel, and that I could save a lot of money if I used the app.
One day I finally gave in and said, “I tried the Cartwheel app when it first came out. I would save the coupons I wanted on my phone, but the app never would open when I was in the store so I couldn’t use the coupons I had saved.”
And then good ole Jeff told me the app did have a big glitch to begin with, but it had been fixed and was working just fine now…
So, in part, I agreed to give Cartwheel a try one more time just to appease Jeff, but I was also curious as to whether I could save even more money than I currently was with my REDcard.
What is the Target Cartwheel App?
The Target Cartwheel is a free app you can download on your smart phone. Once it’s installed you can scroll through hundreds of electronic coupons that can only be used at Target. Electronic coupons range from 5%-50% off and can be used in conjunction with the Target REDcard, coupons, in store promotions and deals.
In other words, if you select a Target Cartwheel coupon for 20% off of a lamp, you would also get an additional 5% off when using your Target REDcard at checkout. So by stacking the Cartwheel savings and the REDcard savings you just saved 25% on the lamp.
Download your free Target Cartwheel app====>HERE!
This is just the tip of the iceberg on saving money at Target. Keep reading to learn how I found other ways to stack savings at Target.
The Target Superstore Grocery Shopping Experiment
After talking with Jeff, I decided to do an experiment at the Target Superstore where I would focus on a scientific, thought out, and methodical approach to saving money on groceries at Target.
I set some ground rules for my experiment because I wanted to keep it as accurate as possible. After all, if I changed my Target grocery shopping habits, then how accurate would my results be?
Not very, right?
My “Saving on Groceries at Target Superstore” Ground Rules:
- No clipping manufacturer’s coupons from the Sunday paper!
- I would only use the Target REDcard, the Target Cartwheel app, and Target store coupons.
- I would shop like I normally do; buying the same types and brands of food, cleaning supplies, home goods, school supplies, etc. that I always purchase.
- If a store brand that I liked was cheaper than the name brand with a coupon, then I would purchase it. But I had to like the store brand. Have you ever bought store brand oatmeal only to open it and find a fine powder? Yeah, oatmeal brands are not negotiable in our household.
- I had to spend the least amount of time as possible when going through the Target Cartwheel app to add electronic coupons to my list. I also had to spend the least amount of time possible with the actual shopping at Target. I hate shopping, usually rush through the store, and I wanted to maintain those habits. In other words, I couldn’t spend time dawdling around looking for the best deal or trying to make a decision on which was the better item to buy. I thought this would help prove the case that even minimal effort could help save money while shopping at Target.
The Results of My “Saving on Groceries at Target” study
As time passed, I realized I was missing out on some other saving opportunities at Target and with a little bit more planning and forethought I could save even more money.
In addition to the Target REDcard, the Target Cartwheel app, and the coupons printed from the cash register, I also found out I could print off coupons from the Target website.
From the Target Home page you click on deals and then printable coupons...
I quickly go through all of the different categories of coupons to see what’s available.
Tip: If you see a coupon for something you use on a regular basis but you currently don’t need to purchase please go ahead and print that coupon to save for later. I’m going to explain more about this below.
And I check Target’s Weekly Ad for extra coupons. If you forget to do this online, you can find the weekly ad paper as you enter the store.
That seems like a lot of info to remember, right? Well, here’s a comprehensive list that makes it seem more doable:
By now you’re probably thinking that it will take forever to go through each of the steps, but I want to reassure you that even though this is a long list, it’s still a very quick process.
It takes about 5-10 minutes to scroll through the Cartwheel app offers and this can be done on your lunch break, while watching t.v., or while you sit in a waiting room.
5-10 minutes of scrolling. Boom! You’re done!
Many of the electronic coupons in the Cartwheel app are good for several weeks up to a month and they will stay saved in your barcode even after you have used it at checkout. This means that if you buy the same items each week (yogurt, creamer, milk, etc.) then you already have some coupons loaded up for the next use.
Tip: When I forget to add new electronic coupons on Cartwheel, I still have the cashier scan the barcode from the previous week and I usually still have a few items on the list. While I may not save as much money as normal, I keep in mind that every little bit of savings helps.
So now we have covered the basic savings principles for shopping at Target. Next, I will discuss a few different ways to stack your savings at Target.
Stacking Savings on Groceries at Target
Before heading off to do your grocery shopping at Target I recommend making two lists. The first list will be your actual grocery shopping list, the things you plan on buying that trip.
The second list will be things you will need to replenish soon but not necessarily today (laundry detergent, cooking oil, trash bags, toilet paper, shampoo, dog food, etc.). I like to think of this list as my Potential Savings List. First off, these are items that we constantly have to replace. Second, if it’s on sale this week and I have a coupon, then why shouldn’t I buy it today?
For example, I have a Cartwheel coupon for my favorite laundry detergent and it’s good for the next 3 weeks. I currently have enough detergent to get through at least another week.
However, when I’m at the store I see the detergent is on sale ($1.50 off). I also have a printed Target coupon that saves me $2.00 and my REDcard will save me an additional 5%. Even though I don’t need to buy it today, it would still be in my best interest to purchase it now instead of waiting until next week. Remember to stack those savings!!!
Conversely, the same is true. If Target doesn’t it have an item marked down today and I don’t need to buy it this week, then I might be better off waiting until the following week to see if Target will have it on sale. That way I can stack the sale price, the coupon, and the REDcard.
*If you do your weekly shopping at the same store you’ll notice that the same items go on sale routinely. If it’s not on sale today then wait a week or two and I bet it’ll be back on sale again.
Here’s another example of stacking savings:
Dunkin Donuts Coffee had been marked down from $7.19 to $5.99 per bag for an in store savings of $1.20 (no coupons or REDcard needed).
Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee
Regular Price $7.19
Sale Price $5.99
With Cartwheel discount $5.69
With REDcard discount $5.40
Total savings: $1.79
In Store Offers and Promotions
Target frequently has in store promotions for a variety of items. One week it might be meat and seafood while the next week it’s Pepsi products. You can’t miss these promotions. Large signs are hung throughout Target saying, “Save $5 when you Spend $20 on Meat & Seafood. Text ‘Meat’ to… to receive the coupon code”.
Sometimes Target offers a $5 gift card when you buy a certain quantity of an item. While this can’t be used on your current purchase it will be useful the next time around.
Target marks their meat down 3 days before it’s sell by date. You can often save $2-3 per pack of meat. In addition, Cartwheel frequently runs a 20% off coupon for meat. Start looking for those deals that you can combine to maximize savings each trip!
Look for clearance and deeply discounted items on the end caps of the aisles.
Get to know your cashiers. I can’t recommend this enough. There’s a couple of sweet ladies at my local Target Superstore who are super slow but they go above and beyond when it comes to helping with the Cartwheel app or locating a coupon in the Weekly Ad. Every week I hear them tell a customer that a high priced item they’re purchasing is on Cartwheel and they need to pull it up real quick to get the savings. Make friends with these people!
The easiest way to save money is with the Target REDcard. Remember online orders ship free with the REDcard. You can sign up ====>HERE!
Target Cartwheel app is free and you can download it ===>HERE!
Target coupons printed off from the register at check out plus Target printable and Weekly Ad coupons can boost savings even more.
Look for in store sale items, promotions, text codes, and $5 gift cards offers.
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