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11 secret ways to save money at Target

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By Terence Loose/GOBankingRates

If you frequently shop at Target, you already know this retailer can help you save money on a wide range of goods. With nearly 1,800 stores across the U.S., the retail giant is regarded by many as a low-price shopping destination.

But as easy as it is to save money at Target, those with a little advanced Target I.Q. can save even more. GOBankingRates.com asked savings experts to offer money-saving tips to make your Target shopping experience better than ever.

Click through to see how you can save money the next time you shop at Target.

This article was originally published on GOBankingRates.

1. Pick your day

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Because most Targets mark down certain departments on specific days for clearance, knowing that schedule can help you find the best deals. "For instance, you'll find the best deals on clearance electronics on a Monday and sporting good clearance on Thursday," said Christy Palmer, founder of the All Things Target blog.

Here's a schedule Palmer said is good for most Targets:

  • Monday: Electronics, accessories, kids' clothing, books, baby, stationery
  • Tuesday: Domestics, women's clothing, pets, market (food items)
  • Wednesday: Men's clothing, health & beauty, diapers, lawn & garden, furniture
  • Thursday: Housewares, lingerie, shoes, toys, sporting goods, decor & luggage
  • Friday: Auto, cosmetics, hardware, jewelry

​2. Check for price adjustments

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Here's a kick-in-the-teeth sort of a moment: You finally buy that dress you've been craving only to see it go on sale the next day. Well, at Target, you can get the difference between what you paid and the new sale price refunded, said Palmer. So if an item that goes on sale within 14 days after purchase, just bring in your receipt and Target will adjust the price. Some exclusions do apply, so make sure you read Target's policy before claiming a price adjustment.

3. Check out Amazon

AFP PHOTO / LIONEL BONAVENTURE

Wait, check out Amazon to save money at Target? Yep, and other select retailers for that matter because Target has a price match guarantee.

As expected, there are some rules and restrictions. But in general, Target will match the lower price from select online or local retailers. Bring in proof of the current lower price with your original Target receipt to Target's guest service desk.

4. Check the wall-facing end caps

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End caps are the shelves at the end of the aisles, and they are often filled with choice items marked way down. Look for the ones marked "Clearance." "Most of these are the ones facing the walls, not the main walking aisles, so you may have to do some searching for them," said Palmer.

But your diligence could pay off since Palmer said these are filled with items that have been marked down from 15 percent to 70 percent off.

5. Know the clearance codes

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Clearance items are some of the best deals at Target, Palmer said, and they are marked down to certain levels in a certain order. "First, items will get marked down to 15 percent or 30 percent off, then to 50 percent off, and finally end up at 70 percent off," she said.

These items have a red "Clearance" sticker with the original price, the new price and the percentage of the markdown in the top right-hand corner without a percent symbol. "Check the number in the upper-right corner of the price tag." said Palmer. "If it says '70,' it's been marked down to 70 percent off."

6. Shop for the holidays early -- or late

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Want Halloween or Christmas decorations, Easter baskets or back-to-school items practically free? Wait a few days or a few weeks after the holiday to buy them.

Holiday items will be cut by 50 percent the day after the holiday -- 30 percent for candy. But wait a week or so, and products could go down to 70 percent off. Then, a few days later, if anything is left, they'll go to 90 percent off.

Here's a list of days and times of year that Target offers holiday sale prices, according to All Things Target:

  • Valentine's Day
  • Easter
  • Summer
  • Back to School
  • Halloween
  • Christmas

​7. Shop early in the week

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Target releases newspaper insert ads for specials on Sunday, and sales tend to run Sunday through Saturday. So, Palmer advised shopping earlier in the week for popular items to increase your chances of nabbing them on sale.

​8. Clearance items version 2.0

Target.com

Want to cash in on clearance items without dealing with the Target parking lot? Good news: Target has an online Clearance section with items in just about every department. And don't worry -- you're not going to get stuck slogging through pages of women's shoes and toddlers' toys to find a desk lamp. The site is categorized.

​9. Log on to the weekly ad

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If you're saving money by not getting a paper, you can still get in on all the discounted fun by checking the ad online at Target.com. Just look for the "Weekly Ad" tab on the site's top ribbon. It will have pages of deals from a few dollars off to 25 percent off discounts -- or more.

​10. Stack ‘em and save

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If you've done your pre-Target-run prep properly, you might have more than one coupon for a single item. No worries: Target lets you stack coupons. So don't be shy about handing the checkout person a Target coupon, a manufacturer's coupon and even a third coupon, such as Target's Cartwheel discount for the same item.

​11. Do Cartwheels

Target

No, not down the aisles; use Target's Cartwheel app. Download the app, and put the coupons you want in your list. When you visit Target, you simply present your barcode via your smartphone, and you will receive the discount.

"By using the Cartwheel app, you can save an extra 5 percent to 50 percent off," said Palmer. And if you're not sure if it's a Cartwheel-discounted item, no problem. "Just scan the UPC code of an item you want to purchase with the phone app and it will tell you if a Cartwheel offer matches up with the item," said Palmer. The really cool thing is that it can be stacked with other coupons.

Click here for even more tips on saving at Target from GOBankingRates.