7 Secret Ways to Save at Target That Only Experts Know About

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Not to brag, but when it comes to bargain shopping, we kind of know our stuff. And by “kind of,” we mean we’ve even found ways to cut down costs at the king of the “One Spot”: Target.

Yep. You read correctly. We’re letting you in on some savvy shopping secrets that will help you save — even more — every time you shop at Target.

Here’s how to get the best deals.

1. Get up to 40% Cash-back on Everything You Buy

Steve Dabenport/Getty Images

One of our favorite ways to save at Target is with Rakuten, a cash-back site that gives you 1% cash-back on everything you purchase at Target.com.

There’s no catch.

Rakuten has the hookup with just about every website you shop, which means it can give you a kickback every time you buy paper towels, dog food or anything else on Target’s website.

For Colleen Rice, signing up for Rakuten meant getting big checks. For doing nothing. Seriously. Since she started using the website, she’s received $526.44.

Rice says she uses Rakuten for things she already has to buy. She even used the money she earned to help her pay for her recent cross-country move.

Even better? If you sign up with Rakuten and get a kickback in the first 90 days, they’ll give you a free $10 bonus.

Talk about money for nothing.

2. Get Free Target Gift Cards

Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

Yep. You read that right. What better way to save at Target than with a free gift card? The folks over at Mypoints want your opinions on new products, and they’ll give you free gift cards for your time.  

You can take the surveys right on your phone, and Mypoints will pay you in the form of free Target gift cards. You’ll even earn a $5 bonus when you finish your first five surveys.

3. Turn Those Crumpled Target Receipts Into Free Gift Cards

What do you usually do with your Target receipts? You check out, they hand you a mile-long piece of paper, and you frantically stuff it to the bottom of your bag. Pretty worthless.

But a free app called Fetch Rewards will turn them into gift cards. It partners with tons of brands to give you points for every grocery receipt you share. Then you can exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Walmart, Chipotle and dozens of other retailers.  

And it’s perfect for those of us who don’t want to put a ton of work into this. All you have to do is send Fetch a photo of your receipt, and it does everything for you. No scanning barcodes or searching for offers — and you can use it with any grocery receipt, including Target.

When you download the app, use the code PENNY to automatically earn 2,000 points when you scan your first receipt — you’ll be well on your way to your first gift card.

Not so bad for a useless receipt, right?

4. Know Your Target Markdown Tags

If you do go into a physical store, you’ll need to know the secrets of the Target markdown tag. Check the upper right corner of those little red tags for the markdown percentage. The lower left corner of the tag will tell you the original price.

Also, prices ending in $0.04 usually indicate that the item has been marked down multiple times and will probably not go any lower. But, those ending in $0.06 or $0.08 have a chance at further markdowns.

5. Stop Deleting Your Emails From Target

Mother and daughter having breakfast

It turns out deleting your emails from Target could be costing you money.

Yep. Target’s policy is to give you a refund if something you buy online goes on sale after you buy it. But unless you revisit the website every day, how would you know? Who has time for that?

Good news, though. A free tool called Paribus does all the tracking for you. All you have to do is sign up with your email address and Paribus will keep track by of it all by monitoring the receipts Target sends to your email inbox. If a price drops on something you’ve bought, Paribus will get the refund for you.  

We talked to one busy mom, Aimee B., who has used Paribus to save $1,315.41 in about two years.

“It really is as simple as giving your email address,” she says. “It’s kind of a no-brainer.”

Paribus monitors more than 25 retailers, including Target, and it’s found more than $29 million in savings for customers. 

Disclosure: Paribus compensates us when you sign up using the links we provide.

6. Earn up to $20/Hour Picking up a Stranger’s Groceries on Your Next Target Run

If you’re already at Target, why not try picking up and delivering someone else’s groceries? Seriously. You can make great money doing this.

One option we like is Postmates — and it’s looking for new delivery drivers.

Holly Gaston, of San Francisco, California, has tried plenty of side gigs. With Postmates, she makes an average of $15 an hour. Plus, she says it’s been much more enjoyable than any of her previous side gigs.

And unlike other apps, you’ll take home 100% of your earnings when you make a delivery — no service fees, booking fees or transaction fees.

You can deliver through Postmates by car, bicycle or foot. Just create an account (it takes about three minutes), then you’ll receive a welcome kit in the mail within a week (a free delivery bag and a prepaid card to make your purchases). Link the card to the Postmates Fleet app, and you’re off to earning extra money.

Actual amount earned will vary, depending on a number of factors. You’ll see how much you earned after each delivery and exactly how your earnings were calculated.

7. Get Paid Just for Walking Into Target

Cropped image of a young man's legs and grocery basket
PeopleImages/Getty Images

Sometimes, to get the most out of your Target bargain-shopping trip, all you need to do is walk in the door. That’s right — no purchase necessary. 

The Shopkick app pays you in “kicks” for walking into Target and other participating stores (including Walmart, TJMaxx and more). You can redeem kicks for gift cards to a number of retailers, including Amazon, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, Sephora and Best Buy.

It pays you even more kicks for photos of your receipts that include qualifying items you purchased in store with a connected credit or debit card. You can also earn kicks for online purchases.

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